22 November 2013

First Missions Trip in the Kodiak - Nacala

John and Paul flew the first mission flight in the Kodiak to Nacala in the north of Mozambique.

Perhaps two maps here might give a better idea of where it was.
After the 8-10 hr legs of the ferry flight, 6 hours to get to Nacala didn't seem too bad.
One of the real advantages of the Kodiak is how easy it is to operate in terms of ease of loading and load carrying capability. We took five people, 700 Kg of cargo and enough fuel to fly further than the length of the UK. Still took a while to cram it all in though.
Mozambique's opposition party has recently announced it was abandoning the 1992 peace accord with the ruling party that ended the country's 30 year civil war in which over a million people died. There had been a number of attacks of military and civilian targets and traffic on the main north-south road was having to travel in military guarded convoys. We had also heard that some charter flights had been prevented from continuing past the initial airport of entry and so we decided to fly in 'civies'.
Almost ready to go.
Crossing the Rio Save (pronounced Sarvey).
We landed at an old military airport in Nacala, a now booming coastal town, that was still home to a squadron of Mig 25's which you can just glimpse as you taxi in.
Unloading was somewhat easier with many hands on deck to help
To get from Nacala to the village of Memba where Martin and Simone Schumann live there was still a two hour drive on a dodgy dirt road that had even claimed a grader.
This was our fifth time we had flown in support of World Outreach International, the mission that Martin and Simone Schumann as well as Myriam Wahr work with. The bulk of the cargo we'd flown up consisted of 130Kg of anti-malarial medicine (enough to treat over 2300 people and well worth the effort of raising the money to cover the cost of flying it there) and 2400 audio Bibles - collectively worth over $80000.

Getting it from the donors near Durban wasn't too hard - it just arrived on a truck. Getting it to Nacala, on the other hand, was a different story - in the past. Nacala is half way back to the equator from where we are and 200 km further east than Moscow. However, with the load swallowing capabilities of the Kodiak, this years flight was much easier.

The next day Myriam came to collect the medicine. Martin and Simone along with Myriam Wahr, have set up many rural clinics and use natural medicines, many of which they grow themselves

On a previous visits we had helped build the Schumann's first house.
The first house and ample porch under which we slept.
On the last visit we installed the wiring for their new house which was now mostly complete, but with the rainy season just round the corner the bolts that held the roof on still needed some attention. Martin did count the bolts and came up with a figure of about 2500. So, Paul's job over the next three days was to seal the holes on their roof and the roof of another mission family that were also building a house.
Talk about a cat on a hot tin roof or should it be, 'mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun'.
It was silly hot and soon became apparent that to accomplish anything worthwhile they would have to get up at 04:30 before sunrise and work as long as they could and then return at about 15:00 and work until they couldn't see what they were doing. Turns out that just before dawn there was quite a bit of dew which made the roof something of an ice rink for the first hour.
But, with a little perseverance and many swigs of water we managed to get a shed load of these...
 ...to look more like this...
John was also kept busy with a number of mechanical tasks including fixing the generator for the new mission family who will use it to power their mobile dental unit.
 As well as maintaining the Schumann's vehicle which takes a pounding on the bad roads.
The other major occupier of weight allowance and cargo space on the flight up was 2400 audio Bibles donated by Mega Voice in Pretoria (http://megavoice.com/envoy.html).
As well as little heard Mozambican languages these little audio players contain the complete Bible in a number of languages including Mandarin and Gujarati to cater for Chinese and Indian immigrants and Martin uses them extensively in his work with the local communities.

Martin and Simone live 50 metres from the beach and we suppose it stands to reason that their eldest daughter is just going to have the best shell collection ever.
Martin had a fairly extensive list of jobs he wanted us to help him with and despite the humidity and temperatures that dipped to a night time low of only 27 deg, which basically meant we spent five days leaking perspiration, we actually managed to tick everything off.

The day before we left we met a guy on the beech who sold us a fish. Good job the Kodiak had a large external cargo compartment!
The Kodiak was impressive on the flight back too. The absence of cargo meant we could fill the fuel tanks to the brim and this allowed us to fly from Nampula to Nelspruit direct in 5 hours and still land with 2 hours fuel in the tanks.
The Zambezi River
And how it looks according to the Garmin 1000 avionics suite.
We were welcomed back by the Mercy Air staff who were eager to find out how our first trip in the Kodiak had gone.
Thank you.
Mercy Air team

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