02 May 2014

Bridging the Gap

Recently Mercy Air's collaboration with ASAM in Mozambique continued as plans were drawn up to construct a much needed bridge.
"Crocodile Dundee" or other wise known as Rick Neufeld with the community team and a 2 meter crocodile.
'Crocodile Dundee' aka Rick Neufeld with the community team and a 2 metre crocodile.
Over the past few weeks amazing developments have taken place. Besides our own 'Crocodile Dundee' (aka Rick Neufeld) killing one crocodile with support from the local community, significant progress has been made to make this 57 metre suspension bridge a reality. Besides providing a safe way to cross the crocodile-infested river (and there are many of them), this bridge will ensure that 3 communities have access to school all year round, even when the river is flooded and impossible to cross. It will also provide safe all-year round access to the health clinic, the grinding mill and the new library being built at our local school.

To date, even without knowing the cost of this project, 11 individuals, 3 churches and 1 business have generously donated over $27,000.00! We roughly estimated around $30,000 for the project but due to inflation since the company who gave us the quote built the last bridge, as well as due to import duties of the materials into Mozambique, a fairly realistic costing is now $46,000.00. We do have a few additional pledges already from people who want to be a part of making this happen, and we are confident this project is both vitally important and achievable, so we are going ahead!
Allan,
From right to left: Tony, Allan, Sjaak, and Dwight.
This week Allan Luus who is an engineer and CEO of Mercy Air, flew up to the mission in central Mozambique to bring plans and do a site visit to further assess the realities we are facing to get this done. Sjaak Walhout, a Dutch pilot missionary who owns his own RV experimental aircraft (otherwise known as a pocket rocket… for its over 160 Kt airspeed on 29 liters an hour!), volunteered to fly Allan up. After clearing into the country, they flew into the mission airstrip.

After a much needed quick lunch, they headed straight to the bridge site.
The engineer sweating it out on site! Thanks Allan.
The engineer sweating it out on site! Thanks Allan.
School children and a community member helping to clear the site for the planting of markers.
School children and community members helping to clear the site for the planting of markers.
By the time they assessed the first location and then crossed the river to the far side location, they were sweating! A white engineer with his shirt off got a few comments from the local school boys, but very soon they settled down to helping with some of the clearing. Markers were installed, measurements were taken and any local conditions related to the design were jotted down. By night-fall they were back at the mission to enjoy a meal together and a quick review of the days’ work.
Going over the plan and costing
Going over the plan and costing.
Early the next morning while Sjaak and Andy fueled the little RV, Allan and Dwight reviewed plans and likely costing as well as any items needed to each follow-up on until the next site visit. Then the little RV fired up and blasted off into the deep blue sky! They were reminded again of how every step in progress at the mission opens doors for other significant progress and new chances to demonstrate God’s never failing love for the people He cares so deeply for!
Children crossing the river with other smaller children on their backs.
Children crossing the river with other smaller children on their backs.
A team is now clearing the foundation locations and concrete, stone and sand will be transported to the site and somehow hauled to the other side of the river as well. In the meantime the plan will be tweaked and the final materials order made up for preparation and shipping.
Anxious community members already have the area cleared!
Anxious community members already have the area cleared!
Thank you for your interest, generosity and prayer to make this amazing project a reality.

ASAM and Mercy Air team

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