14 October 2014

Educating a Medical Bridge

Recently all of Mercy Air's aircraft were in Mozambique at the same time. The heli was in the south of the country whilst the two fixed wing aircraft went to central Mozambique.

The fixed wings took a variety of people in a variety of planes to do a variety of jobs but at least all the people, planes and jobs were at the same location at ASAM just north of Chimoio.

The 310 went up a couple of days earlier with a bridge building team - more of that later.
The Kodiak took a total of eight people, an education team of two and a doctor/nurse team of five and one pilot of course.
Paul and Dr. Roger Pacholka
It was 38 deg when we landed in Mozambique.
The airstrip and hangar at ASAM that Mercy Air helped build and perhaps showing some of the remoteness.
Squeezing all three planes in the hangar was a mission in itself.
The medical team were there to run a number of clinics as well as give seminars on various subjects.

Say Ahhh!

One of the patients seemed to have been expecting us.
One of the mornings we were walking out of a house when we almost stepped on a Mozambican Spitting Cobra which then slithered for cover under a gas bottle. We're not usually the violent sort and just aim to relocate the offending creature, but this was a bit too close to the house so... the hunt began.
All are not huntsmen who blow the huntsman's horn, but a while later with the aid of a large stick and the gas bottle itself... Result: People 1 Snake 0. We're sure there will be a rematch soon though.
Probably a good job then that one of the doctors did a talk on snakes and snake bites.
Followed by a practical session on resuscitation and intubation

This was requested as a result of a girl who lost a leg after being bitten on the ankle by a Puff Adder a while back. We met her on the way back from one of the clinics.
Some of the medical visits required a lengthy walk through the bush...
..crossing crocodile infested waterways...
..to bring help to people in their villages...
..and huts.
Planning and fundraising for the bridge had taken many months but the team worked really hard over a few days in often less than ideal weather to make the dream a reality.

John welding.

Finishing touches.
The team with the 'almost' completed product. Just a bit of concrete work at each end to finish it off.

These kids walked back and forth across the bridge many times just for the novelty of it.
Dwight and Lynne Lagore with a few of the kids who will benefit greatly from this endevour.
No less valuable was the many days Anne and Santi spent doing evaluations and teaching the mission staff.

As the bridge was finished the team left a couple of days early - after a slight delay in departure whilst some African Killer Goats were chased from the airstrip.
The medical sorts did some more clinics...

..and visited the ASAM school to do a talk and give out some caps.
It was children from this school that the bridge had primarily been built to help, as two of them had lost their lives to crocodiles earlier in the year. We heard that even two weeks before we arrived a cow had been taken by a crocodile.

This school is also the location of a partly built library that can now be finished thanks to a kind donation from a church in the UK. We will likely get more involved with this in the coming months.
On the last evening we clambered up a rocky outcrop to enjoy the last few rays of the day.
Then it was the turn of the Kodiak to depart after packing the aircraft in the relative cool of the hangar...
..posing for a photo...
..and pulling it out.
Hard work!
After takeoff we flew over the bridge on our way out...

Thank you.

Mercy Air team

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