24 November 2014

ASAM school bridge dedication

Recently Mercy Air completed another flight to ASAM in Mozambique. Again this was a multi purpose trip as we also took John and Helen, visiting from a church in the UK, as well as Paul, a videographer, who was making a film about the work of Mercy Air and ASAM.

The bonus in this trip was that we were also there for the dedication of the bridge that had been recently constructed to allow school kids to access the missions school without fear of being eaten by crocodiles (see previous posts).

Our visitors from the UK had some hidden talents in that there were a recently retired doctor and head teacher. So as well as visiting the mission to see what goes on, there was plenty of scope for them to get involved.

The dedication was set for the last full day so after a tour of the mission it was off to the first clinic.

After over 30 years as a GP John is now involved in teaching in a number of African countries and was able to share his skills with the local health workers.

Cathy was also there to lend a hand.
Later that day we visited the school where John and Helen were able to see the progress on the school library. It's completion was funded by a donation from their church in the UK. Now it is finished, another gift from Canada will see it equipped with books and furniture.
The kids were in the classrooms enjoying a week long VBS.
Cathy helped them make name tags
The kids love having their picture taken.
...and then shown to them.
Or better still, seeing themselves live on a cell phone.
Paul the videographer, in action...
Dr. Attenborough I presume?
...and posing himself for a change.
After that the kids enjoyed a meal that the school provides for them each day.
Then there was just time to put some finishing touches to the bridge. Side cable stays.

That evening we walked to the 'Rock' to see the sunset. In reality it just got dark as it was quite cloudy but it was still quite a restful place to be.
From the rock you can see the airfield.
OK perhaps we lie, but you can see the windsock half way down the strip. Gives you an idea of how remote and hidden things can be round there.

The next day we did some house/hut calls in the local villages.
This guy had been quite ill but was recovering well.
He lived in a hut a short bumpy drive and a short walk across the main road from the mission.
John gave him a check over.
A bit further on was another guy who had been hit by a car six months ago.
His wounds weren't doing so well.
John looked at his x-rays of the pins in his leg.
Before care was given.

The next day was set aside for the bridge dedication. People from miles around pitched up - and then the dignitaries arrived to dancing and singing from the school kids..
In typical African style, proceedings and speeches were conducted under a large shady tree...
...before the official ribbon cutting...
...and a few more speeches.
Then, doubling as a non-destructive load test, everybody danced and sang their way across the bridge to the other side...
...where they danced and sang a bit more before... dancing and singing all the way back again.
This continued for a while - until it was time to eat.

That went well - for a while, until some kids decided it would be interesting to see what happened if they threw some rocks at a bees nest. Unsurprisingly that somewhat bought proceedings to a rather abrupt end and we all met vary much later that evening to swap our escape and war stories.

The last day John gave a talk at morning devotions

...before we loaded up the trusty steed in the relative cool of the hangar...
...and headed home.
The obligatory flying home picture. Well tired after all the last few days activities.
Thank you.

Mercy Air team

A few more pictures and John and Helen's perspective can be found at the Aldridge Parish Church website at:

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