11 July 2016

Joint Planning

Recently Mercy Air teamed up with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) to investigate the possibilities of working together to provide social upliftment, education and medical care to isolated communities in a remote area of South Africa.

MAF has been running a 'Flying For Life' program in the Vhembe area of Limpopo for over five years (www.flyingforlife.co.za). Mutual friends put people at a lodge in Maputaland, an area of South Africa just south of Mozambique, in touch with MAF to see if a similar work could be set up with the communities that they work with.

MAF's larger aircraft are currently serving in central Africa so they asked us to fly them to Maputaland to meet with hospital staff, teachers and other interested parties to ascertain the need and see if together, we could help provide a solution.
It doesn't look far on a map but this 1 hour flight saves about 8 hours driving by road.
Once there, access to the communities was often by way of dirt/sand roads that take you in the general direction of where you want to go.
We visited one project that was set up to provide education to local youth as well as promote community involvement and ownership.

Need hot water for a shower - just light the fire.
 Interestingly many of the villages were quite dispersed...
..and consisted of huts or houses built of wood with a dry stone facing.

We visited a 'larger' hospital at Manguzi as well as a rural clinic...
..and spoke to some very motivated staff.
Africa might be known for its Big 5 but cows seemed to be the main obstacle on the rural tracks.
We also found time to visit Lake Sibaya, the largest freshwater lake in South Africa.
Because of the remoteness the area hasn't been heavily affected by humans.

We let this crocodile bask in peace in the evening sun.
Access to a short airstrip in the area makes using aircraft feasible.
We look forward to returning to the area soon with medical and education specialists to bring hope, help and healing to the local communities.

Thank you

Mercy Air/MAF team.

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