18 February 2018

Sight Flight SA

Mercy Air recently resumed its association with MAF and Flying For Life.

MAF South Africa created Flying For Life in 2011 to meet the needs of isolated south Africans living in rural areas.

Today countless people in South Africa don’t just live in poverty but they are also cut off from the institutions that exist to address their needs, by difficult or dangerous terrain. It's not just that they are born into less-fortunate circumstances, but their location deprives them of the opportunity to change that.

Mercy Air and Flying for Life enable medical professionals, early childhood development trainers, social development specialists and other non-profit organisations to reach communities in need.

On this occasion we picked up a team of volunteer ophthalmologists in Johannesburg and flew them to a rural hospital in Thohoyandou in the Limpopo district of South Africa to perform cataract surgery on 18 patients. This saved them a 12 - 14 hour round trip drive over what would probably have been three days.



It still meant a very early start for us though to get to Jhb in the first place.
On landing on Thohoyandou a minibus was waiting to take us to the hospital 45 mins away.
 
On our arrival we 'trollied' all our equipment into the theater.
Out in the corridor the support staff prepped the patients...
... and did a few tests to work out what prescription implant lenses they needed.
In the theater each cataract procedure only took about 20-30 mins, but it made a lifetime of difference to each person involved.


Very interesting and quite a privilege to get this close to some life changing moments for many people.
We were even able to help a bit - under strict supervision!


A sobering sign on one of the noticeboards in the corridor. Please never let us need a black sticker for a very long time!
We left a little late in order to fit as many procedures in as possible.

The strip in Thohoyandou was tar but hasn't seen much regular use for a long time. The main activity it seems were the local kids who danced for us on the threshold as we prepared to take off. Health and safety - for who!
One of the guys who flew with us had his PPL and aspirations to use aviation in a mission context in the future. It was good to chat 'all things flying' on the way back.
We dropped the team off in Jhb just at sunset and therefore had to fly back to Nelspruit at night.
The bright lights of Jhb - soon gave way to the blackness of Mpumalanga
Thank you.

Paul.

For the Mercy Air team.

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