Making The Most Of Donations

It had been planned for some time that we would travel with a team for a week to different regions in the east and southeast of Madagascar. Shortly before the start of our mission, we received another request to visit various villages in the same region which we could combine very well.

To begin, I dropped the first team off in the first village and picked up the other team further south at a prearranged location and flew them to Ambodimanga. I then refueled at one of the 13 airfields where Jet A-1 fuel is available. Such refueling stops have to be carefully planned in the flight preparation. Because of upcoming fog, I decided to spend the night at this location.

After the fog had gradually lifted the next day, I was able to fly back north into the rainforest. Visibility was still limited, and the cloud base hung low. I was glad that I had refueled a few liters extra the day before to have enough fuel now for the detours caused by the weather. Finally I was able to land in the village where the team was already waiting for me. During the following days we flew to different villages and brought help. 

In Maromiteny there was a man who had burned his lower leg in a fire four years ago. Dr. Deborah treated the wound which had not yet healed and was still open. It is hard for us from the West to imagine how these people have to live: in dust and dirt, flies on open wounds, without basic medical care or any painkillers. 

The last village that we visited was called Ambohimiary. It is located in a valley on steep terrain. Upon our arrival, we were informed by villagers about a sick woman with an enlarged belly. Relatives wanted to bring her to a hospital for further examination. In order to carry the woman to the end of the valley, 4 men would need more than 6 hours. Since we had to fly in this direction the next day anyway, we could combine this easily. In the morning, the sick woman and two family members boarded the helicopter and after just four minutes we reached the edge of the valley. The surprise over how short the flight was, was written on the faces of the sick woman and her relatives.

It is always nice for us when different missions can be combined, resulting in as little flight time as possible. These joint ventures are making a difference! 

Nick, Pilot