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Our local pilot Maichel and I had a flight to the southern lowlands to install an antenna for the HF radio in Lukun, and then to pick up a woman who was having childbirth complications and bring her to the hospital. It was a long flight and we had to plan it precisely due to fuel considerations.

The morning of the flight, we were informed of a boy in Bayono who had been bitten by a poisonous snake. This put us even closer to our “limits” fuel wise.

When we landed in the village of Bayono, there was no boy with a snake bit to be seen far and wide. A local man came running but he did not know any Indonesian. By communicating with grunts and gestures it seemed that the boy was in a village nearby. After a short flight we saw a clearing in the jungle and sure enough, this was the new village of Bayono. We landed and they carried the boy to the helicopter. Before the mother got into the helicopter she hugged me, saying thank you over and over again. We brought the boy named Doani to Dekai hospital with his parents. The weather deteriorated rapidly, and we were unable to pick up the other patient. However, the weather allowed us to fly the woman to the hospital the next day. During this flight I heard a fixed wing pilot say on the radio that he was taking Doani and his parents to the regional hospital on the coast.

Later, we received a thank you letter. They thanked us for responding so quickly to their distress call. Thanks to quick intervention, Doani’s life was saved, though the poison severely affected his heart and kidneys. We don’t often get thank you letters for the work we do here, but when we do it’s very encouraging. Meanwhile Doani has, thanks be to God, completely recovered from the effects of the snake’s venom.

Matt, Pilot


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