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It’s never a dull moment when you are on a mission with Brillant de l’Or. Aside from the varied program that we fly with him in a week, it can happen that not a single day runs according to schedule. Sometimes, during the flight, he gets the idea to fly to a completely different village than the one that is planned.

We pilots are accustomed to carrying out flight preparations with precise fuel planning before going on a mission. When there were sudden changes to plans or unexpected events one of our pilots used to say: “Be flexible, says the Bible.”

At the beginning of April, we started off for a one-week mission with Brillant and a team to his home region in the Midongy District, where he is deeply committed to the well-being of the villagers. Brillant is a pastor and member of Congress with notable connections, all the way up to the President, and he is a very interesting character. On our nearly two-hour flight, we visited one village after the other. He does not shy away from going to the dusty villages to be among his countrymen to seek contact.    

On Wednesday, Brillant asked us to fly five sacks of cement to Marovovo, where he was going to hold a speech. In the village of Sahanety, the prepared space was unsuitable for landing, but we did find a small but suitable place near a stream. The people stood close to the stream and listened with interest to Brillant’s message next to the helicopter. Just as we were about to climb back into the helicopter to take off, there was a loud commotion and a woman caused unrest in the crowd. She calmed down again after Brillant talked to her and we were able set off for the next village, Lavaraty.

After the speech in Midongy du Sud, the largest village in the district, the villagers mentioned their fear of a possible landslide at the edge of the village because of erosion by the river. Brillant promised to take care of it and either have the hillside stabilized or else have the river diverted, so that the houses on the riverbank would not be carried off by the river at the next landslide.

On the evening of the last day, we received a spontaneous request for a medical evacuation of Daniel, the son of a Dutch family. He had a severe infection that could not be treated at this remote mission station in Amporoforo so far south. He needed help at the children’s hospital in Antananarivo.

Like so often, I was once again in awe of the perfect timing, which had ensured that our helicopter was in the area just at that very point in time, so that we could bring the little boy safely to the capital within two hours. This spared the family an arduous three-day drive by car on bad roads.

Ernst, Pilot


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