Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Airlift (Posted By Kai)

One of Peter's workers had a motorcycle accident last week and fractured several ribs and broke his collarbone. Unfortunately it occurred about 35km from the nearest hospital, and even once he did get there, the hospital could only stabilize him but was not able to give him the proper care he required. He needed to be air-lifted back to Tana, so Peter asked me if I wanted to go along for the ride!
It started early at 5:45 in the morning. Peter, Jacques, and I left at dawn for the airport and made the journey across town picking up a missionary doctor on the way. We arrived, checked in, and piled into the 12 passenger MAF plane. I got to sit in the co-pilot seat on the way down. It was totally awesome!!!
It was less than a 1 hour flight in a prop plane, but would have taken over 10 hours to drive the guy from the town on the coast up to Tana. That gives an idea of the condition of the roads, and when your ribs are busted up, every bump feels like torture.
I haven’t really had time to think about flying a plane with being in school and the prohibitive expense, but sitting in the co-pilot’s seat brought back the memories. I was fine with the take off and the flight. It was fun and beautiful, but the addiction of flying for me is in the landing. Lining up for the runway, bringing it down nice and easy, sitting in ground effect for a few seconds, and then gently kissing the ground is what is so awesome about flying to me and I suddenly missed it very much.
When we got to the hospital, it was only about 150 yards from the Indian Ocean, but was not the cleanest, most up-to-date place (the maternity ward beds had mattresses without sheets and the smell of urine was in the air). I’m not sure that even if I were deathly sick that I would want to go there. But the man was stable and they had the equipment to take a chest x-ray. We loaded him into the plane and made the trip (much faster and smoother than the alternative) back to the awaiting ambulance. He was in stable condition and definitely has a much better chance for full recovery here in Tana than where he was.
I got to see cascading waterfalls, lush rainforest, tiny villages throughout the countryside, and our compound all from the air. It was incredible.
I felt really blessed to go on this incredible adventure!

The plane


The runway at Mananjary

The Indian Ocean

Rice Paddies

The Doc

(If you zoom in on some of these pictures, you can see tiny villages along the river. They are mostly made of huts in a clearing and they were all over the place.)

Beautiful waterfalls!

The rainforest

A reservoir

Our compound
(It is the forested area surrounded by city. If you zoom in at the right place you can actually see our house!)


  1. Nice blog you got here... Just droppin' by to say hi! http://www.arts-and-entertainment.info

  2. Incredible pictures, Kai, and what an exciting adventure!! You caught some amazing sites!! Thanks for sharing, and so thankful you were safe!! Love to all ~ Mom

  3. What a wonderful experience. Glad you were able to get the patient to better medical care. You are all building great memories and pictures to go with them.
    Love ya