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Shhhhhhhhhh I have a secret

I want to tell you a secret. There are some people who believe the hub of Mercy Air is focused on fixed wing planes and helicopters. Well its not true but don’t tell them! The real hub of Mercy Air in terms of machinery is our John Deere 2130 1976 Tractor, yes its true well that is my humble opinion.




It is the machinery that my team of four use to make to farm work, to clean, tidy and tow. It the vehicle that helps keep the farm looking beautiful for a guests, who tell us the place is looking great( well done team) it is the tractor that keeps the runway fit for propose, when the rain comes it is used to cut the runway every week.
So for the past two week I have been servicing our John Deere. As I have been doing just that I have been showing Vusi what to. Vusi is one of the team I work with on the farm and has shown a keenness to learn more skills. Vusi has been my apprentice as I was an apprentice to other people. I think of people like Mike O’Connor who was patient and showed me wh…
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CD

Today, on this cool Winter day in Whiteriver, South Africa, we have planted 9 Camellia bushes. Our vision is that as they grow they will form a walk down from the orchard behind our house. From a distance we hope to gaze on the white, pink and red flowers. Visitors who come to the farm will see a walkway of green bushes that will be flashed with camellia colour. Erin and I have planted the Camellias after the recent death of my best friend Chris, known to me as CD. He and I met at the age of 5 on the way to school and stayed lifelong friends until his death at the age of 60 years. At this point in my grief I feel nothing good came out of his death, nothing dampens the pain of loss, emptiness and unfulfilled dreams; not Camellias, not the fine words at his funeral, or laughter in sharing his life with others.


So for the moment we have planted 9 Camellias to try and mark his life on a continent he was never able to visit. Camellias - because they were his favourite plant and flower an…

Doa and Mutarara 2019

During May I had the privilege of flying in our helicopter with Joel to ASAM in Mozambique, and to be part of a mission outreach. We flew first to Chimoio and then on to Doa for two days, then to Mutarara for 5 days. We were a group of 5 people with various gifts and skills, plus local pastors. As two teams, every day we flew in to two remote villages where we were met by the local church.

The pastors  in the villages were people I had met at the school ASAM where they were part of the twice yearly intensive teaching program. 

It was truly amazing to meet these pastors in the own context where they live their daily lives. The pastors and students are part of a teaching program which takes them through 25 books over a number of years until they finally complete the course and graduate. 

Myself, Andy and Joao taught in the villages, and I was spoke about the role of prayer in our daily lives. I also presented certificates for books completed as part of graduation program. There were yo…

Numb

On my recent trip to Mutarara with ASAM, the celebration had ended and we were just about to leave the village.  I was told that someone wanted to give us something for the mission, to say thank you. Well my background informed me to get ready to accept a cheque. We gathered in a semi circle and a young man stood before us clutching an old worn back pack. Large cheque I thought! He opened the bag and out popped a live chicken. Oh  this is interesting - where in my training was I prepared for this? So I took my lead from my friend Joao and the young man told his short but eventful story.
He wanted to give us a chicken to say thank you for showing care.  He wanted to say thank you to the mission for the help they gave, when his wife was pregnant with their child. He wanted to say thank you, for helping him after his wife died after giving birth. He wanted to say thank you to the mission for giving milk for the child after the birth. He wanted to say thank you, after this, his only child, die…

Schools

During my week on mission trip to Mamoli one of the highlights was to visit local schools. during the day these schools would very quickly become health clinics. I have spent a fair amount of time in schools in my adult life. I have shared many school assemblies with the children, I have been a school governor and helped in classrooms. But Mozambique gave me a whole new insight to what school is like for many children in Africa.

At one school we visited there was two brick-built buildings firm and sound, they have no electricity or glass in the windows but they do have good old-fashioned blackboards. Here as always lively engaging children interested in new visitors. But outside on the ground in the sun lay the children’s school books drying out in the 35 degrees heat. The books were wet because of the heavy rain during the previous week.


Then we went to another school this one had more children attending and seemed very busy. But it was the first school I have ever visited with a hear…

Table encounter

As I sat at a small bush clinic in an isolated community in Mozambique something unusual played out. A group of young men emerged into this mainly female community gathering. There were about 8 young boys heading towards manhood, late teens, I guess. They had a hint of that attitude I have seen in young men in England; they stand - no sitting in the dust for this group. They laugh and make fun of each other; it seems they treat life without too much seriousness. I listen but I can only guess what this very foreign language is saying. But they have gathered within four confident strides of the folding table. Each one in turn takes his place, seated and patient.For some the encounter is a joke; banter, laughter pushing, but for others the encounter at the table seems to have a misplaced silence.
The day is hot, the medical team in action, friends meeting, this is a social occasion for local villages. This is a cheap folding table, small enough to fit into the helicopter. It is delivered…

Mamoli Mission Trip

As part of Mercy Air’ outreach to isolated communities, there have been regular mission trips to Mamoli Mission, in Mozambique, for a number of years now. 



The journey began as we left Mercy Air to exit South Africa at Kruger and enter Mozambique at Beira.

We stay at the Mamoli Mission base where we have two rooms, a secure place to park the helicopter, and storage for the A1 jet fuel (always important). The day begins with a shower at 6, knowing you will be soggy with sweat by 10, then breakfast and prayers. Joel makes a series of phone calls to check people are in place for the day ahead and does the helicopter preflight checks. The aim of the week is to take medical staff from the hospital and health care centers to communities only accessible by air. Each day we take a different medical team to a different community. This might be a school, with a building, with class rooms, but no electricity, but it could also be a community with a school meeting under a tree. We visited a medical…