When a veggie patch changes everything

Plans are constantly changing in Africa. On one recent flight, Flying Mission Zambia pilot Andy Kradolfer was unable to fly to a hospital because the airstrip had fallen into disrepair and had then been transformed into the vegetable patch! Not much good for landing a light aircraft on....

The effect of this was that the passenger that day had to make a long journey by road to replace the short flight – the very thing we are trying to reduce with our aviation services to rural Zambia. 90 miles/140 kms by bumpy road takes 3 hours – and can leave people stiff and tired. By air, however, it's just 20 minutes in a comfortable seat.

Andy, the FMZ pilot, told us:

‘On the way there we came right through a very good thunderstorm that slowed us down because the roads turned into a slippery mud bath. The dirt/water mixture creates similar driving conditions to snow. Fortunately we were able to use the Ministry of Health Land Cruiser, which was fairly new and in good shape; a very suitable vehicle for such conditions.

This vehicle ‘tour’ added another overnight stay to our journey. If we could have gone there with the aeroplane, our journey would have ended that day. But instead we had the privilege of spending another night in the bush and enjoying the wonderful food of Zambia; Nshima (maize flour porridge) with fish and vegetables.

surgeryOne of the privileges that we have as pilots with FMZ is that we can usually be a useful part of the work that our clients do. We often go along and help where we can. On this trip I was doing exactly that. I went to the hospital and got a good insight into the work that we support. The day ended with a meal at 21:30. I went to bed tired but happy.’

The work of our FMZ pilots is often challenging, but it can be very satisfying when they can see that their efforts are making a difference in the lives of under-resourced people. If you are a supporter, you are helping to make it all possible. Thank you.