And lately, seeing my name on the schedule has become normal. Just yesterday, I had 6 hours of flying around the mountains, taking patients back home, moving a doctor team between clinics, and shuttling nurses to and from clinics for their 3-weekly shift change.
Flying in Lesotho is pretty unique: Most scheduled flights will depart from Maseru, and visit as many mountain strips as possible while out there, depending on the needs for the day, and the fuel and weather. Yesterday I set out on one flight, and had 8 landings, at 7 different places. Many airstrips are minutes from each other, and we get pretty used to running through our startup, take off and landing checklists. Regardless of how routine though, each take off and landing comes with its own challenges, and theres never a chance to sit back and relax. And that’s why we like it.
Now that I have been operational for a while, it’s been great to see the effect MAF has on the effective operation of the clinics. Besides shuttling the staff and patients around 10 times faster than road transport, we also get to respond to emergencies. Just two days ago Bryan, our chief pilot, had an exciting flight with a baby being born in the airplane. The baby was breech and in distress as he flew between the mother’s village and the district capital of Mokhotlong, a 7 minute flight and couple hour drive. The nurse worked hard in the back of the plane, and when it was on the ground awaiting the ambulance, the baby could wait no more. Luckily for Bryan, the nurse did a great job, even having to resuscitate the baby, before the ambulance arrived.
Not every day has such drama, but whenever there is an emergency call, we never quite know what to expect!
Needless to say, I have been enjoying the flying very much, and love that we get to do this.