Two days after my first solo operational flight in Lesotho, I was booked on the schedule again.
A couple days after that, I was booked again.
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.
While I’m bouncing around in the skies, Emily is usually hard at work either with Pulane Children’s Centre, or chasing around our almost-4-year-old. I’ve been so excited to see Emily’s strengths and passions come out as she leads PCC in her own way. Where I was focused on productivity, numbers, reports and all that fun stuff, she sees things through a softer and more nurturing lens. She has really been working hard with the PCC staff, to help them see their jobs more as a ministry and less like a 9-5 job. She is teaching and helping them to love the children who are harder to love, to communicate with each other, and to try and understand PCC’s bigger role in these children’s lives, apart from just food and shelter.
Emily has almost daily interaction with the management staff, advising them and helping them with tricky situations. There is currently a major teachers strike in Lesotho, meaning no schooling at any government schools. While this was a challenge, Emily helped them figure out a solution and find a way to home school all of the PCC children. We sometimes can’t help notice the irony that the children in the ‘orphanage’ have more than the kids in the villages. This idea challenges us to think about how to make PCC’s presence reach further outward.
While I am flying, and Emily is working on PCC challenges, Jane is usually drawing something. This kid loves to draw and color, which might be true of all 4 year olds, but seeing as we only have 1, we can only comment on what she does!
Thank you for supporting our family. We are grateful to have your support, not to mention how privileged we feel to get to do what we do here in Lesotho.