Mission Bush Pilot and Nurse

After spending three years in Guyana, South America, we have now moved to Bewani, 50 Km south of Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. We have started a new humanitarian aviation ministry here. In visiting with health officials and church people here, the need for an aviation program to reach into remote villages became very apparent. We are taking health workers and medicines/vaccines, into remote village airstrips and bringing out critically ill patients to the hospital. We also fly in educational materials for schools, as well as take in Bible workers. Toni is helping with the medical end of things, while Gary takes care of the flying part. We have several local lay missionaries we sponsor and we do ground transport for patients as well. We are volunteers here to serve our God and the unreached people of Papua New Guinea. We have a great need for more people to join in this effort.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Taking Apart the Plane

Gary has been in the jungle since Wednesday am working to get the crashed plane out. (The one the base pilot, Bob, crashed the day after we arrived here). They were supposed to arrive home last night, but didn't make it. They didn't have enough help. They had to take the plane apart and haul the parts up a bank, down the runway, and then down the other bank. Then they had to meet a motorized canoe that would take it upriver 3 hrs. to a place where a truck could meet them. (the road is too rough for the school truck--has to be 4-wheel drive) The truck was to take them to another site where the school truck was waiting to haul the plane back to the airbase.

It's been quite an operation. There were only 3 of them to work on the plane, most of the time. Celso is the radio man, and he had to be in charge of communications--lots of phone calls and radio calls to make, arrange for the boat and truck, someone to cook for them,; so, he was busy doing lots of other things, as well. Bob, the base pilot, also had to fly everybody back and forth, and some of the plane parts. So, he wasn't there all the time. Gary was the only one there all the time. Two mechanics from the shop were supposed to be there to help, but they showed up 1 1/2 days late, and only worked 3 hrs. Bob had to haul them back and forth in the plane. They finally got the plane parts to the riverbank--a little late.
The guy they hired to do the canoe had just left to do something else. He left his motor with another boat. They couldn't get that driver to do the job. It took them all morning to find someone to take the plane upriver. They were supposed to meet the truck at 12 noon. It takes 3 hrs. to go upriver. They were very late. When they got there, the truck had just turned around and left to do something else. By the time the truck got there, it was dark.

We can't fly here after dark--due to no lights on the airstrips or anywhere. So, Bob couldn't bring everybody home. He had to go out on an emergency flight this am, which i was hoping to go on, but couldn't. So Gary & Celso will probably come back on the truck this am. It's a 4 hr. drive. I know they will be tired, hungry and ready for a shower and some rest!! Anyway, i've rattled on too long.

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