The flight to Isiro was pretty full and the people were ready to go by 7:00 a.m. But we had word that the malaria in Nebobongo was so bad that children were dying for lack of the infusion that had been brought across from Uganda and was now stuck in Customs.
We postponed the flight to work at getting the meds released, and over 3 hours later we were finally ready to make a start! To make room for the cargo I dumped 100 liters of fuel, which meant dipping into our emergency fuel stash at Nebo in order to get home, and we got on our way.
I dropped off pax at Isiro and took the 12 minute flight over to Nebo, and were they happy to get the meds. The doctors told me they had 88 children in the 22 bed Children’s Ward and many of the kids had a hemoglobin count of 4 when they tell me it’s supposed to be 14 or so. He explained that this is very close to dying. Kids were started on the drips and I had a nice lunch with Dr. Matthias Holmer and his wife Sabine before getting back in the plane and heading home for the day. Another great day at the office.
But lots of other people were part of this day; like our MAF co-worker, Pam, in Kampala who goes to pick up the meds and get them on the plane coming to Bunia, our MAF-Uganda pilot friends who brought them over from Entebbe, our ground crew who helped clear the stuff from customs and load the plane up, our pax who were willing to wait for the stuff to get cleared, (thanks Goeff, Bettina, Morgan, and Chiara.), maybe even you! Lots of you guys support us and this work here in Congo.
And I got the privilege of being at the end of the line to see the happy doctors who could now do their job. I am the lucky one! But thanks to you all.
An update on the guy shot “in the head” by the LRA and who had to be bypassed because of bad weather in Ngilima: we went in on Monday with a surgeon and found that, in fact, the man was shot in the shoulder, not the head. The wound had been cleaned well by local health workers and he was given tetanus injection and antibiotics. It was already starting to heal well and he didn’t even have to take the trip to the hospital in Dungu. In light of this, I felt much better about the hard decision to pass him by on Friday.