I have written about our missionary friend, Maud Kells, before. She is a wonderful, caring woman who has given her entire adult life to the people here. She lives way out in the far reaches of the forest with very little supporting connection to the outside. Congo is a harsh place and she has given over 40 years of sacrificial living for the sake of its people. She was even awarded the Order of the British Empire this year. Which makes her “Dame Maud”. Although 75 years old, she has more energy than 95% of the young people half her age. Maud is amazing and is a favorite with our MAF team here in East Congo so when we got the news that she had been shot and needed a Life Flight everyone jumped in to make this happen quickly. Dave took all the incoming calls with requests for arrangements, Laura rescheduled the whole day’s flying and took my flight to Entebbe, Donna and Cher were on the radio doing flight following, our ground staff fueled and refueled the plane as plans changed, Lary helped get everything ready, including providing an oxygen cannula, and on it went. All were praying. I got the privilege of doing the flight. As reports came in what was needed changed, destinations changed, need for blood and equipment and so on changed. But we got there and the medical team of 4 did an amazing job of trauma care. It was great to watch and be a part of.
When we arrived at Mulita, Maud’s home, there were hundreds of people around. There were high ranking police and church workers, and army personnel had secured a perimeter around the area and were standing guard with AKs and RPGs. They were all taking this very seriously and doing what they could to show that they cared for Maud. We were shown into the house where we found about 40 people in the living room and 10 people in the bedroom with her. Doctor Mike cleared out about half of the people, but it was still stiflingly hot. The doctors had brought a portable ultrasound unit and set it up in order to see what the extent of her injuries was. Maud was given blood to replace what she had lost, as well as IV fluids and pain meds.
After about an hour of working in the muggy heat, Maud was ready to be loaded onto the plane and with much ceremony she was carried out. We tied the stretcher down, the church leaders prayed for Maud’s swift recovery and for safety as we flew and we were finally off. We climbed through the broken puffy clouds into the cool and smooth on top and began to get a feeling that things were going to be OK.
After the 2 hour flight back to Nyankunde Maud was taken into the ICU, the wound was cleaned out and everything checked. The bullet had gone straight through and out but had grazed a lung.
As I closed up the plane and put it to bed I had a deep sense of satisfaction in my work and was really grateful to have had an opportunity to help my friends in their time of need and to be a part of such a cool team who pull together so beautifully to get the job done.