I was out in Uganda overnight taking a plane for maintenance and on my way back with Dave Jacobsson yesterday when we got the word to come directly to Nyankunde as soon as we could with the parts for our 206. Our scheduler Laura Harkonen got the word that there had been an attack at Boga about 26 miles away and a young man had been shot in the legs. Our 206 had a voltage regulator problem so we were bringing back spares to repair the issue. Although Larua was sick, she pre-flighted for me as Dave changed out the regulator and test ran the plane. Our ground crew, led by Kazi, got seats out for the stretcher and fueled up.
Boga is an interesting airstrip on the side of a hill with quite a steep angle. It makes it easy to stop going up and a nice kick in the pants as you take off downhill. But if you are not on your speed and on your glideslope as you land, a go-around can be tricky. It has to be planned well in advance. There was a big crowd to welcome me and the whole incident was better than television for the people in the area. I picked Dr. Samy out of the crowd as he waved a cheery greeting to me. He had given first aid, but although most bleeding was slowed, the cloth that covered hi was soaked with blood and I had to clean a puddle off the floor when I landed in Nyankunde after the short 15 minute flight. The parents came along to take care of their son in hospital and we had lots of help loading. The hospital isn’t equipped to supply food for the patients and it falls on the family to take care of those details.
After I returned from another flight I went up to visit “Patrick” and found him comfortable as could be expected. He had been seen by the doctors and his bleeding stopped. His knee is pretty blown out and it is still to be determined how we can best help him with the resources we have here. There are no big knee replacements like in the states or Europe. Anyone have a spare and the knowledge to put it in? As I was leaving, Patrick asked if I had any water. He was very thirsty. Cher had brought some food and drinks to another one of our MAF patients earlier and I went over to them and asked if I could use their cup and some of the water. Lilas was more than happy to help and I brought the water over to Patrick. I don’t say this because I am such a nice guy. I am not. But sometimes all you can do is give “a cup of cold water in Jesus name,” and we do need to do what we can. Even if it seems small.
Hey, as an update on Maud Kells, she is doing very well. Although she still has a lot of pain and there is a hole in her back that is slowly healing from the inside out, she always says, “I am getting better every day!” I flew her and Dr. Matthias and Sabine, who have been caring for her daily since the evacuation, from Nebobongo and they stayed with us for the night before departing for Entebbe, where Maud will go on to Ireland. She hopes to return soon to continue her work here in the remote part of Congo. She is an amazing woman.