11 May 2012

Time for Tea

Late last year you might remember that we flew a load of malaria medicine up to Nacala in the north of Mozambique (http://pcm-mercyair.blogspot.com/2011/12/more-tea-vicar.html). Nacala is half way back to the equator from where we are and 200 km further east than a line with Moscow. Well, last week we flew another donated consignment up accompanied by Cathy (Paul's wife), Holger (Mercy Air's very own German mechanic) and Michael, a German TV news editor who was making a documentary about Mercy Air.

The Artemisia arrived in our office from Durban..

and was loaded into just about every available space in our Cessna 310..
This time we could fly more directly to Nacala (through Beira and Nampula rather than having to route via Malawi) so the flying time was only 5h30. We still had a two hour drive on rough dirt roads after that so again, we arrived after dark.
Eight squares on the map above is about the length of the U.K.
Artemisia was discovered in China and has been used for thousands of years as an effective cure for various diseases including Malaria. Martin and Simone Schumann along with Myriam Wahr, the missionaries working in Memba, have set up many rural clinics and use natural medicines, many of which they grow themselves. Unfortunately the Artemisia plant will not grow properly where they live due to bad soil and irregular rain.

The next day we delivered the Artemisia to the clinics..
 and had a large reception sing a welcome for us.
Later, and mainly for the benefit of the camera, Myriam and some of the Mozambican clinic staff explained their work to us and how it helps fight disease in the area.
Memba itself is a real back of the beyond type of place. It was attacked three times during the war (which ended 20 years ago), but not much seems to have improved since then.
This was the hospital which was left in ruins..
These are council houses, some of which are still occupied..
We didn't just go to deliver the medicine so during the days we were there we got busy with various jobs.
Paul helped fix some leaks in the roof..
Note our accommodation on the porch outside.
Paul and Holger also wired in some extra lights and plug sockets..
Good job Health and Safety in Moz has no direct rule on stacking tables and chairs.
Martin and Simone used to get water from a well 4 km away across town. Since we were last there things have improved and they now are able to collect rain water from the roof..
and have also finished the well in their garden..

We also got out to the market to buy some interesting colourful stuff..
and some bread..

 as well as to various parts of the coast..
 

This guy fancied himself as some kind of rapper as soon as he put my shades on.
One one day we drove to Nuarro Lodge which was only 9 miles away in a straight line, but took us 2 hours to get there by 'road'. Still we took the chance to relax a bit before the long flight home the following day.
Some of the scenery on the way up was quite impressive..
Some of these are over 1000 ft high
as indeed it was along the coast on the way down..
The appropriately named Paradise Island
It turned out that our departure airport in Moz had run out of fuel but fortunately we managed to locate some down the coast at Vilanculos and leave from there. A bit of a diversion and a very long day but good to get home in the end.

So, after 2200miles (3500km) and six days away, the 115 Kg of Artemisia we flew up was enough to treat over 2100 people and was well timed as they had only a small amount left from our previous visit.

Mercy Air team