Monday, 10 September 2012

A day trip to Sudan

Two weeks ago Joshua and Zara had the opportunity to fly with Simon before they headed back to school. They had the chance to go to Sudan in the 206 (6 seater).  This was their first time in Sudan and as Simon only had one passenger up and one passenger down there was plenty of room.  Sometimes we hear people say "oh your kids miss out on so much with living in Africa".   I think the opposite is true.  There are not many children who can say they flew to a different country for the day and their Daddy was the pilot :) 

Gun shot and malaria

Simon was doing the Northern shuttle flight this morning.  He had a plan for the day but as is normal things can on to see how is day actually went...

I was supposed to have a “quick northern shuttle” flight with only two stops which is unusual in itself. I missed the fact that I was to refuel upcountry but luckily we had one no-show passenger which made it all work. On Sunday I had already received a text from our Operations Department (OPS) regarding a joining passenger from Matany hospital. Just before landing in ,where we were dropping an eye-surgery team, OPS called to ask if I could pick up an additional patient who needed more treatment in Kampala. There were plenty of seats so once we landed and unloaded I took on the two extra people. The gentleman had his right arm all cast up to his shoulder and he could hardly make it in-between the isle of the back seats to sit on the rear seat but with some maneuvering he finally managed. Just before landing in Moroto (supposedly second and last stop) OPS again called to see if I could stop in Amudat to pick up a malaria patient who needed treatment in Kampala. Being only another 20 minutes away that also worked out fine. Whilst waiting in Amudat for the vehicle to arrive (they had a 40 minute driving time to the airstrip) we got talking to the guy who had his arm in a cast that we picked up in Matany. His story was an eye opener and showed why we fly so regularly around northern Uganda.   He was on a motorbike heading from Matany down to Soroti driving slowly in high gear because of the terrible state of the road when not too far from him he saw four guys. They all had AK47’s and the first one lifted his gun and fired. The bullet hit him in the upper right arm shattering bone and immediately rendering the arm completely useless. He fell off his motorbike and was sure that they would now “finish him off”. Instead they came and stole USH 270’000 (all his cash) from his wallet along with his bottle of water and walked off into the bush. Luckily nearby people had heard the gun shots and reported it to the nearest army post.  The military then came with a vehicle and loaded him and his motorbike up and drove him to Matany Hospital. There they were able to clean and disinfect the wound but he will need extensive surgery to set the bone as it is completely shattered and there is also no feeling in his hand as it seems the nerves were damaged as well. This happened on Saturday afternoon between 3pm and 4pm. On Sunday two more people were killed during ambushes. Though we hardly hear of these incidences here in Kampala and don’t even read about them in the newspaper they are daily occurrences in this area. Some local people on the ground who had joined our group in Amudat, while waiting on the malaria patient, said that they could easily be LDU people (Local Defense Units) which were set up during the Kony war. They now work with government but can supposedly easily switch from uniform to the local wrap-around and commit such ambushes before slipping into uniform again. As one can imagine it is hard to near impossible to find the guilty culprits.
If these people come to your mind please pray for them.  Pray for a full recovery and for the finances to meet their needs.