It was just after 2 o’clock in the afternoon on the 24th of April 2019, when the call came in. In the remote village of Kol, a small girl had stumbled into a cooking pot of boiling water outside the haus kuk (separate bush house for cooking). Pilot Luke Newell immediately launched from Mt. Hagen in one of our new C208s, P2-MAJ. Arriving at Kol, he was met by the father who had been carrying his small daughter for two days through the jungle to the nearest air strip. After only one hour forty minutes from the time the call was received, Luke, the child, and her father were landing at Mt. Hagen. The child was rushed to Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. How tremendous it was to receive the news that although skin grafts would be needed, the child would survive.
This Saturday morning ,7 December 2019, as I find myself in the office at the airport, capitalizing on the tranquility of an early morning to get a backlog of work accomplished , yet another medical evacuation is underway. This time Pilot Mathias Glass will launch in just minutes to fly to Maramuni to rescue a man caught in a crossfire hail of bullets. The man’s life hangs in the balance of whether or not MAF can make the flight.
Yesterday I received a photo and story from MAF pilot Paul Woodington. He is training MAF Pilot Ryan Cole on the new Cessna 208 Caravans. Flying into Huya at the foot of the O’Malley Peaks, they retrieved a small boy who, the day before, had fallen from a tree breaking his arm. Paul reports that in this first week of training, Ryan has flown five medical evacuation flights. That’s just one airplane in one area. In Papua New Guinea, MAF has nine of the Cessna Caravans flying some 40 flights per day!
Each year in Papua New Guinea, MAF airplanes bring, hope, healing, physical and spiritual transformation through compassionate medical evacuation flights that serve the individuals and communities who live around the more than 210 airstrips served.
Papua New Guinea is one of the most geopolitical diverse nations in the world, with some 830 different languages spoken (20% of the world’s languages), hundreds of ethnic groups indigenous to PNG, and many remote Papuan tribes that still have very little contact with the outside world. Thirty percent of the population still lives below the international poverty line of $1.25USD per day. Most people live on subsistence-based agriculture. The country has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific and meets the criteria for a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic.
As in the cases above, many of the medevac patients are flown to mission hospitals such as Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. Around three quarters of the medevacs are for women experiencing child birth issues. The rest are a wide range of medical needs; serious accidents, victims of violent physical abuse, serious tropical illnesses, etc.
And so…this is just one of the many reasons we do what we do, providing live-saving flights to some of the most isolated people in the world. Physical and Spiritual transformation in Christ’s name.
Thanks for helping us to keep doing what we do! We couldn’t be here without you there!