TELEFOMIN – On a Saturday in late August, I had the opportunity to join a Medevac flight with my pilot husband, Piet.
Piet was asked to Medevac a woman with a broken back and an MAF lady offered to babysit our boys so that I could join Piet on the operation. A golden opportunity.
The flight was beautiful and we picked up the woman at a remote airstrip in the middle of the mountains.
The woman was thin and covered in sores.
She did not have a broken back but was very ill, trembling a lot and in great pain.
We understood that the men from the village had walked for more than two days to get to a place where they could get in telephone range to call MAF.
And then walk all the way back.
Just before we departed from the remote airstrip, I saw several women walk up to the sick woman and put money and some food into her bag.
The woman who accompanied her on the flight also carried a large bunch of bananas. I wondered why.
After a quiet flight (luckily for the woman there was no turbulence), she was transferred to the hospital in Tari.
The question about the money and food was solved. Patients don't get anything to eat in hospital.
Fortunately, the medical care itself is good in Tari hospital. Someone told me proudly it has five doctors.
On the way back to Telefomin we made another stop at the village where we had picked up the woman.
We had taken some people from Tari back to the village.
One of them, a teenage boy, was truly all happiness and joy. He kept giggling and smiling, and punched me a few times he was so happy.
“I'm going home,” he said, and when we got him home it turned out that the love and longing was from both sides – the boy and the people waiting for him. Just priceless!
What a beautiful morning for Piet and me to experience together like this.