Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Medical Evacuation Flight

Our Landing at 6500'
On Saturday morning I woke up at my friend Ben's house.  He is a pilot/mechanic with Helimission and I first got to meet him and Anisha when we attended our first Candidacy Decision Camp with Helimission in Switzerland in 2009!  Well he was busy trying to get cell service as it isn't so great in Wamena sometimes.  I grabbed a shower and when I was done Ben told me we have a medevac (medical evacuation) today and that I would be allowed to sit in the back if I wanted.  I was more than eager to see what it's like to fly in Papua, so I accepted.  The other pilot, Tim, who was supposed to fly asked if I wanted to fly instead!  I was so excited!  This was going to be my first flight with Helimission!  I have been working towards this for over 10 years and now it was going to happen.  We preflighted the helicopter, planned our flight, pushed it out and fueled up.  Ben explained the startup for me and then we spooled up, introduced fuel and poof, the engine started to go, and the blades began to spin.  After all our checks were done we called the control tower and we were cleared to take off.  We started the flight at an elevation of 5100' and we cruised at 7500' at around 100 knots/hour.  What an amazing helicopter.  21 minutes later we landed at our destination and landed at around 6500'.  Tim and Nus got out to find the patient and see his condition.  It was going to be a bit so we shut the helicopter down.  After the blades stopped turning Ben and I walked down to the Honai to figure out the plan.  Well the patient wasn't able to walk up the steep terrain to the helicopter so we were going to have to land right next to his Honai.  Ben and I walked back up the steep trail while Tim stayed below to help guide us in.  We started up and repositioned near the Honai, and the patient was loaded while I kept the helicopter running.  Once everyone was on board we picked up, had to back out of our spot and then when clear of obstacles we turned and headed right to the hospital.  Ben did the approach into the hospital as it was a fairly tight spot, and I didn't know quite where it was.  Once we landed he gave the controls to me and he got out to unload the patient onto the stretcher.  When he was clear we took off and landed back at the Helimission hangar. 

I love the silhouette of the people!
It was such a surreal moment for me to start that Helicopter and to be able to finally use the talents God gave me to save a life!  I talked with some people and they said that to walk to the village would take 3 days for a fast walker just to get there.  Without the Helicopter this man would never make it to the hospital.  The terrain here is so rugged.  There was an airstrip just a mile away as the bird flies, but to get there you would have to walk down almost 3500' and back up 3500'.  When I was in the village the people were so thankful that we came.  One lady was crying while she shook my hand and kept saying thank you over and over and touched her heart then mine.  It almost made me cry!  I wasn't able to take a lot of photos as I was flying, but was able to film the whole flight with the go pro and Tim also filmed for me from the back seat and he filmed the approach to the Honai.  I will try to make a short film and upload it, but the internet bandwidth is small here so no guarantees.  I hope you enjoy the photos, and I want to thank all of you who have supported or are supporting us to be here!  Thank you for investing into God's kingdom and into the lives of the Papuans!  They are very thankful and so am I!
It is hard to capture the setting

My first landing with Helimission

Ben cascading down to the patient

Ben and a Honai

This is where the patient was

We had to reposition the helicopter
to the left of that honai

Just beautiful

That machine has saved many lives

The red line is my route of flight from Helimission to Mobianggama and back!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bakar Batu! A true cultural experience!

A bakar batu is a lot like a luau in Hawaii.....except Papua really it is quite different. =)   Warning! The bakar batu started with the killing of the pig, so if you don't want to see photos of this....then stop now. =)

We recently went to Wamena for our second visit!  Wamena is a 40 min flight away.  =)  We went for the big Helimission Christmas party!  It was the first time the current Helimission team has been ALL together.  =)  We had a great time!   The party was for the Indonesian and Papuan workers with Helimssion.  There was balloon art, face painting, pinatas, a nativity skit, singing of Christmas carols and gift giving! It was such a special day!  

The Bakar Batu started off with a bang! The killing of the pig.  It made my stomach churn, but I had to watch.  It was a true cultural experience.  It was fun seeing all the work and all the different rolls. 

When it was time to eat, I tried everything! Go me! =)   It was actually pretty good! =)  

I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  =)  

Here is a Bakar Batu!  A true cultural experience!

burning off the first layer of skin and hair. 

heating the hot rocks to cook the pig and veggies

party girl

face painting for all the sweet kids. 

most wanted a helimission heliboo! =) 

Grace had miss Adria paint some cute pink hearts

Pig bladder makes a great balloon. =) 

Of course Matt had to get in on the fun! 

Hot rocks moved with giant homemade tweezers! 

after she realized the pig was dead and that we were going to eat it, she said she wanted the pig spicy....I'd say she's adjusting well. ;) 

Corn being added.  Everything is added layer by layer

Adults getting in on the fun! 

My friend working hard making sure the kids are well supplied with balloons

All the helimission men together for the first time! 

I love this photo! 
Made a friend in Wamena already.  Looking forward to spending some time with her.  

seasoning the meat

love this guy and his heart for people! 

finishing up.  Time to let it cook for two hours!

Everyone who helped make the bakar batu happen! =) 

blowing bubbles with his hands

waiting in line to hit the piƱata!  Grace chickened out.  lol

Grace and uncle Tom

Grumpy little nativity bunny needs a nap! 

daddy is a good shepherd watching out for this little bunny! 

Oh gosh. Too much cuteness

tired bunny

Nativity skit!

and she is out!

the three kings bowing down to baby Jesus with their gifts

time to open up the pile! 
This was the ibu's (women/mommas)  job. 

Praying before our meal. 

first course.....eating the cooked greens