So, we finally left for Mozambique last Saturday after several delays that held us up in South Africa. We were up early on Saturday morning packing, and once we had everything nicely loaded into the plane, we were ready to go! Thinking nothing much could delay us now.
At least that was what I thought while I watched Dwight and John trying to get the Cessna 182's engine started. The battery had been a little flat from sitting and having work done, so it needed a bit of persuasion to get going. How do you persuade a small plane's engine to start? You do that by manually cranking the prop (the blades out front that spin around to "propel" the plane).
After several nonproductive prop turns and a fair bit of coughing and sputtering, I noticed a thin stream of smoke rise from the engine. "Oh, oh! This can't be good..." I thought. Scenes of unpacking the plane and thumbing a ride to Mozambique flashed through my mind. Not seriously, of course. We had a lot stuff, both our own plus donated items, so I'm not sure who would have stopped for us anyway.
Quick as a flash, the guys were on the scene with fire extinguishers and the situation was under control.
So what do you do after you see smoke rising from an engine that you depend on to get you and a bunch of stuff home? You put your travel plans on hold, once again, and open the engine up and inspect it. Turns out it was just a bit of fuel overflow from the carburator that had ignited, but the fire was snuffed out quite quickly from the continued turning of the prop. If you need more detail than that, ask a pro. But that explanation was all I needed to hear, especially from someone as meticulous as John. No damage done. We were good to go.
John (aircraft engineer at Mercy Air) and Dwight checking things out after the incident.
Obviously if things had not been okay to leave, we would have unpacked our things and delayed yet a bit more. But what a relief to get the green light to carry on with our plans to leave. Home, Jones!
Departure from Mercy Air's grass strip. Pls note important instructions on sign: Ground traffic, keep left. Air traffic, keep right.
From here, we stopped at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to clear customs and immigration before proceeding. That was where I left my camera in the rental car and a kind man rescued it and returned it to me. Oh dear.
Somewhere over beautiful Africa.
One of my assigned tasks during the flight home was to get a photo of the instrument panel since a few new instruments have been installed. Good thing I had that camera back. So can you tell which are the new instruments? (Yeah, right.)
Vilanculos Airport, currently undergoing expansion.
And we wonder why there are potholes on the main highway?
We were VERY happy when we finally arrived at Chimoio airport and could go home and sleep in our own beds, in our own room, in our own house, in the Moz bush again. Home sweet home!
We've had to intersperse unpacking and getting resettled with playing catch up with all that's happening on the ground. And there's a lot happening here right now! I've accompanied the Prairie team on a few home visits, most of them being so heart warming.
Left: Jeff. Right: a young man of 20 or so, who struggles with physical challenges each and every day. He had unusable crutches (they were much too long for him) that Jeff is in the process of refashioning.
One of our stops was at Bero's place. Funds have come in for him to proceed with surgery on his other arm. He was very excited to hear that and is ready for it!
This is the bush road to the mission's primary school. What a beautiful place.
A mobile immunization team from a nearby government hospital came to the school last week, so the nursing team assisted by interacting with the mommies and babies, by weighing the babies, and
by helping fill out paperwork.
Between the items we brought home and items the teams brought with them, my little office was bursting at the seams with boxes of donated medical supplies, children's clothing, etc. Yesterday, the nursing team was kind enough to haul it all out onto the veranda, sort through it, label it, then restack it.
What chaos, but it didn't last long. They did an amazing job and it's now all ready to be used either right here or sent to needy areas further afield where it will be a huge blessing as well.
I better run for now. Did I mention how good it feels to be home?