Fires And February Flights

MAF pilot Nick Frey recaps some of the happenings at MAF’s West DRC base in Kinshasa.

Flight strip in Malebo, Congo

Flight strip in Malebo, Congo

We are going through a mini “dry season” in this part of the world (West D.R. Congo). It’s a time when Congolese utilize the intense heat and direct sunlight to burn sections of land so they can prepare to plant fields. This makes for lots of smoke that deteriorates visibility during flights and leaves a film of soot on the airplanes upon returning to earth.

Studying the effects of all this burning are groups like the World Wildlife Foundation, for whom we did several flights last month. They are working in conjunction with the Norwegian government and others interested in climate change and development of sustainable systems in the country. It is interesting research to be a part of and MAF is happy to help out.

Flights in February also included several trips to Gemena, DRC, where World Vision is starting and expanding a project. Dr Mossai Sunguma, project director, hopes to help out children with education, health care and proper diets. I spent the night at his home and we enjoyed sipping tea late at night outside as we discussed the future of Congo.

MAF flights enabled repairs to a Christian radio station in Nkara––Radio Glory, which reaches one million Congolese listeners. A group came out to inspect, invest in and improve the station, and also to interact with the local listeners.

Guys looking at the newly crisped electrical box

Guys looking at the newly crisped electrical box

In the midst of this dry season and burning, I received a call from Jocelyn (My wife) one evening explaining that our house was on fire. That was enough to get my attention! The electrical box, fortunately located outside our house, had burst into flames due to power surges and underground cables connecting in bad ways. Our faithful guard Jean took notice and proceeded to extinguish the flames using dirt from our garden.

We were blessed to have two MAF mechanics from headquarters staying in our guest house at the time. They also helped to throw dirt on the fire and control the situation. We had things back up and running within only two days thanks to the all-in-one, hardworking MAF handyman Matthew Lind.

Whew! Thankful for the flights, but enough with the fires. We’re we are looking forward to some less-exciting times for a while.

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