Ferry to Madagascar - HALO in Angola

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Life has been busy lately and Nick has been having a good time with a few cross continent flights. Before Christmas he did a ferry flight of a Cessna 182 from Kinshasa to Madagascar. 
We had a diesel 182 here for many years but because it is an airplane that has a converted diesel engine from an avgas engine it is an airplane that often needs little extra maintenance.
The 182 was great because it was so cheap and getting avgas all over the world is so expensive, however last year we were able to find cheaper avgas to ship in. Because we were able to do that, we brought back our 206 and the extra maintenance on the 182 wasn't quite worth it once the price of flying the 206 went down. 

So after talking to MAF Canada and figuring out the best place for the 182, they decided that MAF Madagascar would be the best place for it. The Madagascar program already has a 182 and their mechanic Rob Barber is a 182 specialist and travels around to different MAF programs around the world helping working on them.

So it was decided Madagascar is a much better home for this airplane with the mechanic that knows this type of plane inside and out. 
Nick few out of Kinshasa in the 182, its not the fastest little guy so the trip from here to Madagascar would take about 3 days. The trip was a long one, first he flew south from here to Lubumbashi which took 7 hours. 

The next day east to Mozambique which took 6.5 hours. It was then just another 5 hours to the MAF base in Madagascar. When he was over the ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar he started to have some concerns about how the airplane was sounding so he landed at a closer airstrip on the coast of Madagascar. He was blessed to meet up with a friend from when we did language training in Quebec city that is a missionary in the area that he landed. The coolest thing was that each place Nick stopped there was an MAF base with friends that he knew and people to great him with open arms. It is so awesome to see how MAF is acting as salt and light all across Africa and that we are all in this together. 

The next day they took a look at the airplane and then flew it the rest of the way to Tana.
The whole trip took 6 days, 5 countries, 5 takeoffs and landings, 19 flight hours, 4000kms, 670 litres of jet fuel.


Then last week Nick had the opportunity to travel down to Angola to help out with the MAF Canada program there with a big event that was going on. 
There is a great organization called HALO (Hazardous Areas Life-Support Organization) and 20 years ago Princess Dianna brought international attention to them when she visited Angola and called for a international ban on landmines. She did this by strapping on gear and walked through a live mine field

Today Angola is still only about 50% de-mined. There are an estimated 37 million land mines buried across Africa and Angola contains approximately 10 million of them. 
It could take another four decades before all Angola’s land mines are removed. Meanwhile, these horrific devices will continue to take their toll. 

In 2010, 80 people were killed by land mines. While Nick was there he was able to see the completion of mine removal in a community. They said that as soon as an area is deemed safe, quite literally the next day people will begin to move in and start farming. 

Here is an excerpt taken from the HALO website about their work in Angola.
"Between 1975 and 2002 Angola suffered one of Africa’s longest and deadliest civil wars fuelled by Cold War rivalry. During this time 1.9 million people faced famine and over one million people were displaced.
The fighting left a legacy of landmines and ammunition, which have cost thousands of lives with an estimated 80,000 injured.
HALO has been working to clear landmines in Angola for over 22 years. With the right resources, Huambo Province may soon be the first ‘mine impact free’ province. 
However, in other provinces there is much more work to be done and many vulnerable people continue to endure the daily threat of landmines. Rural Angolans living near minefields are particularly at risk, prevented from using their land safely for housing or crops and often having to cross minefields or use mined paths to collect water or firewood.
We have destroyed more than 92,000 landmines and 162,000 items of unexploded ordnance. We have cleared more than 800 minefields and 22,600 hectares of land. We have also used pioneering systems to open safer access along 7,600km of road, enabling emergency aid agencies to reach vulnerable communities cut off by anti-tank mines."
It was an amazing opportunity for Nick to experience the great work this NGO does and for MAF to be a part of that solution.