PCM News

News and updates from Paul and Cathy Middleton, serving in southern Africa.

31 December 2020

Welcome to Paul and Cathy's blog . . . . . please scroll down for new posts

Let us introduce ourselves.

Our names are Paul and Cathy Middleton.

That's us clinging to the top of an engine on one of the planes we used to fly.
You can find out about how we got to be where we are in the 'A short history of us' on the right (quite an interesting story if we say so ourselves).

This blog is basically a collection of the e-mail updates we have sent out since we joined Mercy Air in 2003, as well as some of the personal family activities we have got up to. Click on a year and read from bottom to top and it should give you a good idea of what we do.

01 July 2020

Proper Flying!

As you can see from previous posts, we have been very busy with food drops in the local communities - 5000km, 55 tonnes of food and 16000 people helped to date!

As lockdown eases we are slowly being allowed the chance to do more and more flying - although under strictly controlled conditions. The last few weeks we have done a number of  'maintenance' flights as planes do suffer if they are left unused on the ground for any amount of time.

This was us last Friday test flying the new autopilot - and combining it with some training to maintain our currency.
This last week we were asked at short notice to fly someone to Johannesburg so, after a few days of permit paper chasing, I got to go proper flying today!

This time of year the weather is generally calm and stable, and today the weather listened to the forecast. Pretty nippy though at 10000'!
Routing overhead Jhb Int...

..To descend over downtown Jhb
While the passenger spent time in Jo'burg, I had time to look around a very interesting and usually busy Rand airport that is itself just waking up from lockdown.

I found the home of Mercy Air's old Beech 18 still sporting replica Amelia Earhart colours after it was used in the Hollywood film Amelia.
Our old Beech 18 with a DC3 peering over its wing

A Harvard

An interesting Russian offering

After landing back at Mercy Air - still attempting to comply!
The fact that we were allowed to even cross a provincial boundary today was a great leap forward, and shows us that we could possibly continue with some of the internal mission flights we were doing for MAF, where we would take eye cataract surgery teams/dentists/women's health teams etc up to Limpopo.

We will certainly be persuing the possibility.

In the mean time, we haven't stopped doing this..

Thank you.

Paul and Cathy.

18 June 2020

Zwelisha Food Drop

A few quick photos from today's food drop to Zwelisha. This was done in collaboration with Sinani, an organisation working mainly with orphaned kids in the Kabokweni area near Nelspruit.

We loaded 400kg of maize, 180 kg of tomatoes, and 64 of avocados before driving to Indigo Farm to collect 200 bags of oranges and meet the other half of the team from Sinani.
Loading at Indigo Farm
We then drove together to Zwelisha to deliver the food to the primary school.

Many hands make light work

1450kg delivered between the two vehicles

A short rest before driving back

Thank you

Paul and Cathy

08 June 2020

Masoyo Food Drop III

Cathy and I visited Masoyi for the third time to deliver 500kg of food to needy community members identified by one of our Mercy Air hospitality workers.

Cathy saying hello the elbow bump way.
Cathy and Petunia, the lady who organised the delivery



Grateful recipients
Thank you

Paul and Cathy

01 June 2020

Masoyi Food Drop II

After first visiting three weeks ago (9 May 20), Paul did a follow up food drop to a community about 40km away. A donor had bought 560kg of maize and asked Mercy Air to collect and then deliver it to the Masoyi Home Based Care centre near Numbi.
The ladies again very grateful...
..and eager to help with the unloading.

Thank you

Paul and Cathy

29 May 2020

Kabokweni/Msholozi Food Delivery

An interesting combination on a recent food drop - chickens and oranges.

Two local farms had generously donated items that we delivered at the same time.

First I had to pick the oranges up from the orchard pack house.

Then I met Chris from Sinani who had collected 200 chickens from a town in the next valley.
We then drove to a community run old age home, a disability centre and a township youth project to deliver the items.
The old age home worker with the chickens safely in her shed.

Two of the youth group with some of the 110 bags of oranges we delivered.
Thanks you

Paul and Cathy

26 May 2020

Masoyi Food Drop II

Yesterday, Cathy and I did a return food delivery to a community where one of our farm workers lives. We were there two weeks ago and took 400kg of maize and food to families she had identified as being in particular need.

The maize we took a fortnight ago was enough to last a month, but the food needed replenishing.
While we were there we got to know some of the recipients. This was Colin, his father had died earlier this year and he is now looking after three siblings and his mentally ill mother on his own.
This lady usually sells snacks to passers by on the street but does not have a permit to work during the lock down. She was grateful to receive a food parcel for her family.
This guy couldn't wait to get stuck into an orange, he is unable to work and had no food in his house.
A mother and her daughter had waited patiently for their food box.
When we returned to Mercy Air we got busy with packing food boxes for the following days deliveries.

We also noticed that our name, or at least our tag line, seem to have changed for the time being.
Thank you

Paul and Cathy

11 May 2020

Food Delivery

Cathy and I did a food delivery run this morning in a community about 25km away.

We asked Petunia, another one of Mercy Air's local staff, to identify the most needy people in her community and then set about obtaining, packing and delivering the supplies to them.

We have been working with Pick n' Pay, a national South African supermarket to obtain some of the supplies...
..and then combining what they bring with other essentials to make up 'food boxes' that should last a family up to two weeks.

As the Mercy Air vehicles were already out on other deliveries, Cathy and I loaded and drove our car to meet Petunia, and then into her community. We asked Petunia what the need was like and apparently one lady said that even if she 'only got a bag of salt, she would be grateful'!

It's amazing what you can get into a Nissan Qashqui...
..almost 400kg and three adults!

After some heartfelt words of thanks, the people left with their food box and bag of maize meal.
Thank you,

Paul and Cathy