31 December 2019

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.

13 March 2019

YWAM Marromeu Mozambique

Recently Paul flew a joint team up to Mozambique and spent eight days working at the YWAM base in Nensa on the banks of the Zambezi River. Half of them worked in the primary school and the others, including Paul, helped with many maintenance issues on the site.

The weather was extremely hot and humid with temperatures only just dipping below 30 deg at night.

Here's a quick pictorial resume of what we did:

The team just before we set off from Mercy Air.

Beautiful weather on the way up.
Landing in Marromeu five hours later - if you drove it would take at least three days.

We used to land on a strip shared by people, cows and cars right in the middle of town. Now we have the use of a strip in the middle of a sugar plantation. - bust still 30 km and 2 hrs drive to where we were staying.
There was even an open hangar we could park the plane in.
 The schools team worked with the teachers in a school that YWAM had established a few years ago.

Plenty of games...
..and fun...
..and some environmental education.
Getting creative with some building blocks we had taken up.

 One day it rained - hard...
 ..but that was an ideal opportunity to collect some clean water.
 The kids are fed a simple meal - and seem very grateful.

One day we had to get some petrol for the chain saw. Turns out this was the petrol station.
On Saturday they had a leaving do for one of the American girls who had worked there for a good few years.

There was a goat...
 ..that got transformed into a meal...
  There were some speeches...
.. and a present.
On Sunday there was African bush church - note the roof design that allows heat to escape...
..and the gaps at the top of the walls that serve the same purpose.
On the maintenance side there was plenty to do.

As there is no mains electricity they have solar power installed, but for various reasons this was in a poor state of repair...
.. and almost everything required some attention.

Then there was a 100m long trench to be dug in the sun (at first) and then the rain, with busy ants constantly biting your ankles and legs.
Sitting under the tap only marginally helped with cooling off.
There were plenty of plumbing jobs also.
We visited the school to fix a number of solar and plumbing issues also.
Showing video footage of the kids back to them - they get so excited
We found a Barn Owl living in our roof
He was obviously keen to leave but failed to find the window we left open for him.
Eventually we caught him and manually delivered him to his natural habitat.
 There was also a spider that didn't seem to understand the art of camouflage!
 On one of the last days we drove into Marromeu to try and mend a 1 ton truck that had broken down and had been standing for a while.
Car battery as well as three others in parallel to crank it enough to splutter into life
We managed to get it going for about 5 seconds but it was making very expensive noises and eventually we thought it best to leave it.

As it had rained hard for two days before we left, the drive to the airstrip wasn't uneventful.

..and some assistance was required for thew final stretch to the hangar.
But eventually we made it.
 Other than that the journey home was pleasant and there were some interesting views of the coastal areas on the way.
Unpacking at Mercy Air
As I write this - a couple of weeks after the trip, the area we were in is now recovering from Cyclone Idai. Our helicopter is currently in the area with plans for the second one to fly up soon. The Kodiak will also likely be going up to help with the relief efforts. More from that when we get details.

Thank you

Paul and Cathy

29 January 2019

Flying For Life - Limpopo

Last week we did another flight to Limpopo in support of the Mission Aviation Fellowship's 'Flying For Life' project.

Another, pre-dawn start to get to Johannesburg to pick up the rest of the team up at 06:30.

Quite green on the Highveld whilst flying up to Tshikondeni in Limpopo.
Circling overhead and then landing at Tshikondeni. The strip is quite remote - which is one of the reasons we go in a plane in the first place.

The team being met at Tsghikondeni.
After meeting the officials at the local Tribal Council Offices we continued with visits to a primary school we have worked with for a number of years now.

Greeting some of the kids who seemed excited to see us.
The school kitchen...
..and what's likely on the menu!
Then on to the Disability Centre.
Recently part of the roof over the kitchen had been blown off in a storm.
There were also visits to the local clinic and a number of informal meetings before it was time to return.

It had got quite toasty at the airstrip by the time we got back to the plane.

Because of the time of year and the longer daylight hours, we were able to just fly back in the light.
Thank you

Paul and Cathy