'So, I have to go up in the plane today to take some aerial photos of the hospital. If the pilot is okay with it, would you like to come with me?' I asked B.
He looked up from his lesson on Record Keeping, Documentation and SOAP Notes . . . 'What did you say?' he asked, certain he did not hear me correctly.
'If the pilot agrees to it, would you like to go for a ride in the airplane?'
My assistant, B., smiles . . . a lot . . . but never quite as big as today!
There are so many things I've taken for granted in my life . . . running water . . . learning to read . . . flying in an airplane. All things most people I meet in Galmi have never experienced. So when the opportunity arose today to hop on a SIMAir Cessna and circle around Galmi to get some aerial shots, I didn't want to waste it.
I assured B. it wasn't a guarantee . . . but all morning he kept saying 'When we go up in the plane!!!' I'd remind him it wasn't a done-deal, but he'd simply reply smile and say 'Déborah, I have faith!'
When the first plane landed, Captain E. agreed that B. could join us, but we had to hurry, he wanted to get shots of the second plane coming in for a landing.
As B. climbed in, I told him there were two rules: if he got scared, he couldn't scream . . . and when we land, he's not allowed to change his profession--he's going to be a therapist, not a pilot!!
|B. getting ready for takeoff|
At one point, as we were circling over Galmi, I asked him if this morning when he got up he thought to himself 'I think I'll go flying today' . . . he laughed and said 'I never, ever, could have imagined I'd be doing this!!'
When we landed, I stuck around to snap a few shots of the two planes side-by-side in Galmi . . . I didn't realize, but B. had headed straight back to the hospital. I sent him a text message to find out where he had gone. 'I had to run and tell the whole world that you took me flying today!'
I'm pretty sure there's an object lesson in this somewhere!
|A small village northwest of Galmi. We desperately need rain.|
|The local middle school (three of the classrooms have 'thatched' roofs).|
|Cattle grazing . . . this would explain why they're so scrawny!|
|The second SIMAir plane circles to line up for a landing.|
|The SIM--Galmi compound . . . half hospital, half residence|
|The most current aerial shot of the hospital . . . the arrow points to the|
new Surgical Wing, and more specifically to the lower level which is home
to the therapy department. Just above the new wing is a slab of concrete
in between the hospital buildings which was poured last night. This is the
foundation of our new OB Ward. The lives of thousands of women and
babies are saved here each year . . . we're still lacking some of the
funding we need to finish the building. To support our work, give here.
|The hospital (left) and the whole village of Galmi.|
|Metal roofing is a sign of wealth around these parts.|
|The SIMAir fleet . . . a Nigerien asked me the other day if we widened|
the air strip would commercial airlines start flying into Galmi.
Hmm . . . just might do something to boost the tourism industry!