All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Medevacs Galore!

Not sure if it's because we're so short on pilots right now, or just because there's been an increase in accidents and sickness interior, but recently it seems like I've been doing a ton of medevacs.  Usually, the number of people that show up from the village to see the person off, is directly proportional to how critical his/her condition is.  This one was about average.

This poor fellow had a severe nose bleed that wouldn't stop for several days.  I won't go into all the gruesome details; the picture may already be more than you wanted to know.  But it got much worse during the flight.  I didn't know a nose bleed could be so serious, but he was definitely not in good shape...couldn't even walk on his own, having lost so much blood, and was barely conscious.

Recently there was an outbreak of measles in two small villages near the Malaysian border.  It was hitting almost everyone who lived there, and hitting them hard!  There's a really tiny, marginal strip about a 1 1/2 hour hike from the one village.  We flew a bunch of loads (2 or 3 people at a time b/c the strip is so marginal we can't even load the airplane half full) to Long Bawan for treatment, but eventually it became clear that it made more sense to fly the medical team into the village to treat the people on site. There were just too many!  Here's a picture from above.  It's surrounded by mountains on all sides.

Wednesday afternoon we got a call late in the day for a double medevac from Long Nawang.  In the past few years they've been pushing some roads through the rugged jungle down in that area for logging and whatnot.  They're all but impassible by anything but the most rugged 4x4s and heavy equipment.  And very slow and extremely dangerous!  There's often landslides and the roads are very steep and slippery.  But that doesn't stop folks from trying.  In this case, their truck went over the edge and rolled down about 75 feet to the bottom of a ravine.  When I got there, most of the village was waiting...indicative that this one was pretty serious.

For what they went through, they were fortunate to be alive.  Others have done this and not been so fortunate.  Still, they weren't in good shape.  Especially the one.  Multiple, complex fractures of legs, arms, and unknown internal injuries, plus head injuries.  It took about 40 minutes for me to configure the plane and load everyone up and then we were on our way.

This would have been a very difficult load for a 206.  Actually, impossible from that airstrip, because the 206 isn't capable of carrying that much weight from Long Nawang, not to mention the number of people (family) that accompanied the patients.  But the Kodiak handled it no problem.

An hour and ten minutes later we were landing in Tarakan where two ambulances were waiting.  We've got a great team here in Tarakan, mechanics, office personnel, logistics, etc.--and they are always ready to do whatever is needed to help.  I may be the one on the front lines, but without them, and YOU, none of this would be possible.  I'm thankful to play just a small part in showing the love of Jesus to the people we serve on the wings of MAF!

Thanks to Ben Eadie for seeing my camera sitting there and taking the initiative to snap the last two shots in this post.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What it Takes to Get a Family Photo!

Every few years we have to take a new family photo for a "prayer card" to send out to our ministry team.  Unfortunately, I missed the chance to have my good friend and awesome photographer, Tripp Flythe, take our picture before he left on home assignment a few months ago.  And time is short these days, as we're busy packing.  So I wound up taking the picture myself...which is easier said than done.

None of these are staged.  In some, I was checking lighting, or focusing, or the camera remote.  In others...well, I have no idea.  I just kept snapping away, and when we got back to the house we just laughed and laughed at the number of pictures where someone, or everyone, was looking away, or doing odd faces.  Each of these crops below is from a different picture, in the order they were taken, during out little 10 minute photo shoot as we raced the setting sun behind the MAF hangar.  Interestingly, the one shot we wound up using was the very last picture we took (and the very last one here on the post), but we had no idea that it was "the money shot" until we got home.  

And here's the one we used...the very last one we took!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Smiles and Tears

On Wednesday I was accompanied by the most beautiful co-pilot ever!  I was thrilled to have Joy ride along with me for a day in the Kodiak, but the real reason she came along was to have a chance to say goodbye to many of her friends interior.  

There were many smiles and much laughter as we shared stories and memories of various times our family has spent the night in these villages.  But there were also many tears.  In fact, Joy and I had a good laugh later, as we reviewed the pictures at home and saw that in seemingly 90% of them, she was bawling her eyes out.

But I think that's a good thing really.  Tough, but good.  It's indicative of the close and meaningful relationships that she/we have developed here with our friends interior.  And that makes it hard to say "goodbye."

These are friends and memories that we will always remember and cherish!

I only wish that we'd have had the time to go to each and every village that day.  But as it were, we only got into a few--in no small part because of the "heavy" weather that threatened to trap us overnight in the Krayan.

We're so thankful for the opportunity we've had to serve the wonderful folks of East Kalimantan, and we look forward to keeping up with them as best we can through our MAF  friends here who will continue to serve, and when possible through Facebook and e-mail.