A typical day for the pilots here at Flying Mission Zambia…
It’s …Wednesday… and the schedule in the Flying Mission Office reads: FLCG-ABFA-FLCH-ABFA-FLCH-ABFA. Rick Rempel is assigned to do the flight from Chilongolo (FLCG), Flying Mission’s base near Lusaka, to Macha (ABFA) which is home to the ‘Brethren in Christ’ Mission Hospital. Macha is located in the bush a 5 hour drive from Lusaka and is a regular destination for Flying Mission planes.
When Rick arrives at Macha, (ABFA stands for: All Blessings From Above), he meets one of his passengers, Mrs Sakala, who is a teacher at the Christian School. She needs to visit the Ministry of Education Department in Choma on school business. She wants to take another lady with her. There are 2 other passengers waiting to take advantage of the 15-minute flight and so avoid the one and a half hour drive down the rough, untarred road! And so the plane leaves ‘Macha International Airport’ – that’s the container you see in the picture, complete with HF radio and with plans for a coffee pot in the future!
Upon arrival in Choma, the ladies disembark and head for town. The third passenger also has business in town. His assignment relates to the Linknet Project which Gertjan Van Stam is pioneering. (The aim of this project is to provide satellite internet communications for rural communities and Health Centres throughout Zambia.) The fourth passenger goes to find the Zesco (Zambia Power Company) workers who should be flying back with him. After Rick waits one and a half hours they arrive and the plane can leave for the return flight to Macha.
By now it is lunch time. Rick takes his meal in the’Restaurant’ at Macha. It is part of the Community Centre which also includes the Internet Cafe, the Radio Station, Book Store, Gift shop, and Community Hall, all of which Gertjan has developed for the benefit of local people.
Whilst Gertjan is busy with his agenda, his wife, Janneke, works in the Malaria Research Institute (M.I.A.M), also at Macha. Malaria is still the biggest killer in Africa.
The Zesco employees have by now completed their site evaluation for the placement of the power lines which will feed the new school building. They return to the airfield, a broad strip cleared from the bush by local people. Rick takes the Zesco guys back to Choma, picks up the 3 original passengers, who have by now completed their business in town, and returns with them to Macha by sundown. They are just in time to enjoy a birthday party which local folk have arranged for the Van Stams. …
The Mission Hospital recently celebrated its centenary alongside the official opening of the new Community Centre. The Vice President of Zambia attended the festivities. Flying Mission is proud to share in the work of this and other organisations which are working so hard to share the love of God in Zambia in the 21st Century.