(More on Fidele from team mate Renee Valach)
Meet Fidele. He is in the photo with Missionary Pilot Steve Straw. Fidele had been one of the workers who cut the grass on the mission station until a heart problem stopped him from working. In February, I plan to accompany Fidele to a hospital in Kenya, where he can undergo surgery to fix his heart valve. He has small children, and his heart problem is serious so this is a wonderful opportunity for him. There are still a number of obstacles to over come before the surgery, including obtaining passport and exit visa from Libreville. Recently, Fidele flew up to Libreville for part of his passport application. This is his first trip in a plane and Steve explained the important safety issues like the seat belts.
There were a few local men standing near the plane, and while Steve spoke they clarified each thing. Steve pointed out the operation of the seat belt and door handle, and the men explained to Fidele that he must not open the door in flight. (One of the men had been on a flight in Africa, where a man had tried to open the door to relieve himself! I had never considered this possibility or thought to mention it specifically.) I am sure travel and surgery with Fidele will be an adventure. While I am in Kenya, I will also attend a continuing medical education conference which I am looking forward to.
(thanks for the additional story, Renee!)