Saturday, November 19, 2022

Exit Stage Right?!?

 Another 1st! International Operations to Congo-Brazzaville!

For many years, the team at the "HELP" hospital in Impfondo, Rep. of Congo, have been praying for an established mission aviation service. Since our program is pretty busy, here in Gabon, the best we can do is an occasional trip to lend a hand.  However, we have never tried a flight there... until now!

The Route:
Lebamba (Bongolo base) to Franceville (checking out of Gabon) to Ollombo (red dot on map; checking into Congo-Brazza) then to Impfondo,
where Hopital Evangelique Le Pioneer is located.

We don't have many flights to the "RIGHT SIDE" (East) of Gabon... and have NEVER exited the country this way!  Here's a picture of the "Bateke Plateau" that sits in Eastern Gabon and stretches into Congo.

Here's the moment we crossed the border for the 1st time to Congo!
This is our GPS giving us a birdseye view- the white curvy line is the border. 
The magenta line is our flight path.

Fabulous Weather and a 2 mile long runway welcomed us to Ollombo!
The airport personnel were very helpful and the HELP logistics support
staffer, mister Honore', was there to help with all the formalities.

After refueling, I loaded up some cargo for the hospital and one of their new staff, 
mister Tim, for the 1.8 hour flight to Impfondo

As you can see by the video, this last leg features a few rivers and a whole lot of marshlands and marshy forests!

Again, at the Impfondo airport, there were many helpful hands and the team leaders, 
Dr. Joe and Rebecca Harvey, welcomed me to their hospital campus,
just a 10 minute drive away.

In the morning, we were back to the airport, transporting a patient, 2 short-term medical visitors, and a staffer back to Ollombo where they would transfer to a 5 hour ground transport to complete their voyage to Brazzaville later in the day.

A last minute bandage dressing change for the patient.

Happy Passengers!  This one leg of the trip would normally be 2-3 days by ground... 
The flight is just 1.8 hours!  

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