Thursday, December 4, 2008

Adventures in the jungle

A lot has happened since I left Santa Cruz Bolivia and flew up to the northeastern corner where GMI has their school in Guayaramerin. These pictures are taken at the village of Ingave, about 100 air miles from Guayaramerin. Dr. Kim and I went flying with the director of the school here to get acclimated to the flying conditions and oportunities and to see if there were places where Dr. Kim could provide dental care and possibly medivac services in the future. We landed at this community and the people were very welcoming and eager for us to come back. They are about a three day boat trip from the closest town and the only medical service is the ADRA boat launch that comes every three months. A week later, on Thanksgiving day we were back in force with a medical team and a dental team. The weather was bad but we made two trips with the 182 to bring everyone in. By the time the generator was working and Dr. Kim got to work on people`s teeth it was getting close to the time when the first trip back would have to leave. Rather than cut things off short the medical team choose to stay the night so there would only be one trip back. Dr. Kim went out and picked them up the next morning only to find that a father had walked 6 hours from a nearby village to bring his baby son to the airplane. The baby was running a very high fever and nearly dead. The nurse got the fever down a little and they flew the two of them out to Riberalta where there is a hospital of sorts. The nurse and her family went to visit a couple days later and the boy was doing much better. On the flying end of things the airplane has been performing great. All the airstrips here are built for the Cessna 206 so the 182 handles them fine. This particular one is about 500 meters but about 200 of that is overgrown and narrow so we are using the approximately 1000ft that are left. Even with a full load the 182 has no problem getting in and out provided the approach is made at less than 70mph. Dr. Kim has flown a 182RG a bit and he is shocked at the way this 182 performs, he is sure that his does not perform the same and maybe it doesn`t but I`m willing to bet he uses much faster speeds for approach and climb out than we are using here. I have to say I am impressed too. The 182 seems like a well balanced machine, using about the same runway for takeoff and landing.
We also went into several other comminities, one with a beautiful strip 600meters long and on the crest of the hill, and another quite marginal uphill, washed out, narrow and short. We decided to focus our efforts on Ingave and learn what we can offer these villages using this one as a model. Some are simply logging camps, some are fairly well provided for except medical services and some have very little. Most have an HF radio so medivacs are a possibility.
Dr. Kim has gone back to the states to sell his practice but we have plans to go back to Ingave the second week in December with the medical team and do some more work.

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