Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Of shaking the tin and flying around the world (amongst other things)

There’s a saying in missionary circles that “faith without hints is dead.” (Actually, it’s just a saying that I use often because I think it’s awfully droll.)

I used to receive regular newsletters from several missionaries where all their news seemed directed to raise money. That’s one of the reasons I stopped blogging for a while. I just didn’t want to get onto the tin-shaking bandwagon here. That’s what Crowdfunding sites and Facebook are for. I really didn’t want you, my devoted, deluded handful of readers, to be forced into a guilt trip every time you saw one of my posts with its washed-out photos and sobbing between parentheses.

And so I took a break while one of my friends did the begging on my behalf. Of course, I also straight-out asked some of my friends for help too because, as much as I hate to admit it, I do need a semi-decent computer for the “work” I do and I’m too poor to afford one.  {sob.}

People from as far afield as Australia, Canada, South Africa (as well as here in Mada) were very generous, and I expect that I shall have a new “pewter” (as Joëlle calls it)  just in time for my next grand adventure in July.

“A new adventure?” you might be asking yourself and your cat incredulously. “But I thought you were already on a grand adventure in Madagascar!”

And you would be right. But then the other day (to cut a very labyrinthine story short) I got a call from Craig at Helimission here in Tana, who asked if I would be willing to fly up to Nepal to help out with relief work (after the series of earthquakes that hit their nation in April and May.)

I’ve had too weird a life to be surprised by questions like that, so I let him explain what my volunteering would entail.

The relief work is being carried out by Fishtail Air pilots in partnership with MAF (Mission Aviation Fellowship) and with assistance from Helimission, whom I will be representing. Fishtail was involved immediately after the earthquakes, evacuating injured climbers from Everest Base camp, as well as villagers who needed immediate medical help. But since then MAF has begun coordinating the relief efforts to remote areas with two of Fishtail’s Eurocopter AS350 “Ecureuil” helicopters.

This from MAF’s website on 7 June: “The MAF-Fishtail partnership has conducted more than 800 flights to 150 different communities in Nepal. They have helped 48 different aid groups, transported more than 1,100 relief workers, and delivered 131 metric tons of relief supplies.”

I will be working logistics – getting passengers onto flights, organising supplies and the packing of freight every day. Hopefully I’ll get to make a few flights into the mountains too. Up until now, MAF has been trying to rotate staff in and out on four-week shifts, which is where I come in. Hellimission will be sending me, Craig (who works full-time here at Helimission in Madagascar) and his wife as one of the final support crews. In fact, my stint will be closer to seven weeks, from early July to the end of August when they are envisioning tying up their side of the operation.

So, what qualifies me for this? Nothing really, except that I was available to go on short notice, I’m a quick learner and I’m not too terrified of new challenges, including working around and flying in helicopters. Over the next few weeks I will be spending time at Helimission here in town to learn some of the ropes, and for the rest I’ll learn on the ground in Kathmandu.

I leave you with pics I took on a flight north of Tana last week. Knowing me, there will be many more photos to follow, I’m sure!

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3 comments on “Of shaking the tin and flying around the world (amongst other things)

  1. jocelynr
    June 15, 2015

    “Labrinthine” – good word! 🙂 Stoked for you to go and to see your photos while you’re away. And of course, MAF is awesome. 🙂 Enjoy!!

  2. Geraldine
    June 17, 2015

    Stunning photos, Robin. I think this new adventure is SO exciting!

  3. There_Lot
    June 19, 2015

    Love the running photo..

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