On Thursday, the 23rd of May, the Twin Otter P2-MFT did a charter flight from Mt Hagen to Mougulu to transport a sawmill and food care packages to the community there.

Also on board were Mandy Glass, MAF PNG’s Communications Officer, and Laura Meeks, daughter of our Engineering Manager.

Part 1 of this story is a personal account of the flight by Laura Meeks; part 2 provides more background information on how this charter flight is going to meet earthquake and rehabilitation needs for the people at Mougulu and the surrounded area.

 

Part 1: My Mougulu Adventure

Story Laura Meeks. Photos Laura Meeks (LM) and Mandy Glass (MG)

 

My name is Laura Meeks, and I am what most people would call a Mission Kid, and I had the amazing chance to fly to Mougulu with one of the Twin Otters.

Laura Meeks observing the loading of the Twin Otter from a distance (MG)

 

I waited at the Kagamuga Airport as the pilots and ground staff loaded the Twin Otter P2-MFT with materials for a sawmill delivered to a village that was damaged in the recent earthquakes. Our destination: Mougulu.

 

Loading the sawmill (MG)

 

The true question was would I be embarking on this adventure solo or would our MAF journalist and photographer Mandy Glass be joining me as planned?

Mandy Glass taking photos from the loading process in the cabin (LM)

 

The sawmill barely left enough room for three passengers, but we weren’t sure if it would leave enough room for even two.

It turned out that they just had enough room for both of us, and that heightened the already huge excitement I felt. Going without Mandy would be a big thing for me, barely leaving my compound more than once a week, and even then usually with a huge group of family and friends.

 

I got to wear a headset and listen to the radio communications between the pilots, Jason Marsh and Sebastian Kurz. Looking out my window Mr Marsh showed me Mt Giluwe, laying like a blanket dropped on the ground in folds.

Laura Meeks taking notes during the flight to Mougulu (MG)

 

Our 45-minute flight was accompanied by another passenger, a lady working for an NGO, who was also bringing care packages for the people.

The sawmill and food bags secured under the cargo net giving just enough space for the seat for the staff member from Care International (MG)

 

On arrival, we were welcomed warmly and Mandy and I were given beautiful flower necklaces and bilums with flowers stuck in them.

Laura receiving a handmade bilum by delegates from the Bible School (MG)

 

Mandy interviewed a few people, a Bible School student, the pastor and the one in charge of the care packages.

I noticed a lot of people looked really hungry and malnourished. I was ready to start laughing when the Bible School student thanked Mandy for volleyballs and nets! But then I thought it’s good that they can have fun even though they have been through such a tragedy with the earthquakes destroying their food gardens and shaking up their whole lives. Still, the people were all so happy and you could hear them laughing at each other.

When Mr Marsh lifted a little boy into the cockpit all the kids were laughing at him and smiling.

 

Jason Marsh giving one boy the opportunity to sit in the pilot’s seat (MG)

 

The people said that they were going to use the sawmill to cut timber for a new high school and distribute the food to the pregnant mothers and little children. That’s really important because those kids are their future, and if it’s possible for them to get a full education then they should get that chance.

Unloading the Twin Otter at Mougulu (MG)

 

For my first trip to a remote village, it was pretty good. I must admit though, I was a little sad that we didn’t get to see the full village and I did miss a few good shots with the camera, but Mandy was right in there, asking questions, getting background information and taking photos.

I guess it’s all in a days work for her.