Reconnecting Noru by Air
Mama Bird P2-MFT
MAF Papua New Guinea recently received this letter of appreciation, signed by Vitus and Helen Genai:
“MAF – SHARING GOD’S LOVE
It has been an emotional moment that Wednesday afternoon 13th June 2018. Most of our children under the age of 12 have never seen the Mama Bird P2 MFT before.
As the big bird glide gracefully to land of our strip at Noru to resume flights again, we stood alongside of the strip, laughter, smiles, shouts, and dance of joy be seen and felt everywhere! Some stood silent with tears rolling down their cheeks.
One old man shouted (“Now Mama ba karim sol na sop ikam“) “now mother will bring soap and salt“
After reception and talks, the mama bird took off again into the skies, we watch the big bird until it flew out of sight. A sight and experience never to be forgotten.
MAF – truly cares and sharing God’s Love. MAF FLYING FOR LIFE at its bests!
The Need for MAF to come back to Noru
In June this year, Telefomin based Twin Otter Captain Richie Axon spent a few weeks at Goroka helping to crew the Twin Otter there. He reports:
“A couple weeks before we went to Goroka to help out, our Flight Operations Manager, Brad Venter, told me that Adventist Aviation Services had landed at Noru and told him that it was in good condition. Brad had received requests for MAF to reopen it for our operations. In the past, Noru was known to be very draggy when wet. The community had not been very good at looking after their airstrip. Our Route and Aerodrome Guide states that we cannot operate there if there has been significant rain within the last three days. The week before we went to Goroka was very rainy and wet in that area so it obviously wasn’t going to work then. We and the people of Noru would have to wait.“
“The weather cleared by the middle of our second week in Goroka,“ continues Richie. “We were able to plan a flight there. We would only have on a light load and would not plan to take a full load out to give us some extra margin for the unknown. My first impression was how good the condition the airstrip looked, as we flew over. The rugged limestone karst ridges on either side make a very picturesque valley. After a careful inspection of the surface, I was satisfied that it was safe for operations and the landing went uneventfully.“
Glenys Watson, First Officer on this flight, continues: “As we circled over the airstrip to inspect it, we could see plenty of people were out waiting to see what would happen. From the air, it looked good. The grass was cut short, and the wind was light. We made an approach to land. As we came into land, people lined the side of the airstrip, and all were clapping and cheering. We stopped and shutdown at the top of the airstrip where the majority of the community had gathered. We were met by men with bows and arrows dancing around the plane. As we climbed out, again the community clapped and cheered and hung flowers around our necks. The joy was obvious!“
“We spent about 30 minutes walking the airstrip,“ Richie adds, “inspecting the surface and drains on either side, accompanied by a crowd the whole way. Overall, the airstrip was in good condition and I pointed out to the community what areas needed continued effort. Because of the very high rainfall and temperate climate,
the grass grows very fast. The biggest work for most communities with airstrips is to keep the drainage ditches at the sides clean and to keep the grass cut short.“
Glenys continues: “Back at the parking bay, the community sat down while two of the leaders gave speeches thanking us for coming and landing. Over the twelve years the airstrip has been closed, many of the community had left their coffee trees untended as there was no way apart from an arduous walk uphill to the next airstrip to get their coffee out. Now they will be inspired to again look after their coffee gardens. Richie spoke in reply, telling them God had not forgotten them, reminding them of the importance of keeping their airstrip in good condition, and shared with the people the vision and purpose of MAF; that we are here to show God’s love and see isolated people transformed physically and spiritually.“
“We were able to load four bags of coffee and some peanuts to take back to Goroka, including a bag of coffee for MAF in appreciation of our coming and reopening the airstrip to MAF’s operations. Over the next couple of weeks, we returned again twice, carrying in store goods, and out loads of coffee and peanuts and the second time a plane full of teachers to attend a teacher convention.“
Richie closes: “It was a blessing to be involved in reconnecting Noru by air.“
Story and Photographs: MAF Papua New Guinea