Story by Annelie Edsmyr. Photos by Lungpinglak Domtta.
“This road trip really made me realize the importance and impact of having MAF flying in this country”, says Ping (Lungpinglak) Domtta, pilot in Timor-Leste.
Recently Ping volunteered to take a fuel drum from Dili to Suai airstrip. With the wet season approaching, backup fuel is stored in Suai in case of bad weather diversion. It needed to be transported by road so Ping loaded a truck with a drum of fuel to re-stock the fuel storage and hit the road. With the airplane it takes 30 minutes to fly to Suai, but by car it took almost 5 and a half hours.“This road trip really made me realize the importance and impact of having MAF flying in this country”, says Ping (Lungpinglak) Domtta, pilot in Timor-Leste.
“The first 30 minutes’ drive went through a road under construction with dust and I could hardly see if there was a car driving in the front. Then the next 3 hours were quite ok but then it got so hard again, and we could barely drive faster than 20-30 km/h”, he says.
The road was mountainous and the views beautiful with parts of the road by rivers.
During the rainy season the country is all green, but this time it was dry season and extremely hot. They arrived at Suai and spent the night at the airport lodge before they drove all the way back the following morning.
“When even me, being a healthy person, is struggling so much on the road, I can’t imagine the ambulance with someone that is sick on these roads. And when someone’s life is in danger, and they need to go to the capital hospital, it is really critical to bring them on an airplane. This trip was really a rewarding experience that made me reflect and appreciate the work that MAF is doing here even more”, Ping says.