With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 was a very busy year

2011 is making its way towards an ‘exit left’, whilst 2012 looms in the wings of the theatrical stage of life. 2011 made a good performance, slipped and nearly fell a couple of times, but gracefully put together a show without any major incidents that could not be recovered. Backstage, the performance of 2011 was supported by a larger than normal cast in the production of ‘Medicine on the Move 2011’, and it is clear that the 2012 cast and audience will grow dramatically. We are ever thankful to the ‘angel investors’ who have made 2011’s performance so solid, and together with others who have joined hands to ensure that 2012’s production will have more impact on more lives, in more auditoriums, than ever before.

Medicine on the Move, although filled with smiles, drama, adventure and laughter at times, is far from a pantomime, it is a serious dramatic production that reaches out, changing lives, literally, one flight at a time, in its 24/7 curtains up time. It is hard to measure the real impact of MoM’s activities, and we are often surprised at positive comments from individuals whom we have no idea that we have impacted on - both in the field and internationally. The recent coverage by the BBC and the exposure from Oshkosh, where Zenith Aircraft hosted the MoM team admirably, has totally changed perceptions about what and how we operate. It appears to all that this show, this life changing concert, is destined for a long production run, and is truly ‘on the road’ as well as in the air and on the water – poised to grab attention and change attitudes in ways never before imagined, even by the writers of the script that has made this evolving real life story what it is.

This year has been a year of surgical challenges with Lydia’s arm reconstruction surgery, phase one, and some ‘structural engineering’ needs for myself.

The year, inevitable with our conditions, has seen many vehicles and gensets breakdown, and some die beyond economic resuscitation. It has seen visitors from around the world all giving something, expecting nothing in return but gaining so much more than one can imagine. Our best ever Fly Me Day outranks the fact that we had to cancel the only air show in West Africa (an awareness event for MoM and light aviation), and we are learning from both experiences. It has seen a trip to Oshkosh that has resulted in hundreds of positive contacts, the soft launch of RPMP Productions documentary about MoM, ‘The Calling’, and nearly 16,000 on-line viewings of a video about ‘what we do’ on the AOPA site , as well as front page coverage on the WAI and 99s magazines - and coverage in many other magazines and on web-sites. We were thrilled to win a bid for support for the power systems and running ahead of our projections on the installation… Our first coverage in Australia is about to hit the stands too! 2011 has been a year with visits to our web-sites from every continent and we are always surprised at the ‘returning visits’ from some interesting places – not only in the coastal hills of California, but also in other developing nations where our lead is sought to be followed! 

On field practicalities were enhanced a thousand fold via a truck solution so kindly implemented by one particular flying family. Then there are the donations from so many ‘anonymous’ persons in cash, loans, extended credit agreements, driving folks around, airport transfers, in-kind and effort. EVERYBODY is important to us, and you are all a part of this journey, thank you, thank you for being a part of US –just by reading this, you are helping us to get the word out – the word is ‘it can be done – and we are doing it!’

The concept behind MoM is one of sustainability, and without the WAASPS clients and staff none of MoM’s activities are possible. This year we have had some wonderfully co-operative clients who have used their flying time and other aviation/engineering related needs in the interests of MoM and gained from it massively. This is the long term solution – the sustainability triangle – that thing that makes MoM different, makes WAASPS different and makes the AvTech Academy different – the concept that West Africans can build and train solutions for West Africans, by West Africans. And it is beginning to work.

MoM has also extended its network, become a National Player in the INSCI project and being a key start up partner in the ‘Partnership for Sustainable Disease Control’ (PSDC) – allowing us at least to have a meaningful sharing of the opportunities and solutions that is possible through the ETCHE principles, and MoM’s approach to reaching rural communities. This year we have proven beyond any doubt that ‘MoM has the ONLY practical, working solution to identification and servicing of needs in remote areas of Ghana’ – we knew it, but this year we have PROVED it. But that is, sadly, not enough – we now need to go on proving it day after day, struggle after struggle, obstacle after obstacle – changing lives and reaching new places, one flight at a time.

It has been a good year. It has not, however, been a year of achieving all that we had hoped for. We are still a long way from the 701 on floats and 801 flying and on floats and, it appears that, we will run out of support/funds before the roof goes onto the new multi-purpose education/accommodation/mini-clinic/office building that is now ‘out of the ground’. 

WAASPS is constantly planning new ways to make the MoM dream a sustainable reality, but without the ‘kick start’ from Angels (are you, dear reader, an Angel? If so, thank you!), it is going to be a very long road. In our opinion we need about $250,000 kick start and things will roll without the need for ‘constant appeals’ – for that is the aim, NOT to need to ask for funds. We do NOT want to FUND-RAISE, we want this whole operation, in time, to be ‘SELF-SUSTAINING’ – FUND-MAKING, using social-entrepreneurship to ensure sustainable humanitarian-aviation solutions. At the current rate of activity that target point is on a ramp-up period of about ten years. We want that reduced to less than 12 months and are thinking creatively out of the box in order to make that happen! We will always be able to use financial, equipment and other in-kind gifts as well as volunteers to boost the operations of MoM, but we need to MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE – and that needs to happen NOW, not keep on WISHING it to happen – we must, together MAKE it happen.

It is hard to keep on flying over community after community knowing that we are so limited in our ability to ‘just go and do’. But we do all that we can do, and some more. In 2012/2013 there will be a new catalyst in our mixture – two of them in fact. Michaela and Ben have decided to give the first two years of their married life to the rural people of Ghana, as volunteers on the field – and we are SOOOOO thrilled at that! This is the biggest practical gift anybody has ever given to the operations of MoM – and you will be hearing from Michaela and Ben a LOT in 2012.

Michaela will be the Country Director for MoM, developing and delivering programmes, and Ben will be providing more logistical and administrative support - our identified biggest weakness at this time! This will relieve others, including me, to do more in the realms of building capacity and expanding the stability base of fund-making – the long term solution to our funding dilemma!

One thing is certain, and that is the 2012 MoM production will have more action, more movement, more partnerships and more results that are tangible – for the foundations we, together with a cast of literally thousands, have laid, up to now, are the solid base of the stable, long term, symbiotically enabling solution that really will go on to change lives in many ways, one flight at a time…

Thank you for your continued support and encouragements into 2012 – may it be a safe and productive one for you and yours!
Do take some time to visit the new website, and perhaps the blogs too!!!


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