So Mapendo has arrived safely to Goma. She was driven early this morning from Mutsora in the park to Beni airport, which takes about 90 minutes. (See here for map).
Then we hired a plane (with your donations) to take her to Goma.
This is the plane Mapendo flew in with Dr Eddy and Andre. This is not at Beni airport; I just happened to take the same plane in December. It is operated by Aviation Without Borders.
Jospin from MGVP picked up Andre, Dr Eddy and Mapendo on the tarmac. I waited with Dr Lucy and Dr Magda. We figured the less people on the tarmac the better. Goma airport is notorious for officialdom seeking to complicate matters for financial gain!
Dr Lucy, Dr Eddy, Andre, Jospin & Dr Magda - all relieved Mapendo arrived safely and with no hitches.
This is where Mapendo had to be for the flight and for the 5-minute drive from the airport to her new home at the DFGF(I) office, where she will be cared for not far from Ndeze and Ndakasi. This will considerably facilitate the work of Dr Lucy and her team.
She had to go in the crate (which had lots of air holes) simply because Andre was not sure how she would react to the car and air travel. Mapendo could end up harming herself. I am sure the pilot would not travel either with a loose gorilla in the plane. Animals often feel safer in a contained space, much like dogs and cats, when they travel. In addition, although Dr Jacques had done all the documentation, it is just easy if the aforementioned airport officials do not see anything in the crate. Better all round.
So Dr Lucy will blog in a couple days about how Mapendo is settling in - and what she thinks of her new home. And she will continue to blog about Mapendo’s care and progress.
We are organizing for forest food for Mapendo to be brought on a weekly basis from Mutsora. So we need to hire someone to collect it, then drive it the 90 minutes to Beni, then put it on a free flight to Goma, then pick it up in Goma to take to Mapendo. Dr Lucy tells me Mapendo will benefit enormously from proper forest food - ie not fruits from the market that have been contaminated by chemicals or humans. And with the security as it is round here, it is not possible right now to do this.
So thank you for your support. I know many of you have donated. Thank you. Monthly donations are also terrific - as it guarantees a certain income for Mapendo’s care. As I said yesterday these can be made on this blog or the Gorilla Doctors blog.
Thank you everyone for your kind words and encouragement. Samantha
Update at 7pm DR Congo time: My colleague Ephrem has just arrived in Goma. He was there when Mapendo was put on the plane this morning. He gave me these photos that I thought would interest you.
Andre checks on Mapendo when they get to Beni.
Arriving at the airport.
Figuring out how to get the crate on the plane.
Dr Eddy and Andre lift Mapendo into the plane.
Finally - ready for take off.