Landing for the fourth time – Reality sets in, again

Mission 4 Chapter 3

The Canadian Air Force is now overseeing our rides, and the lady in charge is Captain Van Kemp. She has been very nice, last week 2 of our pallets disappeared and we are not sure what happened. Captain Van kemp tried this week with Loune to find them but to no avail. Last week we had both the USAF and the Canadian Air Force moved some pallets and truthfully I can’t get upset, we have had little or no problems and hopefully they will turn up soon. This time we have landed much closer to the field, all the way down walking distance to where the Canadian Flag is blowing in the wind. There seems to be less activity at the airport. I hope the help is not slowing down.

We explain to Captain Van Kemp that we have medication that cannot sit in the sun and we really need to move it quickly. She assures us that it will be done quickly and efficiently.

Alphonse has arranged for a truck, there was some confusion at the beginning but quickly we figure it all out and we load all the Clinics items on their truck and it all fits. We then load all the medication (children’s anesthetic) onto the PIH truck. In the meantime Jude, Judith ,Loune, Lody and I go down the field where almost all the pallets have already been unloaded. Loune can easily see all the ONEXONE stickers on PIH pallets and this time there aren’t any mixes so it’s easier. Loune is ready and I tell her I will be back after we go to the clinic and unload. I am assuming that they will still be in full force. As I turn around I am hit by the vision of 3 coffins draped in Canadian flags, there are military personnel standing at attention and I take my hat off and say a little prayer, no matter how much we do and how time and life continue the scene reminds us poignantly that many lives were lost, and that we will be bringing Canadians back in coffins.

I ask Jude to come with us to the clinic; in all these trips he hasn’t left the airport, he wants to stay and help PIH move the goods so everything gets to them.

I could spend paragraphs upon paragraphs highlighting Jude’s greatness, suffice it to say his heart is as big as his spirit and I am so happy that I have met he, Duncan and Mary as well as all the other people who work for Air Canada that I have had the opportunity to meet on these missions of hope.

We all hop into the Van to go to the clinic. As we get to the gate to leave the airport, the loader is passing with the remains of the 3 Canadians. At that point someone in the van suggests we get out and stand at the side, at attention to show our respect. As we stand with hats in our hands and tears in our eyes we note the juxtaposition as the makeshift hearse makes its way beside the aid we have just deposited. We came down full of hope, we are leaving with 3 remains and the full understanding that the pain is deep and crosses all borders.

We board the van because we have more people to help. Bruce from GAP travel is with us, this is his first trip, he asks me if this is my 2nd trip, I raise 4 fingers, its seems surreal.

“Together we can save the World”


Joey Adler