Ambulances, Finally – Part 1

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If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know we’ve been working hard to raise enough money to buy two motorbike ambulances for our charity, Nema. We’re delighted to announce that not only has our target been met, we’ve finally gotten through the mountain of paperwork to get the ambulances over to Guludo. We recently received this update from our charity manager Lisa who has been overseeing the many projects in the area…

It was my lovely predecessor, Marieke, who started off the process of buying the motorbike ambulances.  Now we have 2.

Last week 3 women gave birth on the road on the way to the hospital.  That’s not good.  We would not accept it in the “west”, why should ladies here have to go through that pain, risk and indignity?  They shouldn’t.

As well as pregnant women we have our fair share of accidents, emergencies, grave sicknesses and old people here too, many of whom are too weak to walk to the hospital, up to 20km away.  And back again the same day of course.

So, awesome idea, ambulances…

motorbike ambulance 1

Enter E-ranger, maker of ambulances; easy, right? Buy, import, support – oh no, not so easy!

Enter alfandiga (customs), bureaucracy, processes, money, more bureaucracy and some jobsworths in the middle. That was fun. With a little help from our friends the ambulances finally arrived at Guludo last week, 5 months after they were paid for with some obligatory comedy (the boat came to Mozambique from Durban via the Canary Islands if the original bill of loading was to be believed, we think they just came on a different boat but I was somewhat surprised when trying to track the boat to see it docking in Grand Canaria!) and some very obligatory bureaucratic moments.

motorbike ambulance 2
After a bit of fiddling by a mechanic in Pemba, the bikes ran nicely and were loaded onto a big truck for their Passage to Guludo.
Arranged with the help of another of my lovely predecessors, neither of us could look as the ambulances were manhandled onto the truck. She’s fortunate not to see how they came off at the other end…

motorbike ambulance 3

So, here they are, potentially lifesaving pieces of equipment. We’ve tested them out with the team as drivers and patients and they go along the roads pretty well, it’s actually quite impressive, once Manuel got the hang of driving anyway: it’s not good to do something so publically, so badly, but the circles that he made to start off with proved the turning circle of the bikes is good!

motorbike ambulance 4

Still to properly introduce them to the community, tomorrow: driver tests, more to come on that.

We’ve committed to supporting them for 2 years, including fuel and drivers, and we think this is a great intervention that will greatly enhance the potential to reach medical care in a reasonable timeframe and save lives.

Of course, the budget has already been exceeded (TIA) due to our favourite alfandigas. If anyone has a little change in their pocket and feels that it could help us in this endeavour please donate through our website: or text NEMA to 70660 to donate £5. A huge thank you to everyone who has already donated – without you we wouldn’t have been able to do all the wonderful things we have accomplished so far in Mozambique.

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