Jun 14

Ugg lilou

The drug would have to be flown from Kailahun, but there was no airfield there; the nearest was in a town called Foya. A few days earlier, a team from the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health had been attacked in Foya, and a ministry vehicle was burned; residents were fleeing the area. The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia asked Lisa Hensley to pick up the drug and arranged a helicopter for her.

The chopper was an old gray Russian Mi-8, flown by two Ukrainian pilots. A colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps accompanied her—to provide peace of mind, he told her. A heavy rain was falling, and Hensley and the colonel sat in the helicopter for hours on the tarmac. During those hours, in Kailahun, Humarr Khan died. Finally, during a break in the weather, the helicopter took off and headed north. Hensley, wearing ear protectors, sat buckled on a bench facing the colonel. She could see almost nothing out the window except moisture whipping across the glass, but now and then she caught a glimpse of a ridge covered in jungle slipping by below. She grew anxious, especially when the colonel remarked, “We’ve been flying in periods of zero visibility.”

She was a single mother, with a nine-year-old son she’d left back in Maryland, in the care of her parents. “If we don’t help, what message are we sending to our children?” she said to me one day. “Our children are going to inherit these problems, and people are dying. Part of the responsibility of a parent is to teach our children how to be responsible. We have to set the example for our staff, our families, and the patients in Africa.”Hensley dozed off, and when the chopper touched down in Foya she discovered that a plane from Samaritan’s Purse had already left with the drug. The helicopter flew back to Liberia.

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