Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Peruvians with purpose

On the evening of April 2nd, there was a minor crisis in Contamana, a small town in northeastern Peru. A 31-year-old woman had delivered her baby at the local medical center. Complications arose and mother and newborn needed to be transported to a better-equipped hospital. Doctors arranged to have her, the baby, and a 17-year-old male patient suffering from possible leptospirosis evacuated 79 mi (128km) away to a facility in Pucallpa by light aircraft. Although they had authorization to take off, operations at the Contamana airport had ceased for the day and the runway was unlit. A local radio station broadcast an appeal asking the drivers of motorcycle and motorcycle taxis (EXAMPLE IN THE IMAGE ABOVE) to go to the aerodrome to light up the 800m landing strip. Minutes later, 300 drivers complied and lit up the runway to the applause of bystanders. Later reports indicated that the young man died of his illness, but the cooperation among civilians in an age when too much news is bad did not go unnoticed around the world. "We have always been people with a heart," said Adolfo Lobo, the radio presenter who put out the call for help.

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