Sunday, 24 July 2011

Plumpey Nuts ......what a great name for a food - that truly saves lives

Plumpey Nuts what a great name for a food.....
"Ok I will take 9 boxes in pod B, 8 in Pod C and the other 45 in the cabin." Sweat tickles my nose as I do the 32nd twist and turn, great for the waste line but doubt I'll never be able to limbo dance again! Loading Plumpey Nuts in the Juba heat, the new Capitol of South Sudan is hard work but we soon have them on board and strapped down. 
The refuelling truck pulls up and I load on board 512 litres of Juba's best Jet A-1. Once the fuel is signed for I double check the weight and balance, as whilst the aircraft is full (not a kg more can it lift), it actually looks pretty empty with all the seats out, as the cargo I am transporting today is pretty dense. 

I am about to move about 5 tonnes of these boxes and other assorted medicines and supplies up to northern Southern Sudan for SCF over the next four days as well as pick up an AID Sudan team. The plumpey nuts (what a great name) in particular will save countless lives and make a real difference to many, particularly children in extremis.

I spot the airstrip 15 miles out, a khaki patch standing out as clear as a bell, against the sea of waving green, as despite the lack of rain, the grasslands look surprisingly lush from the air. First load in is to Waat over 200nm north of Juba, it is a new strip for me and as it is a freight flight, I bank hard over the black cotton soil airfield, getting a good look at the land below me. Boxes seldom complain about such manoevers, then line up on the centre of the airfield and pass very low over the somewhat rough surface in an effort to encourage the cattle wandering across it to 'push off.' Also gives me a chance to look out for any standing water or any other obvious hazards that might be there to trip me up but it has not rained for a few days so there is only one area about 200m long that I had best avoid.  The cattle amble off, noses in the air, somewhat irritated by this giant fly that has just zipped past their 'horn tops' at 110kts. Another couple of hard banks keeping the circuit really tight and I am lined up again on the field, to the right of where I guess the runways centre line should be, as best avoid the muddy areas that would definately ruin my day if I landed on them, a rattle of wheels as I apply reverse thrust and brake hard and my shoulders push against my harness. Scotty (5X-SCO) stops in no time and I taxi to the far end of where I think the runway ends!

Once on the deck, Save the Children's truck reverses up to the rear freight door and the straps securing the cargo are quickly whipped off as I have to do this again before the day is out, we get the cargo unloaded. I start passing the boxes out,  this beats any gym session. The Land Cruisers suspension groans under the load.

 Here I have Jim Le Huray my co-pilot resting for a while on the plumpey nuts on a later flight up to Akobo, now that is one 'rubbish' airstrip - not much fun when dryish, suspect it soon becomes unusable when wettish!
Plumpey nuts are  are in a distinctive red and white box each weighing 14.7kg, this is one load of 'peanut butter' that is going to a very good home .....

Wikapedia say  Plumpy’nut is frequently used as a treatment for emergency malnutrition cases. It helps with rapid weight gain, which can make the difference between life and death for a young child. The product is also easy for children to eat since they can feed themselves the soft paste. The fortified peanut butter-like paste contains a balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins (macronutrients), and vitamins and minerals (micronutrients). Peanuts contain mono-unsaturated fats, which are easy to digest. They are also very high in calories, which means that a child will get a lot of energy from just small amounts, important because malnutrition shrinks the stomach. They are rich in zinc and protein — both good for the immune system and to aid long bone growth in reversing stunted height, while protein is also needed for muscle development. Peanuts are also a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to convert food into energy.

1 comment:

  1. Bryan, Great Blog its good to know that the Plumpey nuts are getting through to those that most need them. Thank you and the teams that work with you for your role in saving these lives.