Business, Finance & Economics

Patricia Mawuli: Ghana's High-Flying Woman

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Ghana's first female pilot Patricia Mawuli. (Photo: english.cntv.cn)

At age 23, Patricia Mawuli is among the youngest pilots in the west African nation of Ghana. And she's also the country's first female pilot. The best place to find Mawuli is at the Kpong Airfield, where she is an instructor at Ghana's Aviation and Technology Academy.

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And if this weren't unusual enough for a woman in rural Ghana, Mawuli is also an aircraft engineer. She teaches other young women from the Lake Volta region to build and fly ultra-light planes. It is a traditionally all-male occupation, but Mawuli believes women have unique qualities that enable them to be good pilots.

"Many people consider aviation to be very risky," Mawuli said. "In an environment where women are seen as the wives who should look after the family, I actually believe there is a reason why God made women to be the people who deliver to children, because women have more patience and are able to handle things in a much more fragile manner."

And Mawuli exercises that "fragile manner" in her volunteer work with Medicine on the Move. It's an organization that works together with the Aviation Academy to deliver medical services and health education to rural communities across Ghana.

Mawuli transports medical supplies and doctors all around the country, and she occasionally drops educational pamphlets over remote villages.

"For jobs like that I'm quite happy to jump into the plane and to take people and especially sometimes they do medicine advice like giving health programs on malaria, schistosomiasis, and things like that to the community," she said. "So they print it out and I can fly and drop it to the communities."

One of Mawuli's favorite places to fly is over nearby Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world at 3,000 square miles.

"You can see some communities that are farming or fishing, and they are actually a bit isolated," she said. "And so flying overhead seeing how hardworking they are lets me appreciate much more what my people can do."

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