HealthHigh FliersMedevac

MAF flies NI missionary Maud Kells OBE back ‘home’ to Congo

9th December 2015

On 4 December 2015, MAF had the honour of flying Maud Kells OBE back to the village of Mulita, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where she was the victim of a shooting attack in January 2015.

Less than a year after MAF’s medevac that saved her life, she returned to a joyful celebration. Hundreds of people gathered at the small grass airstrip to greet Maud as she stepped off the plane. A brass band played while the crowd waved and cheered her arrival.

‘Great excitement!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s really nice to see them again… they’re always very welcoming.’

Maud Kells welcomes in Mulita in DRC after arriving on an MAF plane. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

After exchanging greetings with local village and church leaders, Maud and MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson were escorted through the village in a celebration parade. The procession ended at a makeshift amphitheatre where a ceremony of singing, dancing, and preaching was held in Maud’s honour.

‘The whole community was there,’ Dave said. ‘I think we got a slice of the appreciation, the love, and the concern that the people had for her, and the joy of having her back again.’

After the ceremony, Maud returned to the airstrip to help unload the plane full of medical supplies and gifts she brought with her to Mulita. ‘I brought quite a lot of stuff out from home…baby clothes, supplies…literally, everything under the sun.’

Maud Kells unloads supplies and gifts from the MAF plane at Mulita, DRC. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

Maud is a WEC International missionary who has served in the DRC since 1968. In Mulita she has helped build a primary school and hospital, trained staff and taught at the local Bible school.

‘During the years, I could never have continued the work at Mulita without MAF – I couldn’t have done any of it.’

Maud Kells welcomed in Mulita in DRC after arriving on an MAF plane. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

On this trip to Mulita, Maud will finish the nursery that she started building before the shooting.

On the night of January 4, 2015, Maud was summoned from her house in Mulita to the hospital. When she returned home, she was confronted by two masked bandits, one of whom pointed a gun at her. Not realising it was real, Maud reached to grab the weapon, and was shot in the chest. ‘I yelled at the top of my voice.’

Eventually help came and Maud’s condition stabilised. However, there was no means of communication available in Mulita. Someone would have to travel through the night to the nearest town, 30 miles away.

The next morning, MAF received a call requesting a medevac for Maud. ‘We were really upset when we heard that she was shot,’ MAF pilot Jon Cadd said. ‘The whole team just jumped into action.’

Maud Kells with MAF pilot Dave Jacobsson. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes

MAF staff quickly contacted local doctors and rearranged the day’s flight schedule, A few hours later, Jon landed in Mulita with medical personnel on board and was able to medevac Maud to MAF’s base in Nyankunde.

After receiving treatment in the Nyankunde Mission Hospital, Maud spent a week recuperating in the home of Jon and Cher Cadd:

‘So much of the healing process was down to MAF caring for me, loving me, and just being so kind and hospitable. I probably wouldn’t have survived without MAF.’
Maud Kells OBE

Maud Kells with MAF's Kelly Hewes on her flight back to Mulita, DRC. Photo by Mark & Kelly Hewes