The July medical and evangelistic safari to Dabia was particularly memorable for MAF Pilot Jarkko Korhonen. While the medical team did their usual baby and prenatal work, an Anglican pastor baptised six children.
One mother, impressed by the way Jarkko had led baptism and communion services in Dabia, decided to name her son after him. What a privilege! The nearest name to Jarkko familiar to Tanzanians is Jericho but, after some help with the spelling, the child’s full name officially became Jarkko Festo Laban.
Dabia is an isolated, rural village in the Kilimatinde region of Tanzania. In some ways progress is happening fast. The village is hurtling into the 21st century with its first Internet connection facilitated by a new radio tower. Now Jarkko can Facetime and WhatsApp his family in Finland from the bush!
Mobile networks connect people where there are no roads, yet Dabia has no electricity and only one solar panel on the village shop’s roof. The government’s strategy is to build a link tower in every village, although many don’t even have basic infrastructure and facilities. While mobile phone companies and business interests drive progress in telecommunications, MAF strives to facilitate medical and evangelistic outreach in the Kilimatinde region.
A new airstrip
Life is difficult in Dabia, but the monthly mobile clinics that MAF enables are making a real difference – reaching villagers where there are neither roads nor medical services.
Some mothers walk a very long way to attend, so MAF plans to build a new airstrip nearer the surrounding villages. An extra medical team could then be flown in, greatly increasing the impact of the Kilimatinde outreach.
The legacy of Jarkko’s work with MAF will live on in Dabia in a remarkable way. But the naming of Jarkko Festo Laban also reminds us that we too take our name from someone special. As followers of Christ, may we continue sharing God’s love with others, enabling them to share in the inheritance that God has prepared for all who trust in Him. The provision of medical and spiritual care in Tanzania provides a stark contrast to the rapid growth of digital technology.
Story by Jarkko Korhonen and Amelia Combrink
Photos by Jarkko Korhonen