An African for Africa

An African for Africa

Chad Country Director Sam Baguma climbs into the Cessna Caravan next to Canadian pilot Phil Henderson on a flight that will transform lives.

The weather is clear with a surprisingly moderate temperature for today's flight with Dr Ann Fursdon, one of MAF’s long-time partners. 

Phil and Sam drink hot coffee from Phil’s thermos as the plane heads south and joke that they are sitting in 'First Class'.

Sam clearly enjoys this diversion from the office, offering his hand and a sincere smile to everyone he meets on the ground in Lai where the medical team will conduct their two-day clinics.

Sam prays with the team before wading through the mass of children, to re-board the plane for the flight back to the capital.

Developing and nurturing relationships with partners is critical for the Chad programme. For Sam this means getting out of the office and personally meeting them in the places they work.

Breaking new ground

Sam has broken new ground as the first Country Director from Africa, but each time the subject is broached, he smiles, brushes it off and somehow manages to down-play the significance.

'I feel that what I bring to MAF is what everybody else brings,' Sam says, recognising that God has given His people gifts to serve Him in any capacity.

'So to me, it is not about being an African. I feel that I'm able to do it because it’s God who has empowered me.'

'What we’re doing cannot be done by any one individual. Every single person has a contribution to make.'

A team behind him

Dieudonne, the MAF Chad Maintenance Assistant and Dispatch Officer is convinced that having an African manager is important.

'For a long time with MAF, for as long as I can remember, there’s always a white man as the countrr director. This is the first time an African has come to assist us here. It’s a good thing. He can understand more the problems of Africans. It’s the same thing with the other directors - they were very good - but it’s different with an African,' he explains.

Honore, the Flight Bookings Officer and 10-year veteran of MAF Chad, agrees. 'It’s a very good thing, because you try to know more about people and their needs, so it will make a change in the future.'

Honore, MAF Flight Bookings Officer in Chad

Unity and vision

Combining his Ugandan culture, UK education and work with the international community, Sam appears to move effortlessly among the wide variety of people he works and lives with on a daily basis.

'From a practical point of view,' Sam concedes, 'being an African in higher level management means that I can actually relate to both – I am an African and can relate to all the national staff. But I can also relate to the international staff because I'm at the same level.

'And to me that brings the opportunity to fully understand how to move everybody together as a team. That’s what matters. What we’re doing cannot be done by any one individual. Every single person has a contribution to make.'

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