Hundreds of mothers crowded in a line leading into a small room where a Tanzanian nurse and I sat to fill out paperwork (in Swahili) before these women and their children could be seen by the nurses and doctors.
Sweat poured down their faces as they held their babies under the harsh sun, waiting for hours before it was their turn. They had already travelled far across the dusty bushland of Tanzania to get here.
Flies buzzed around the babies' faces attempting to drink the moisture around their eyes and mouth. As sad as this is, they are used to it. The dust, the dry seasons, the hard manual labour, and the struggle to survive and raise a family. Life is harsh in the remote villages.
A month later we were scheduled for another clinic in Gorimba. I looked forward to my second visit - to help the nurses, interact with the children, and talk with the Tanzanian evangelist hosting the clinic.
But then the unexpected happened. The evening before the scheduled clinic we had a flat front tyre in the remote village of Endanyawish. Upon further inspection it was found that the valve had broken off.
My eager anticipation of revisiting Gorimba was shattered and replaced with another emotion. A sense of failure. Something so simple as a broken valve would cost us a six-hour ride through the night back to Haydom with eleven people stuffed inside a Land Cruiser.
Additionally, we would have to send another pilot to retrieve a new wheel and mechanic in Dodoma where our maintenance facility was based. Six flight hours and one whole day down the drain.
More importantly the outreach clinic to Gorimba had to be cancelled. With no means of being contacted, the women and children would make the long trek through the bush to arrive for the clinic.
Pregnant women and those carrying children, will have got up at 2am to begin their tedious six-hour walk to make it in time.
Today, all these women and children would arrive only to be disappointed. We were not coming this time and, due to scheduling, would not be able to return for another month.
Disappointment seems to regularly visit these people. Not quite ten years ago, over 10% of children did not live to reach the age of five and 18% of women died during childbirth. Such needless loss!
Thanks to the work of so many, this is slowly changing. I guess in this way we are not failing.
I am part of a team of nine people from all over the world - Tanzania, England, South Africa, Finland, and America. We have left our families and the countries we love to serve God and the people of these remote villages. Why? Because we care.
Because we care
The needless death of a child or of a mother in childbirth is not acceptable and cannot be ignored. If we do not serve, then who will?
If only in a small way, I need to bring God’s love and show them that we care despite the desperate situations.
So much of this world is broken, but the love of God goes beyond brokenness. Even beyond a broken tyre valve.
Are you called to serve with MAF? If Jacob has inspired you to think about how you can make a difference, why not check out our jobs page for opportunities in the UK and overseas?
'I am part of a team of nine people from all over the world who have left our families to serve God and the people of these remote villages - because we care!' Jacob Geyman