MAF brings help to the isolated Rufiji Delta

MAF brings help to the isolated Rufiji Delta

Tanzania's Rufiji Delta is so isolated, many parts cannot be reached by road. MAF Pilot Jarkko Korhonen helps YWAM bring physical help and spiritual hope to the remote villages.

Tomorrow is the medical safari, I stay overnight in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest and richest city. With air conditioning, a fan, decent food and no noise coming through my earplugs, I sleep really well. I detected and duly ‘dispatched’ only one mosquito.

In the morning, after the preflight checks, I loaded the Cessna 206 with mosquito nets and lots of medicine. It's really hot, about 35C, and the humidity is awful. I have to drink at least 5 litres of water during the day to survive.

At the terminal, I help the 3 members of YWAM's medical and evangelistic team on to the plane. We leave from Dar’s big international airport and fly 120 miles south to another world - the Rufiji delta.

Aerial view of the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania -MAF

The Rufiji River forms where the Kilombero and Luwegu rivers merge, and is approximately 370 miles long before feeding into the Indian Ocean. The delta has the largest mangrove forest in East Africa. There are a number of ethnic groups in the area, including the Wandengereko, Wanyagatwa, Wamatumbi, Wapogoro and the Wangindo. 

Our destinations are the remote villages of Jaja and Kiasi. The villages are located on islands in the middle of rivers, reachable only by boat or plane. They have no electricity, and only limited mobile phone coverage. With the salty smell of the sea hanging in the air, the scenery consists of sand, water and many palm trees. 

MAF and YWAM in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania

Both villages have dirt airstrips, parts of which remind me of the seabed or a beach. Although we try to fly a medical team to the Rufiji Delta once a month, the rainy season sometimes prevent this.

Far below, people wait to welcome the team. It was 11 months since our last visit to Kiasi and the people required medical care.

Father and boy at the medical clinic in Rufiji Delta, Tanzania

 In Jaja, there is a general lack of medicine and medical care and the people wanted more mosquito nets.

My passengers provide medicines and treatment. They also take the opportunity to pray for those they meet and distribute Christian literature.

By the end of the trip, 300 people have been treated, 100 mosquito nets distributed - mainly to mothers with babies - and 50 people prayed for. Two villagers became Christians. Hallelujah!

As I write, Kiasi is flooded. But I can't wait to return and share the Good News again! Mostly forgotten by others, these people need our help.

MAF brings a medical team to the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania