Mothers gather around waiting for the nurse to tend for their children
Photo credit: Paula Alderblad

Mothers and children receive medical care after a MAF flight landed in a remote airstrip in Tanzania.

MAF pilot Peter Griffin flew a team of nurses from Same District Hospital to offer medical care to pregnant women and children in a remote village.

With a MAF flight, accessing the dusty airstrips only takes fifteen minutes to offer medical help to those in need. These remote villages are spread vast and wide, and accessing them by road would take many days; others are in the middle of nowhere, just barren land without roads and access would be impossible.

The nurses started the clinic by weighing the infants, examining pregnant women and vaccinating the children.

Mother holding her child waiting for the nurse to tend to them
Mother holding her child waiting for the nurse to tend to them. - Photo credit: Paula Alderblad

On board the flight was Samuel Gnanadurai who was visiting the programme to gather information about MAF’s impact in Tanzania. He heard from a young man in the village about the effect of drought on communities in that part of Africa.

“I met a young Maasai man Lemaiyan* (Not his actual name) speaking fluent English having completed his studies in the Kenyan capital. He had opted not to settle in the city, but to come home and support his family members amid the harsh drought,” said Samuel.

The young man shared how much the family had lost.

“I went to school in the city, but I decided to come back home to rear cattle and be with my family and stand with them through the difficulties caused by the ongoing drought,” said Lemaiyan.

“I do not want to leave my parents suffering alone in this, I rather want to be here and cry with them.”

“I had 21 cows a few years ago, but currently I have four left because the other 17 died of hunger,” explains Lemaiyan. He now has just two cows left.

An elderly woman sits under a huge tree with her grandchild to shield from the scorching sun.
An elderly woman sits under a huge tree with her grandchild to shield from the scorching sun. -Photo credit: Paula Alderblad

For Maasai people, cattle ownership is a central part of their livelihood and a significant measure of wealth and status.  Losing cattle on this scale is like losing all your savings, pension, and financial security at once!  

Drought in the horn of Africa has been so prolonged and severe that people living in remote places were managing to have only one meal a day or nothing at all. Livestock too was not spared, most families especially the pastoralists have lost theirs.  

The nearest hospital to the people is about 40 kilometres away without regular public transport. In the case of an emergency, few people have enough money to afford to use a motorcycle taxi while the same journey would probably require two full days of walking to reach the hospital.

Happy kids by the plane.
Happy kids by the plane. - Photo credit: Paula Alderblad
Story written by: Jacqueline Mwende
Photos by: Paula Alderblad