Installing VSAT Systems in Africa

You probably know that Mission Aviation Fellowship flies missionaries, doctors, pastors, and relief workers to many of the most remote parts of the world. While you won’t find reference to it in our name, MAF also has quite an extensive IT ministry. In many of the remote places we fly there is also a lack of communications infrastructure, and so we integrate technologies that make communicating in these places possible. In the Democratic Republic of Congo alone we have installed over 20 VSAT satellite Internet systems. Some of the users of our systems include Bible translation teams, pastors and churches, universities, relief organizations, and NGOs who rely on Internet access for research, training, collaboration, logistics, and staying in contact with their supporters.

Last week in Bunia we changed over from our old satellite provider to our new MAF service. In addition to improving our Internet connectivity, it was a chance to share some knowledge with a couple of Congolese technicians. Sabato is an intern I recently hired to help out with the day-to-day IT work. He studied IT at UCBC (the bilingual Christian university in Beni), and has had some experience working for NGOs in town. The other guy who helped out that day was Eddy, who just finished up an IT program at Uganda Christian University. These guys both have some good IT knowledge, but had never worked with a VSAT system before. We had a few problems with the transition, so they really got a chance to learn through troubleshooting. It was great to have their help, because much of the work required more than one person; even that which didn’t went faster––many hands makes light work, as they say.

With more VSATs to change over to our new service in the coming weeks, new installations on the horizon, and other IT projects pending, it will continue to be important to have good help with the IT ministry! What better way to do it than by training Congolese technicians?

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