Chandra was in bad shape when the MAF plane brought him into the city of Tarakan in Kalimantan, Indonesia. This 13-year-old boy’s arm was badly broken after a fall of 50 feet from a coconut tree. It became clear after a visit to the local hospital that this would be neither an easy fix nor a short ordeal. Chandra’s father, a subsistence farmer in the interior of Borneo, barely had the money to pay for a doctor’s visit—let alone another place for him and his injured son to stay in Tarakan.
Thankfully the doors of MAF’s new ministry—Rumah Singgah—were open. This house, which is directly across the street from the local hospital, provides temporary housing for patients and family members flown by MAF from the interior to seek medical treatment.
“Chandra’s story is actually a very good representation of what we were hoping for when we started the hospital house,” said Steve Persenaire, the MAF program manager in Tarakan.
But care for the house guests goes beyond providing a comfortable place to stay. MAF’s national staff actually helps them navigate the system. And in this case, the staff took it upon themselves to take up a collection to pay for a flight to another city, so Chandra could get more in-depth treatment. One of the staff wives even researched free healthcare options so that he could receive the surgery he needed on his arm.
When Chandra was done with his treatment, he came back through Tarakan and MAF flew him back to his village for an emotional reunion with his mother and community.
The Rumah Singgah—literally “halfway house”—functions more like a bed and breakfast that MAF operates near the hospital. When families come from the interior for medical treatment, they often have no relatives or connections in Tarakan. For a small fee, they have a comfortable place to stay, along with support from the MAF team.
Before this ministry started, isolated people who came to Tarakan for medical care had to fend for themselves; most family members slept on the floor at the hospital. The Rumah Singgah guest house helps meet the needs of Kalimantan’s people and opens doors for relationships to grow, as MAF missionaries often visit the guests.
“The Rumah Singgah ministry is a great way to be able to help the people get here, take care of them while they are here, and then bring them back to their village,” said Rebecca Hopkins, a member of the MAF team in Tarakan. “We are taking care of them the whole way and it is a really good way to keep that relationship going and to really care better for them and their families during a really difficult time.”