As a print shop coordinator at MAF headquarters, Atalie Snyder recently spent a week as a volunteer babysitter watching MAF children while the parents attended an MAF Africa Managers’ conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Afterwards she spent time at the Lesotho program and got a firsthand look at the work of MAF. Atalie shares some of her favorite highlights here.
I was recently given an amazing opportunity to visit Lesotho, Africa, to see what an MAF program is like in person. A recent college graduate, I have lived in Idaho my whole life and had never been to Africa, so I was in for an eye-opening experience. When we arrived in Maseru, the capital city, we were met with the disorienting scene of people driving on the left side of the road and without regard to anyone else around them. As we maneuvered through this frightening traffic, on either side of the road I noticed shacks that were falling to pieces.
On the first day our host family took us to a small African church in Maseru. I sat through worship crying into my sleeve as I witnessed the joy with which the seventy people worshiped in this unfinished cinderblock building with open windows. They had so little, and yet so much.
Another experience that tugged at my heart was when we went to one of the villages and spoke to a woman who told us of an impending drought, and her fear of survival. I was desperately trying not to cry as she spoke in Sesotho to MAF pilot Matt Monson, our translator, and said, “We are making it now, but in four months, we are not sure how we will survive.” It is so heartbreaking to stand there in front of a woman whose family will have trouble eating, and there is little you can do.
I was encouraged when I spent a day flying with MAF and saw how flights helped the Basotho people. One flight in particular stood out to me; it was a “Code-1” for a young woman who was having a difficult labor. The 15-minute MAF flight brought her from her village in the mountains to the nearest hospital so she could get the help she needed.
Later that day, as I was standing at the side of one of the airstrips, I thought about how very blessed my life is. When I looked across the mountainsides of Lesotho, seeing villages just over the next hill full of people who have never experienced Jesus, nothing else in my life felt as important as this place. I watched our pilot, Bryan, helping passengers into the plane. It was good to see MAF in action, and see God’s hand working in these villages. It gives me hope for the nation of Lesotho.