It Takes a Village to Help a Village

In mid-March, Cyclone Idai hit central Mozambique around the city of Beira. Just weeks later, Cyclone Kenneth hit northern Mozambique north of the city of Pemba. Being located in Nampula, north of Beira and south of Pemba, MAF was uniquely positioned to be among the very first on the scene to help with both disasters.

Mission Aviation Fellowship loads disaster relief supplies on Cessna Caravan in Mozambique

Dave Holmes (back) and John Gorenflo (front) load much-needed food for those affected by Cyclone Kenneth. Photo by Laura Hibberd.

After Kenneth hit, we provided a shuttle service from Pemba to the islands of Ibo and Matemo, islands that were particularly hard-hit by the cyclone. The goal was to use our Cessna Caravan to get aid workers to and from the islands and deliver aid supplies. While at dinner one evening we came into contact with a local organization, IKURU, wanting a way to transport food and supplies to Ibo for distribution to those affected by the cyclone. We began to coordinate with them, and each day they would bring family kits of food and supplies for us to transport. Every time we had empty space on the plane, or enough to do a full cargo load, we would deliver the goods to Ibo where they had someone on the other side responsible for distribution.

medical personnel load supplies onto Mission Aviation Fellowship charity airplane in Mozambique

A medical NGO loads supplies onto the MAF Caravan in Pemba, Mozambique. Photo by Jill Holmes.

We later learned it was not just one organization, but a group of organizations and individuals all volunteering in different ways to help victims of the cyclone. On our last night in Pemba we went to dinner at a local restaurant and discovered they were doing a fundraising event that evening. We got to meet some of the individuals on the other end of the family kits that arrived at the airport: those raising funds, buying supplies, and packaging the kits. That night they had a Jazz band playing as part of the fundraiser and were selling stickers that said “Unidos Por Cabo Delgado” or “United for Cabo Delgado” (the province where the cyclone hit.) When they came up to our table, they saw the MAF logos on our shirts and were so excited to see us. They expressed great thanks for all our help in transporting the food to Ibo and gave us each a sticker.

Although disasters such as these are terrible, it is wonderful to see people come together using their various tools and gifting to help those in need.

Dave Holmes displays his sticker. Photo by Jill Holmes.

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