The New VSAT in Nyankunde

Nyankunde is just a little over 15 miles from Bunia, the site of MAF’s main base in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but in some ways it feels a lot farther removed. Bunia, while no metropolis, feels like a city; there is constant noise, people everywhere, and limited natural scenery. Nyankunde is much more tranquil, though paradoxically. Nestled in lush green hills in eastern Congo, it is a picturesque east African village. It’s home to a church-run hospital—the best in the region—and MAF’s recently reoccupied base.

I say “paradoxically” and “recently reoccupied” because a decade ago it was the site of inter-tribal clashes that left many casualties, and forced MAF to make a long-term evacuation to Uganda. We only started basing staff there again a few months ago. Today rebel militias are getting closer to Nyankunde. Conflict wrapped in tranquility—a good picture of Congo.

Yet, this is a place where we serve. Having an MAF presence there again encourages the local church and community. Seeing the airplane come and go shows them we’re in this together.

Nyankunde-vsatLast month we installed a VSAT and antenna systems to provide Internet service to the hospital staff and missionaries living at Nyankunde. In an area where even phone coverage is sketchy, the Congolese and expats I talked to were all so grateful for the improved communications opportunities. I’m sure it will really help in their work.

In a way it’s another kind of paradox to see Information Age technology in a part of the world that still lacks the things Westerners would consider basic necessities. It’s really cool to see, though, and it’s neat to think I got to play a small part in the work that is going on here by connecting these workers to the world!

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