Chandra’s Story: Rumah Singgah

Chandra, a 13-year-old boy from the village of Long Sule in North Kalimantan, was climbing in a coconut tree when he fell 50 feet and shattered the bones in his arm.  MAF performed a medical evacuation flight to bring him to Tarakan, the nearest city where he could receive treatment in a hospital. The doctors put his arm in a cast, but didn’t have the ability to perform the surgery necessary to completely heal the break. It looked like Chandra would have to go home and hope for the best, possibly being maimed for the rest of his life.

Thankfully, MAF’s involvement didn’t end after Chandra stepped off the plane. To help stay connected and continue to serve the patients they fly out, MAF started a ministry in Tarakan called the Rumah Singgah, or Hospital House. For a very low cost, patients and their families can stay in a house right across the street from the hospital, giving them a place to cook, do their laundry, and make hospital visits. MAF staff and families regularly visit the guests, praying with them, bringing food, and helping them navigate the complex medical system.

After receiving the bad news about his arm, MAF staff helped arrange a visit with a specialist and raised the funds needed to send Chandra and his father to a larger city to receive surgery. They really went the extra mile, going above and beyond what anyone would expect. Without the connection through the Hospital House, and the dedication and love shown by all the families involved, Chandra’s story would have had a much different ending.

One of the big advantages for us spending a few months in each of MAF’s programs has been the opportunity to follow longer stories like this from start to finish. The interview we shot with Chandra was one of the first things we did during our stay in Tarakan, and as the weeks went by, we kept asking if there were any updates on his progress. Finally, a month later, we got word that Chandra had returned to Tarakan, had received the surgery he needed, and was ready to fly home to his village.

Kelly got to go along on the homecoming flight to Long Sule document Chandra’s reunion with his family. I didn’t witness it personally, but I still get a little choked up every time I watch the video and see his mother looking at his arm, wiping tears away from her eyes and shaking the pilot’s hand. It’s proof that the world is a good place, filled with good people.