In Arnhem Land, Australia, MAF has been partnering with a local organisation that provides health and adequate housing services to remote Aboriginal communities. Ruth Jack, Programme Manager - MAF Arnhem Land, recently interviewed two staff from the Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation about their partnership with MAF.
Story by Jacophin Singh. Photos by Lucas Schmid and Divyan Ahimaz.
In the early seventies, a Homelands Movement had begun in the Northern Territory, Australia, with indigenous elders leading their clans back to their traditional homelands. The Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation (LHAC) was subsequently founded in 1985 with a motive to assist and support the 29 homelands in the North East Arnhem Land region of the Northern Territory by running health services and providing adequate housing.
Ruth Jack, Programme Manager of MAF’s Arnhem Land programme recently interviewed Ashleigh Berry, Executive Officer and Secretary to the board of members of LHAC and Penelope Gibson, a nurse and midwife with the healthcare department helping provide health services through the LHAC. Ashleigh and Penelope talked about their work and the ways in which MAF is able to make their lives easier.
Board members attending monthly LHAC board meetings fly with MAF to get to the meetings. Ashleigh says that while the board members do have another option, the bush taxi, the leaders and the corporation prefer not to use it as it can be a long, rough and tiring journey by road. Considering the fact that many of the board members are elderly, using MAF’s ﬂying service has been very helpful. Penelope, being a nurse, describes her work as that which goes “from the start of a life to the end of a life”. She talks about her visits to homelands that are as far as a three-hour drive on a good day or a short forty-ﬁve-minute flight on an MAF aircraft. Penelope and the healthcare department choose to ﬂy out to the homelands with MAF as it saves them a lot of time. She said they also use MAF for patient retrievals as MAF aircraft can land on short airstrips while the other aeromedical retrieval services in Arnhem Land cannot.
Penelope said that most people in LHAC love ﬂying with MAF as they feel “incredibly safe”. For Ashleigh, the comfort of flying with MAF is not just about the aircraft, but also the team organising the ﬂights and their ﬂexibility. They know the pilots well and appreciate their hospitality. When asked about the impact of MAF in the region, both Penelope and Ashleigh agreed that ﬂying with MAF is also more comfortable as MAF planes are spacious and well maintained. Ashleigh recalls a time when, during their Homeland Christmas Run, the MAF pilot had remembered that she is prone to feeling sick on planes and had carried extra sick bags for her comfort. Penelope thinks MAF’s services makes a huge diﬀerence in the region, maintaining high operational standards in the process. This is what we strive for.