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Madagascar Map
Infos about Madagascar
18° 45' S
46° 50' E

We started this webpage to share our exciting life with you! We have been living in Madagascar since January 2006.

 

 


When we first arrived, we were working with Helimission, a Christian foundation. Gerd  is a helicopter pilot and mechanic. He would fly the helicopters to remote, inaccessible villages to bring doctors and nurses, pastors and preachers, handymen and teachers. They are villages you can’t reach by car, boat, airplane or motorbike. By foot it would take you  a day or maybe even 2 or 3 days  to get there.  Along with the regular work, there were also medi-vacs as well as disaster relief flights on the schedule.


Gerd’s task was to plan, organize and operate those flights. Often he got involved in the programs in the bush (villages).  His experience as a paramedic was often needed and helpful:  because in most regions there are no doctors and/or medical facilities available. Sometimes people have to walk for days to find a doctor – never knowing, if he will have the needed medicines or even be available. A helicopter needs maintenance every 100 hours of flying. Therefore Gerd worked not only as a pilot but also as a mechanic. Besides those two jobs, there was a lot of administration work to do in the office, car reparations, and local workers to be supervised.


Tanja worked in the Helimission’s office with the flight itinerary and volunteered at a hospital as a midwife. From fall 2006 on, we started a new work in a very remote village called Sakamadio. Flying there takes only 1 hour 20 minutes. If you don’t have a helicopter, you drive 9 hours and then walk for 3 days. With financial help through the German embassy we built a dispensairy and returned every 6 to 8 weeks to have bush clinic there. 


January 2007 Josia Fanilo made us a family. He was 5.5 months old, and has been our Malagasy sunshine since hour one. He was Tanja’s main focus. The adoption process was very long and difficult, but at the end, we won that fight!


During our adoption process we met various politicians in Madagascar. We heard multiple times, that babies are found in the trash containers here in town. That really touched our hearts. This, along with our family situation, we hardly had time to be a family, thus we decide, not to extend our contract with Helimission. Our hearts desired is to start a new project.  We would be working with the homeless and poor women in city center. After the shops close and night has decended, the women arrive with their kids to sleep in the entrances of close shops. We desire to help the ladies, teach them and be a friend, so that they either can keep their babies or find a good solution towards give them up (ex. shelters, adoptions) but not putting them in the trash piles to die.
The same time, we are seeing how important helicopter’s are in this country. Madagascar as an island is almost double of the size of Germany, but has only 8000 km of roads. But we aren’t talking roads like we know them from back home. The worst roads you can imagine in the woods and fields back home are better than the best roads here. When our project for homeless women is up and running, our desire is to see Gerd flying a helicopter again.


We have been serving the homeless women and kids, and even a few men in Tana's streets several nights a week for the last 2 plus years. By now, we have more than 2000 people who come for medical help to our midwofe-truck.

Hebammenmobil mit Team

Right now we are awaiting the arrival of our newly bought dentist-mobile and also an ambulance car. A little bit later we will get an entire container filled with goods that we will use to enlarge and imprive our medical services. Last but not least, we will get our lightplane here in a few weeks with which we will re-start serving the people in the remote villages. 

 

You can find more details in our newsletters on this webpage. If you would like to receive the newsletters to your personal email account, please send us a note giving us your email address. Additionally, you may check our NGO's webpage for more information. (Please be a bit patient, our english sides aren't fully translated yet. )


Our works, as well as our personal expenses, are paid through donations by our friends, families and churches. If you are interested in our work and would like to contribute to this project we would be very grateful, and not only us, but many Malagasy people also.
Serving the poorest this way in Madagascar was important enough for us to give our life to it.
Now we trust that it is important enough for our friends, family and whoever gets to know us and what we are doing here, that you would want to be a part of this great ministry, by donating to our project and thereby supporting the work we are doing here in Madagascar.

 

Thank you for reading about us and being interested!


Gerd, Tanja,  Josia Fanilo & Fifaliana


How we decided to become missionaries:

Tanja: When I was 16 I spent 2 weeks on vacation with my parents in Kenya. This vacation changed my life. I felt so much at home among the Kenyans that I knew I wanted to be a missionary to Africa one day. That idea was ironic since I wasn’t a believer and I knew nothing about missionaries. My parents were really astonished because I was usually so homesick on vacation and didn’t like to leave home. They were convinced that this “crazy idea” would stop soon.

But it didn’t since it was God who had touched my heart in Kenya. I started planning my life according to my desire. After graduating high school instead of going to be a teacher I became a midwife and received emergency medical training on ambulance cars. I knew this would help me in Africa one day though I didn’t know how I was going to get there.


When I was 20 years old I became a Christian and God showed me more of his plan for my life. I started understanding more about God and missionary work.
Last but not least I met Gerd at work. He was a Christian and wanted to be a missionary pilot. He showed me a movie about Helimission. There I saw what I had been dreaming about for the last four years. Later we married and a few years later we started our missions work in Madagascar. So God fulfilled the dream he put in my life many years before.


Gerd: I grew up in a Christian family and knew very early, that I would be a missionary pilot one day.

More than 20 years ago I got to know Helimission when my pastor showed me one of the movies about their work. They have 9 Helicopters in Africa and Indonesia. They fly to the remote villages and places where you cannot go by car or plane, only by walking for many hours or even days. They bring The Good News, Church planters, preachers, medical supply and whatever people out there could need. It fascinated me and God gave me the desire to be one of the Helimission pilots.


For many years I was unsure how this would happen because for some years my life was not headed in this direction. But I never lost this desire and I always tried to find a way and kept believing that God would accomplish it. And then came a time when God changed my life like only He could do. I met Tanja, we married and a bit later we started missions work in Madagascar. 




Steps on the way to Madagascar:

•    2001 we started preparing for our service with Helimission. That included moving a few times, changing work, having new educations and many exams, learning English and French

•    2004 /2005: about 6 month in the USA completing the required flight time

•    2006: January we started our first term with Helimission in Madagascar

•    2009: April we started the new work with homeless women

 

In fall 2010 we started our non-profit in Germany and by fall 2011 it has been registered in Madagascar. 

 

Right now, we prepare to add our dentist-mobile and ambulance as well as the lightplane to our services. 


Thank you for being interested and helping!


Gerd, Tanja, Josia Fanilo & Fifaliana together with many Malagasies