MAF plane at Rum airstrip after test landing
Tajs Jespersen

The community in Rum are finally ready to be served by MAF again, after completing six years of hard work rebuilding their airstrip with help from the Rural Airstrip Agency (RAA).

Story by Tajs Jespersen

With an operational airstrip, MAF is now able to fly medevacs to the remote community of Rum.

The last six years, however, have not been easy without that access. Mr Paeyo, the community leader who has been overseeing the restoration of the airstrip, recalls the many struggles that come without air service.

“We were facing many problems, especially with sick patients, accidents or women trying to give birth. We normally carry them on our shoulder by stretcher up to this mountain, climbing up this mountain, down to Kompiam,” said Mr Paeyo.

Some people fall into the river. We never managed to find their bodies again
Mr. Paeyo, Community Leader in Rum

Without a working airstrip, getting supplies for local businesses and schools is almost impossible and can be very dangerous.

“When we shop for cooking oils, soap and these things we normally walk across to Baier. But some people fall into the river. We never managed to find their bodies again,” said Mr Paeyo.

Mr. Paeyo is originally from the Rum area and has recently returned to Rum to help restore the airstrip. He trusts only the airstrip for getting supplies and help.

“That's why I came back to construct the airstrip. (With the RAA) We have built it up to normal,” said Mr Paeyo.

Mr. Paio holding a speech for the MAF and RAA staff
Tajs Jespersen
Mr Paeyo holding a speech at the celebration

The Rural Airstrip Agency has been giving expertise, guidance and equipment to the community of Rum. 

You can read more about the work of the RAA and the important partnership between the RAA and MAF here.

One of the people assisting the community is the RAA driver, Michael Anggo. He has also seen the hardships the community has gone through.

“Many times, there are no services for schools, hospitals or aid posts. They really need the services so we help them to complete the job.”

Michael Anggo listening to the speeches
Tajs Jespersen
Michael Anggo listening to the speeches

Staying for so long with the community and working with them has had a big impact on Michael.

“I've been here for a long time with the community to help them build up and maintain the airstrip. They know me and I know them - by name,” said Michael. “They have a special place in my heart.”

MAF completed the first test landing at Rum recently, officially opening the airstrip. You can see the video about the Rum reopening below.

You can also read the Pilot Perspective of another airstrip reopening at Aiyu here.