Transportation to Mahabana

Posted by on November 16, 2011 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Getting to Mahabana is no easy task!  Though only 120 miles from the large city of Mahajanga, there are no roads, not even the semblance of a road.  In 2000, Jamie attempted to drive it once, it took 7 days, one way, and when they had driven as far as they could and after several problems with the car, including a small engine fire, they gave up and turned around.  They didn’t even make it half the distance to Mahabana.

In the past, Jamie and I have voyaged to Mahabana via botry (similar to a large pre-Christ wooden sailboat) or lakana (an outrigger canoe). The journey takes between 2-5 days, depending on the wind… yes, no motors… or lifejackets for that matter.  The trip is brutal and quite the adventure.  On both of these transportation options, there aren’t seats, or bathrooms, there isn’t shade to escape the hot African sun, and the only place to cook food is an open fire… on a wooden boat!  Yes, these were adventuresome times but they were times when we were young and without children!

Earlier this year, Jamie traveled to Mahabana by a rented powerboat.  This option was far quicker than those above however still took 16 hours.

The last option and the preferred option these days, actually, any day, is the helicopter!  Helimission is a mission organization with the goal of getting folks like us out to extremely remote areas the the sake of sharing the Gospel.  The costs of the flights are heavily subsidized leaving us to pay for fuel only… which is still a pretty chunk of change.  Nevertheless, the hour-long flight to Mahabana beats days upon days on the open ocean.  Not to mention the kids look pretty darn cute in their ear protectors.

Jamie’s first trip on the botry in 1999… it took them 3 days to reach Mahabana.


Jamie’s first trip on the botry in 1999… it took them 3 days to reach Mahabana.

Jamie’s unsuccessful attempt to reach Mahabana by car

traveling by helicopter allows some breathtaking views, including this of the massive Tsingy or limestone pinnacles

On our recent trip back from Mahabana, 7 of the 8 kids (under the age of 7 managed to fall asleep!)

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