Saturday, September 18, 2021

Tsingoropa and a much needed update

 Two days ago was Independence Day here in PNG. In 1775, PNG became independent from Australia and thus was celebrating its 46th birthday. It was a fun day full of color, traditional dress, lots of basketball and volleyball and a show of pride in their wonderful country.

Updates since my last blogpost

-I turned 30 and was wonderfully surprised by all the love shown to me, both from friends here and back in the US

-I climbed the highest mountain in PNG! (Mt Wilhelm which stands at 14,700ft-impressive for an island)

-We (my neighbors the Myatts and I) planted our garden

-I went to a cultural show that featured traditional clothing and dances from different parts of PNG

-I taught hurdles for PE for the missionary kids

Not part of hurdles, but a fun race nonetheless :)

-Our hospital faced a serious budget shortfall and was in the beginning stages of closing when the government came through with emergency funding and we were able to continue to provide care to our patients

-And, lastly, I went on a trip to Tsingoropa in the Jimi valley for a week of work in a rural clinic. I want to share more about that trip.

The Jimi valley starts beyond the hills just north of Kudjip. It is one of the most remote and undeveloped areas in PNG. In the 8 months that I have been here, many of our sickest patients have come from the Jimi Valley.

I traveled with Dr Matt for a week of work at a rural clinic in Tsingoropa. We were able to work with an awesome team of Nursing Officers, Gabriella and Moses, and a Community Health Worker named Joshua who staff the clinic. Our welcome was overwhelming, seeing the emotion of a community that had not had a doctor visit in a long time. Through the week we saw hundreds of patients, did antenatal visits and ultrasounds for 25 pregnant patients, and spent some time training the team of local health care workers. It was a full week including showing the Jesus film, sharing a devotion at a Thursday night fellowship, playing soccer and swimming in the river (just 2500 feet down the mountain and back).

Top: Dr Matt and I with Moses, a nursing officer at Tsingoropa; 2. Praying with a patient in the clinic 3. Matt and I with one of the mamas who had come to be seen by a doctor. 4. Wara Jimi 5. Another patient encounter 6. Peter and his mother waiting outside of the clinic to be seen

One of my favorite moments was one evening when I went to sit on the porch and watch the kids play rugby. Suddenly I was surrounded by a group of kids looking at me expectantly. Eventually I learned they wanted me to share a story, so I proceeded to give a paraphrase of The Hobbit. The kids loved the interaction and proceeded to tell me some stories of their own.

I was touched by the warmth and hospitality of these people, the way they welcomed us into their community and the difficulty of their lives. I hope to be able to go back in the future.


1 Year Update

This weekend I was able to get away up into the mountains around Mount Hagen. I had time to rest and reflect on the almost full year that I ...