Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Missionaries

The long-awaited Kerr family arrived yesterday! Dave and Rosie, along with Grace (age 6) and Anna (age 4) have been on their way for many months. There have been major hurdles in getting Rosie's medical license, their work permits and visas. They will be living at Ninge, at Melanesia Nazarene Bible College, where Dave will teach. Rosie, who is a doctor will work part-time here at Kudjip.

Today they started their village experience. This is intended to be an immersion language- and culture-learning experience. Judy and I drove them to Mondomil, which is where she and I did our village experience almost 7 years ago. Little has changed there in that time, except for the availability of cell phones. When we were there we had to plan and wait for the scheduled time slot on the radio network, if we wanted to check in with the folks back in Kudjip.

We stayed long enough to share lunch and a cup of coffee with them, and then left them there to fend for themselves. Of course, the greatest danger to them is English speakers. Several of the people up there like a chance to practice their English, which tends to spoil the Pidgin practice for the new missionaries.

There is a small collection of photos here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Power, or Lack Of It

I shared a couple of weeks ago a story about doing a delivery, and then the repair of a torn birth canal, partly in the dark. Dr. Becky Wallace shared in her blog a story of a cesarean section done mostly by head lights about the same time.

Engage is the new on-line mission magazine of the Church of the Nazarene. They picked up on the story of our power needs, and, borrowing material from both Becky's and my blogs, along with other material, wrote a great story. They even used my blurry photo of the nurse preparing an injection by the light of her cell phones built-in flashlight.

I didn't go into much detail about the reasons for the electrical troubles, but they summarized it nicely in that article. If you are able to help with this important need, go to Nazarene Compassionate Minstries' web site, where you can give on-line.

The photo is of the Kane river, which used to be, and we hope will again be the source of our electricity. God, of course, is the source of our power!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Yesterday I promised photos from the baby dedication at Emmanuel Church. Judy-Mercy was adopted by our friend Monica Tumap. Monica has previously adopted 2 boys, and has one raised and out of the home, the other not far behind. Monica has worked in the Primary Health Care department at the hospital, and is now working for our Community-Based Health Care program.

In the photo is Pastor Robert Kia of Emmanuel Church. He asked that if any of the babys had namesakes present, that they would participate in the dedication. So Judy Bennett held Judy-Mercy during the prayer of dedication.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Worship at Konduk

Today Judy worshiped at Emmanuel church, since her small name-sake Judy-Mercy was being dedicated. Here's a link to a previous blog about her. We'll have photos in the next few days.

I took a group to a "bush church" at Konduk, high up on the mountain above Kudjip Station. The party included Rachael and Jordan Thompson, and Sid Sharp. Rachael is the teacher of the MK high school, and Jordan is working with our maintenance crew. Sid Sharp is a nurse anesthetist who has been volunteering at the hospital for a month, and well be returning to his home in the US tomorrow.

I had originally been asked to preach at Konduk, but I had declined. When I heard Pastor David preach this morning, I was glad that I had. He preached beautifully from the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, emphasizing that Elijah had stood for the right, even when he had to stand alone. I enjoyed meeting Pastor David's new baby girl Lapi-Wari. The name is a combination of a variation of the Pidgin word for "laugh" and the tribal language word for "love". She quickly vindicated the "laugh" part of her name.

In addition to these photos, there is an album on Facebook here. You don't need to be a member of Facebook to see these pictures.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Imagine that you were playing soccer so hard, so passionately that when you collided with an opponent it was so hard that when you went down you broke your femur. That's the big bone in the upper leg. Imagine how painful that would be. Now imagine that the nearest place that you could get medical attention would be a 5-hour walk away, if you could walk at your normal pace, but that now you couldn't walk at all. Imagine that to get you to a place where a Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) airplane can pick you up is 2 miles up a steep mountain side. Imagine that your friends carry you on a home-made stretcher, and that a plane comes and takes you to the health center. Now imagine that the nurses at the health center determine that they cannot treat your injury, and that you have to be transferred to Nazarene Hospital, a 40 minute plane ride followed by a 1-hour ambulance ride away, but that there was no plane available to take you for several more days.

Now, just to really stretch your imagination, imagine that Nazarene Hospital didn't exist. Imagine that Nazarenes around the world did not give the money needed back in 1964 to build it. Imagine that they had not been giving faithfully through years to keep it in operation, and to keep doctors assigned there. So now you have to imagine that when the MAF plane lands, you are taken to a government hospital, and because it is late Friday afternoon, you have to wait until Saturday morning or even until Monday for anyone to do anything to relieve your pain.

But of course, all that imagining in the last paragraph is truly hypothetical, because Nazarenes did give and build in 1964, and have supported a steady stream of missionaries through years to keep Nazarene Hospital going. So now you can imagine that after the MAF plane landed, an ambulance from Nazarene Hospital takes you to Kudjip, and that you are met in the ER by, well, by me. And that I make dumb jokes, and talk about your home village, which I love, and which I think is among the most beautiful places in the world, and that I give you a shot of morphine and that your pain fades away. And you can imagine that I call Dr. Jim Radcliffe, who will get the bones of your leg back in place, and keep them there until they heal. And you can imagine that you have hope to be back on the soccer field again, even if it's after many months.

Sualili is his name. He really did play soccer hard enough to break his femur doing it. Soccer is about the only sport played in the Dusin area. Rugby is the favorite sport in most parts of PNG, but in Dusin, they love soccer. They even have an organized league. A few years ago there was only one usable ball in the whole league, which made practices hard! But they play, and they love it. The Dusin soccer field is down in the valley by the river. The airstrip is up on the mountain, about 2 miles of very steep climbing above. The Nazarene Health Center is in Sangape, 5 hours away if you walk at the usual pace of the very fit PNG mountain peole. The friends carried Sualili to the airstrip, and 2 days after the injury, an MAF plane was able to ferry him to Sangape. But is was another 4 days before they could come back and take him to Mount Hagen, where he could be met by the ambulance which brought him to Kudjip.

I'm pretty sure that Sualili will be alright. He has good friends. And he has a good hospital that you have provided for him!

The photos are of Sualili and two of the friends that brought him taken by me today. The other two were taken by either Judy or by Becky Morsch on past trips to Dusin. The second is an MAF Cessna 206 on the Dusin airstrip, and the last one of part of Dusin village taken from the plane shortly before either landing or take-off. It's a pretty spectacular place to fly to or from.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Long Memories

I'm sorry that I didn't write his name down. He was a classic PNG old guy; the bilum cap, a fleece jacket that probably once belonged to a lady in the US or Australia, and a laplap. A laplap is like a skirt. When the Australians first came to New Guinea they were uncomfortable seeing men with no clothes, so they forced their employees, subordinates, and everyone else that they had influence or power over to at least wrap a piece of cloth around them. That became standard for men 50 to 70 years ago. Many of the older ones still wear them. The Prime Minister of PNG wears one on all formal occasions.

This fellow remembers when white men first came to the PNG Highlands in 1930. He remembers that the white men killed several of the men of his village. As his son explained, "There was no communication between them. They [the villagers] thought the white were some kind of spirits, so when they [the villagers] attacked them, the whites had to kill them." To put this in perspective, the whites were here uninvited, not under the mandate of any government or scholarly society, to find and to take what wasn't theirs; gold. That was a rocky start to the relationship between Papua New Guineans and outsiders, and it's amazing that the relationship is so positive today.

By my guess, this fellow must be almost 90. At that age, he won't be around for too many more years. It was a privilege to meet him. I didn't ask if he has any secrets to his longevity, but here's a possible clue. He was brought in today by his son and daughter, who appear to be only a few years older than my oldest. Hmmm....

I apologize for the quality of this photo. My camera was on an inappropriate scene setting, and the photo was badly underexposed. I rescued it to some extent with iPhoto.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Evening in the OR

This evening I did a cesarean section for a patient with twins. I have a lot of photos taken in the OR over the years, but the OR seems like such a photogenic place that I often can't resist taking more. Here's the product of this evening's efforts. You can go to this link to see the rest of the photos.

Interestingly, this mom only had one baby before, and he's now 20. These two are a boy and a girl.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

5-K Walk-Run

It's been about a year since our colleague Scot Riggins' mom died of breast cancer. His family is participating in a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure back home in the US, so he and Jill decided to do a 5-K along with them, and to invite their friends here to do the same. The family in the US will be doing it Saturday morning, so even though it is still Friday in the US, Scot and Jill decided to do theirs on the same date here.

At about 6:30 this morning, a van full of 20 people and 2 dogs left Kudjip and drove 5 kilometers up the highway. Ages ranged from Lydia Radcliffe, age 10, to Dr. Larry Hull, age 71. The group included 1 pregnant lady (only 1 that we know of!) who is only a couple of weeks away from her due date! She had run the same distance a couple of years ago, non-pregnant only a few minutes slower than she walked it today!

The folks separated into various groups, by pace. Bill McCoy, Erin Meier and Hannah Ficker (student) lead the pack. Slower runners were then followed by the faster walkers. I drove behind the group, in case anyone decided they needed to do a shorter distance, but no one asked for a ride. I also monitored the traffic coming from behind the group, and tooted the car horn with the approach of each vehicle.

Scot is on the right in the 3rd photo (that's Priscilla and Jim Radcliffe with him), and Jill is in the last photo, clearly happy with the whole event.

There are Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events all year long in different parts of the country. Check it out at

Here's a link to a page where you can donate to cancer awareness and research in honor of Sue Riggins.

I will post these photos and more on Facebook, and tag all the people in the photos, in case you want to know who they all are. I'll either edit this to add a link to the photos, or put it in a separate post.

Click here to link to the photos

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Body Building in PNG

They announced a body building exhibition as part of the Independence Day celebration here on Kudjip station. I didn't know what to expect, but I was sure curious. It turns out that one of the security guards here on the station is a competitive bodybuilder. He has qualified for the South Pacific Games, which will be in Samoa this year. I'm sure in competition he would have to wear somewhat less, but he spared us that! He spent about 15 minutes posing for us. I have to say that he has a pretty impressive physique. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Mighty Guava Tree

The guava is one of the greatest health hazards to children in PNG. Well, after gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria and tuberculosis, anyway. The guava contains fruit that the kids love. The trees are high enough to make falls from them dangerous, and the limbs tend to be a bit thin. The low, easy-to-reach fruit gets picked first. Then they have to go higher and higher, and out on thinner and thinner limbs. Eventually one will break. Injuries are usually just a fractured forearm, which in kids usually heal very well.

However, this poor girl had much worse luck. She took a nasty whack on the head, and managed to break both bones in her forearm, and the humerus (upper arm) as well. She'll be OK, but will have a few days of pain, and it will be a few weeks until she has full use of her arm, but she will be alright eventually.

Is It Broken?

"Hey, Hannah. This is a test."

That was Erin who had just put a film on the view box, calling across the OP waiting area to our P.A. student.

My curiosity was piqued. Surely Erin had found some subtle radiographic finding, and was wanting to teach Hannah the fine points. It would probably be real interesting.

"What's wrong with this patient?", Erin asked as Hannah stepped up to the view box, with me following closely.

After careful scrutiny of the x-ray, Hannah got it right!


I imagine (perhaps vainly) that there are a few folks who check here often, since I've developed the habit of posting most days. Between the trip home, various forms of busy-ness, and having the internet inaccessible part of the time, I haven't gotten anything up for a few days. I'll do a little make-up today.

The anniversary story should count as Tuesday, not Wednesday!

34 Years!

Yes, she's stuck it out with me for a third of a century. I, on the other hand, have had an easy job of it. She declared that our tradition was an anniversary photo with her showing the number of years with her fingers.

I asked, "tradition"?

"Well," she said, "we did that last year."

"Ah. A tradition!"

I learn quickly, which is a part of the reason she's put up with me for 34 years. I don't know what will happen when we pass the 60-year mark.

That's an Oreo pie. Maybe that will become a tradition next year.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Home In Kudjip

We flew out of Singapore late Thursday evening. Air Niugini has added Kuala Lumpur to it's Singapore route. That's nice for the throngs of people who want to travel between PNG and Malaysia (and some who travel from Malaysia to Australia via PNG), but not so convenient for those of us who just want to get home quickly.

So a quick 45-minute flight from Singapore, leaving at 10:20 put us in Kuala Lumpur a bit past 11. We had to disembark, go through Malaysia security, and reboard, all of which took about an hour. So now well past midnight, we are back in the air (now flying back over Singapore) and what does Air Niugini do? They serve supper! We tried to eat a bit, but it was the worst meal we've ever eaten on Air Niugini (which usually doesn't do too badly, as airline food goes). We both picked at it, but fell asleep. I woke up several times to see that the trays were still there--I don't know when they finally took them away.

Well, because of adding KL to the flight, arrival in Moresby is now TOO LATE TO CATCH THE MORNING FLIGHT TO MOUNT HAGEN!!! But do they serve breakfast? A little cup of OJ. That's it. So we arrived hungry, exhausted and not as happy as we'd like, and spent two hours of clearing immigration and customs, then waiting for the shuttle to the Airways Hotel before we finally got some coffee at nearly 11 AM. Oh, yeah, and some food.

But we spent several pleasant hours at the Airways, had several coffees (no free refills here--K6.50 per cup, every cup) and read. We got the afternoon flight home to the highlands, departed only about 20 minutes late and were met by Jim and Kathy Radcliffe, and volunteer Sid Sharpe. On the way to Kudjip, the cruiser had a flat, but we were giving a lift to a group of pastors and laypeople from our Middle Ramu district, so there was plenty of help in getting it changed.

A container had arrived while we were away. It included a few personal items that we had shipped during our home assignment. These were all stacked in our dining room when we got in. We managed to get the new recliners set up before going to dinner at Dooleys.

We had a great 8 days in Singapore, spiritually, professionally, emotionally and socially. It was a welcome break in the routine, as well as helping us in the ministry God has called us to here. But we're happy to be home.

I'll leave you with a photo of Singapore taken from our hotel room window. It shows a bit of historic Little India, an area we enjoyed exploring.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flowers and Kabobs

Activities relating to our meetings here in Singapore took us today to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a beautiful and well-designed and maintained display of tropical plants. Within the Botanic Gardens is the National Orchid Garden.

Later we spent some time on Arab Street, the center of Singapore's Muslim community. The neighborhood is filled with shops selling all varieties of foods from various arabic-speaking countries, fabrics, carpets, crafts, gifts. At one end of the street is the largest Mosque in Singapore. Also, there is Alaturka, a Turkish restaurant where we ended our day with kabob and Turkish coffee. I'm full and awake.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Tuesday. We're still in Singapore.

Today was for training meetings, which went very well. Dinner was Balinese and Indian. The photo was taken at the restaurant, a few feet from our table.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


After a day of meetings, we had a chance for a leisurely boat ride on the Singapore River. I tried to get some good photos, but I just had my pocket camera, which doesn't do as well in low light as the "big camera", but here's one that should give you an idea of the wonderful colors along the river at night. The river is lined with restaurants, as well as some historic buildings, and the modern skyscrapers of the financial district.

We stopped at a street Hagen-Das stand before catching the train back to our hotel.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Evening

This afternoon we moved to the hotel where we'll be staying during the meetings. After getting settled and having supper in one of the restaurants, we decided to walk outside. The first thing we noticed was a huge crowd gathering near the hotel. As far as we could see, it was an all-male crowd. We wondered if it was a celebration, a rally, or what. One of the parking valets at the hotel told us that it was just the weekly Sunday evening get-together of young foreign workers from India and Bangladesh. He assured us that it would be perfectly safe to walk around. It was a bit crowded, but we walked a few blocks, stopped at a store to buy some eye drops, and found our way back to the hotel. We're apparently on the edge of Little India, near where we walked yesterday. The photo was after we got away from the worst of the crowd.

The meetings start in the morning. I'll report as I can.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday in Singapore

We worshiped this morning at the Methodist Church of the Incarnation. This is a lively, diverse, evangelical congregation. They have services in Mandarin, Hokkien and English. We were at the English service. This was attended by a variety of Chinese, Indians, and Malaysians. The church is largely working-class, and rather young. There was one non-Asian family besides us. The music was very good, and the people were very focused on worship. The pastor preached a helpful, challenging message from Philippians 4, and communion was served.

I took my camera, but failed to get even 1 photo of the service. Allow a shot of the city to fill in.

In the afternoon we moved to the hotel where we'll stay throughout our meetings, which start in the morning.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday in Singapore

Today was a little more tourist, and less Santa's helpers. We visited Little India and China Town, and did a little more shopping. We got around by ourselves using Singapore's excellent train system, and only got slightly lost wandering around Little India.

The first photo is remarkable in that it shows signs for DQ, Orange Julius, Burger King and Starbuck's, all in one shot. We didn't patronize any of them today, although we did have a little taste of American-style fast food elsewhere, and had some good coffee of a different brand.

The other two shots show us posing with the two generals who single-handedly saved the Tang Dynasty. Or some dynasty or other. And four-handedly, I guess.

Around Singapore

We ventured out today on an important shopping mission. If you promise not to tell any of the Kudjip MKs, we were being Santa's little helpers! The first photo was taken in a five-story mall, dedicated to shops with stuff for kids, including the biggest Toys-R-Us" that I've ever seen (not that I've seen a lot of them). We also went to the biggest, best-stocked Christian book store I have ever seen.

We stopped for lunch at a food court in a different high-rise shopping mall. That's half of a small flame-roasted chicken on my plate. Tasty!

We got back in the afternoon for reading, coffee, rest and then supper with friends. After supper we strolled around a mall near where we're staying, and had some decaf at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf there.

Tomorrow is for sight-seeing, with a little more shopping.

Friday, September 4, 2009

We're There!

We're in Singapore. After a delayed departure and a 6-hour flight we arrived at our host's home at about 11:00 local time (about 1:00 AM PNG time). We are staying with new friends in a lovely 27-th floor apartment. By this time tomorrow I will have TONS of photos to pick from!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We will be leaving in the morning to attend some meetings in Singapore. I hope to get lots of good photos for future blogs, but I probably won't be writing a whole lot in the next week or so. Please pray for us as we travel, as well as for the Mission Strategy Training, which we will be attending.

Optimism on A-Ward

There are two kids on A-Ward (pediatrics, my current ward assignment, along with Dr. Becky Wallace) who have had me a bit worried.

Tom was originally admitted sometime before I got back from furlough. He obviously has had an infection of some kind in his brain. Whether this is caused by a virus, a bacteria, or even TB is something that we can't prove. Virus and TB are prime suspects. He's getting TB medicines. There is nothing except supportive care and time for the viral infections.

He was treated in A-Ward, and then when he improved a lot, he was transferred to the TB ward. I first met him when he took a turn for the worse, started having seizures, and was transferred back to the A-Ward. Since then he has gotten first better than worse again. He has times of vomiting and severe headaches. Until a few days ago, his legs have been so weak that he hasn't been able to walk or stand.

Last week he started bearing weight on his legs, and then taking a few hesitant steps, mostly holding on to the side of the bed or to someone's hand. In the last few days he has taken a few steps at a time unsupported.

Imagine my shock when I walked into the ward this morning to see him walking around near his bed! My shock and loud praising of God startled and embarrassed him, so after that it was hard to get him to come out for a photo, but I got the last one here. The other two have been taken over the past couple of weeks.

Please pray for Tom. He's not out of the woods yet, but it's fun to see this progress.

I'll tell you about the other kid in the next day or two.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Peds Ward Wall Update Update

Here are the finished products of the labor of many of the ladies here at Kudjip. The Noah's ark pictures are on the two areas of one end of the ward, and Jesus and the Children is on the opposite end. They all look great.

Here's a distant shot of the Noah's ark scenes.

These are all in the new pediatrics ward. All the new wards are really bright, with about 4 times more window area than the old wards.