Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday season

Dear friends

Tit 3:15  Greetings to you from everyone here. Greet all of our friends who share in our faith. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you!

We deeply appreciate your concern, support and prayers for us. Please read on for a small update from our last 2 months.

For our family, this is birthday season. Tom is now 11, Rosie is now 9 and very soon Sam will be 6. Each of them have very different ideas about how to best celebrate a birthday.

Tom had been planning to spend the night in the small bush material shelter behind our house… their ‘cubby house’. This haus win is used as a place to sit with friends, for children to play, for kid’s bible clubs and for people around our house to have an easy place to rest. Tom and about 10 friends put up their mosquito nets and slept on pandanus mats for the night. Having heard so many of the tales and jokes that were told that night, I don’t think they got all that much sleep. In the evening they watched a movie in our house and in the morning they enjoyed cooking themselves a meal on the fire, followed by a refreshing swim in the 011Wai Maeri river.019


Rosie chose a tea party instead and gathered some friends under a bush overlooking the river.091068


We are not sure what Sam’s plans are yet. Sam is everyone’s friend. Here is Sam with Asire, one of our friends who kindly helps us in and around our house.086

038There have been some interesting topics at school this term. Tom and Rosie have been studying Antarctica. Please do continue to pray for school to go well. Tom’s good friends, Kaleb and Carter have recently moved as their father is moving to a different location with MAF. Having friends move is one of the constant sorrows of living where we are. We will really miss having them around. Please continue to give thanks for and pray for MAF and their ongoing partnership with the medical work here at Rumginae.

At the hospital we have been able to help many people in all sorts of ways. One lady from near Lake Murray was having difficulty delivering her baby because it was lying sideways. She was able to travel many hours to Lake Murray, then 12 hours up the river in a boat to Kiunga. From Kiunga she was driven to Rumginae. It became evident that her obstructed labour had led to a ruptured uterus. This can be a very difficult operation, but with God’s help we were able to give her appropriate fluids and blood transfusions and to repair her uterus. She went home last week and looked well.

058We have seen quite a few Mycobacterium ulcerans ulcers lately. In Australia this has been called the Bairnsdale ulcer. In Africa, it is called the Buruli ulcer. It often destroys a very large area of skin. A lot of skin needs to be removed and later a skin graft can be done. L**n* is a 12 year old girl on the ward who has lost most of the skin from her wrist to her elbow. We grafted on some skin from her leg and she is now doing very well. We have also had quite a few patients lately with a retained placenta, often delayed 2-5 days. This is also a difficult operation.

069Snake bites continue to cause serious problems. We hear of people out in remote places who are bitten and very unwell. Sometimes they recover without anti-venom, sometimes we find out that they have died. There are often difficulties with transport, facilities, equipment, supplies and training. Thankfully, most of those bitten by a snake near here are bitten by a ‘death adder’. The poison from this snake causes paralysis but little bleeding, kidney or muscle problems. We have just heard that Rumginae has been given a Global Snakebite Initiative grant to work with the Australian Venom Research Unit in Port Moresby to study some peculiar differences in the venom of our local death adders.

An emotional reunion concludes the story from our last news update. This lady is shown below as she landed back home at Lake Murray . There was a lot of crying as she met up with her family who were very glad to see her.

In other exciting snake bite news – David Williams, an AVRU toxinologist working in Port Moresby, and his team have just published a paper describing their production of an antivenom to taipan which will be much cheaper to produce than the current antivenom and hopefully able to be produced in PNG in the future. I have included a link here for those who are interested in more detail

The tractor has finally made it’s way to Mougulu (in a Chinook helicopter, organised by Ok Tedi Mining Limited). There have been many meetings lately – medical committee (ECPNG health services), Churches Medical Council, hospital executive, meetings with our Provincial (state) health authority and many more in the near future. Please pray as we try to make decisions which will be best for those we serve and bring glory to God. Please pray for our hospital executive to serve effectively together. There remain many maintenance needs, including putting together 1 house bought by the hospital and 4 bought for us by OTML. Pray that we would be able to find a workable long term solution to our maintenance needs.

Some of our hospital equipment is having trouble. Our X-ray machine has a fault. Hopefully we can get that fixed next week. Our autoclave / steriliser has also broken. We also have issues with oxygen concentrators, suction equipment and more. We are also still running on the ‘back up’ generator which we bought about 2 years ago. Hopefully our ‘minigrid’ power system will be running soon.

In between all of this, Dr Sharon has managed an outstation visit to Fuma and we have done a little teaching in the CHW training school. Our family had a nice week in the cool air of Telefomin where MAF have a base.

Daniel heard news that his grandmother died about 3 weeks ago. It has been hard being so far from family. Please pray for our extended family at this time.

God Bless

Daniel, Tammy, Tom, Rosie and Sam

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