Monday, 3 November 2014

Let the Marathon Begin!

Let the marathon begin. I hope everyone has the prayer points and praying daily for MAF.

Our family had the opportunity to head out into the mountains surrounding Kompiam over the last weekend and visit two of the hospitals remote health Centers. This proved in many ways to be an incredible experience, but again highlighted to us the valuable work that MAF do and their impact on people’s lives here in PNG and around the world (read on).

We headed off on Thursday the 30th of October for a 7 hour walk up to the top of a mountain and back down to the other side to the Marambe Health Center. We spent 2 nights here and then headed off on Saturday the 1st of November for another 6 hour walk to our Lapalama Health Center. Before we headed off Saturday morning the girls took the opportunity to kickoff their marathon and run the airstrip at Marambe (made a good warm up for the walk ahead).

We got to Lapalama on Saturday afternoon, but decided not to run the airstrip that day as it is on a 13% grade straight up the side of the mountain. That afternoon we took a tour of the Health Center and found a young girl named Nomi alone with her mother in the ward. Our health worker had walked out to Kompiam the day before as she had some training to do, and so there were no medical staff at the center. Nomi had an large inflammation on her leg, hadn’t eaten for a few days, was in a lot of pain and couldn’t walk. We got on the phone to one of the doctors in Kompiam and described her condition. He prescribed a course of medicine and was pretty sure she needed to get to the hospital in Kompiam as soon as possible. After several more phone calls we found out that there would not be any MAF planes available for various reasons for at least a week. After much discussion through an interpreter we finally managed to figure out a plan which should get her to the hospital this coming Wednesday. Basically she will have to find someone to carry her up a mountain behind Lapalama and then we will send the ambulance for a 2 hour drive on Wednesday morning to try and pick her up. A lot can go wrong in this process, but we are praying and hoping that it will all work out. Again though, this just highlighted for us the critical nature of the work that MAF do that is so often the difference between life and death for so many.

Our weekend ended safely back in Kompiam on Sunday afternoon after another exhausting 7 hour walk through some pretty incredible (and steep) scenery. And yes, the girls got their second marathon run in down and up the Lapalama airstrip on the Sunday morning before we left.  

Keep praying for MAF and for young Nomi.

The Conwell Family

Looking down on the Marambe airstrip

Kids on the Marambe airstrip

Let the marathon begin – heading down the Marambe airstrip

A river crossing on the walk to Lapalama

Walking up the Lapalama airstrip (13% up)

Nomi and her mother

The MAF “lounge” at the top of the Lapalama airstrip

Early morning run down Lapalama airstrip (hard part is coming back up). Kompiam is up through the valley in the middle.

Walking home with Lapalama airstrip on the opposite mountain

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