First day of work
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Wed 22 Apr 2015 10:07
This morning by 9, the drama of immigration and permission to start our work unfolded and we could start.
First thing was to present the chief a gift to get his permission to speak. That was done by the local clinic.
Next thing Ben, the man who is responsible for the rebuilding after the disaster thanked us for coming and also told us about three
previous missions that had come to the island after PAM.
Two of them came with helicopters and they got rice and other food supplies.
One was dropped off from a boat from Caledonia and that itself is a chapter to be told (comes later here).
All in all we learned during the day that this village has not had a bad hit, but it was an important bridge head to start off.
So we asked the nurse, Roger an absolute great guy who runs the clinic if he thought our doctors could assist him.
And YES, he was more than happy to share some patients.So off it went after lunch with the kids going to the local school, Ellinor, Shannon and Kim ( Shannons cousing) worked in the clinic and Shannons teen age daughter Cassidy did all the registration for Sea Mercy.
As patients are treated and medicine given out everything has to be recorded and reported to different institutions.
While this was happening Jonathan started preparing for the next villages to be seen. We have a village on the north side of this island that got badly hit, they had a wave that went up about ONE KILOMETER ashore and swiped the village.
The problem with that village is that it cannot be reached other than by boat since the road is totally destroyed, and that ancorage has no previous records on how to get in. But we will have a local guide coming with us when we enter on Friday.
Now, during the day the work was going on as you would expect, everything from a baby that is 2 days old to people who hurt themselfe during the cyclone. By five there were no more patients and you would think work was over for the doctors. But here comes the most important job of all. We heard ever since we landed that they were short of antibitiocs and other medicines, but when we looked into the clinics pharmacy storage room there were piles of medicines. With one problem, the French that got here from New Caledonia just dumped off the medicine and the problem is that the nurse does not recognice or undestand any of the brands and all instructions are in french.
So Roger was sitting on a treasure of medicines without having any idea on what is what. So Shannon and Ellinor sat down on the floor and started to sort everything out, Ellinor had her FASS ( a big medicine book), Shannon her computer and a dictionary. Together they started to sort everything out and Roger took notes on small pieces of paper and piled boxes on top of them. And there it was and Roger went WOW! I had no idea! Wow now I have this! He got more and more excited as he realised what he had.
On top of that he got the SeaMercy medicines donated by Port Denarau and he was all smiles. This guy is a hero, he is smart, organised and unafraid. They have one delivery room at the station, and he does all on the island (if they make it in time). He has to do everything including growing their own food.The reson being that the goverment has not paid him since December.
Believe me, nobody on this island is asking for charity or favoures. When we offered them to unload rice, lentild etc according to the plan they said "No, Keep it for villages that really need it. We will get a boat coming in on Friday with more rice etc for us".
Our impression is that they are extremely organised and that the cyclone did not let them down. Ben told me that the only scary thing about this cyclone was that they never seen one in daylight. He told me with wide open eyes how they stood in the protection of one house and saw another take off with the wind and land in a tree. He also said that one of the elders in the village told him there has not been one like this since 1955.
Which brings me to another issue, it is my birthday today and that has been the most different you could ask for.
Other than getting some really nice mails Erika went up and made me a fruit salad, and an email from Richard on SeaMercy made everybody in the fleet aware of my day. So coming back in the dark with the doctors tonight, we landed the dinghy on LilExplorer and there they all sang and had a cake made for me! On top of that, Erika had made an oven pancake on our boat.
It is amazing to run all this work and having all the family business so close. LilExplorer is an amazing boat, a family with five kids, the youngest being 2 years old to a 9 year old, then a teenager who is very confident and responsible (they have her run the radionet for instance), and three adults!
Now you might think the imigration issue is resolved, far from, it is now all the way up to the prime minister and the latest news is that we will see an immigration officer trying to land here tomorrow. Another plane tried to land here today but did not make it (yes the sound is hysterical when a plane is landing and suddenly has to take off again and disappears).
Tomorrow the docotrs will run the clinic for villagers that will come here, the "fathers" will take the pile of kids off shore to "Mistery Island" and have some leasure time with them.
The day after we will sail off along the coast to Port Patrick which is NOT a port, it is a bay with lots of corals. That's our next stop...Unless immigration puts an end to it....