As the m/v PACIFIC LINK has sailed across Papua New Guinea to provide primary- and dental-health care, its crew has been heavily made up of expatriates. But Davara Inammoi and Ludwina Naro are among the PNG nationals to volunteer onboard the YWAM Ships Kona vessel who have strengthened the outreach efforts, according to those who worked closely with the pair.
Inammoi and Naro — dental residents working under the auspices of the Papua New Guinea National Department of Health, or NDOH — sailed aboard the PACIFIC LINK to Bagabag Island in March. They also participated in village clinics around Madang Province. Charlene Reid, who directs the dental outreaches for the ship, said she was impressed by the skill displayed by the trainees.
“These residents are far more advanced than in the Western world,” said Reid, 59, of the United States. “In the Western world, they don’t see the prevalence of oral disease like they do in Papua New Guinea. So, they are far more advanced here in terms of dental knowledge.”
Inammoi, 27, said she wasn’t sure what she was signing up for when she agreed to join the outreach group, but the experience was culturally enriching.
“I got to know the other volunteers and found out about Youth With A Mission. Before that, I didn’t know what YWAM was,” Inammoi said. “I was happy because when I was onboard, I thought I would stay in my corner and work with dental patients, but I ended up making friends from all over the world.”
The NDOH informed Naro and Inammoi in February about an opportunity to join the PACIFIC LINK. Neither had been to Bagabag Island prior to joining the crew. Naro, 25, said it was rewarding to bring dentistry to such an isolated location.
“It was a new experience to travel out and do dentistry in the village. We enjoyed ourselves. The people in Bagabag really needed dental care, especially the elderly,” she said.
Inammoi said she and Naro’s work on the island added a new dimension to their training.
“Most of the time when I’m doing my residency training it’s in an indoor setting, not in the open. Everything we need is there and it’s routine,” Inammoi said. “It was interesting to practice dentistry in a village. The challenge was finding ways to do successful dental procedures outside of a controlled environment.”
The two will complete their residency training at the end of this year. After that, they will submit paperwork to receive their licenses. As part of their certification, they will report on the work they did while volunteering with YWAM Ships. They kept detailed documentation of every patient they treated as PACIFIC LINK crew.
Both residents say they would love to serve on the ship again when their training is complete. Inammoi said, “I want to give back to the community and this was a great way to do that.”
Reid said she would “definitely” enjoy working with Naro and Imammoi again.
“They are going to be fine dentists,” she said. “They have a promising future.”