After being briefed by the ship manager and a time of prayer, volunteers serving aboard the m/v PACIFIC LINK made their way to Basken Village on a day that typifies YWAM medical outreaches in Papua New Guinea. During that outreach earlier this year, primary healthcare volunteers who had recently been trained at Port YWAM Kona, Hawaii, were ready to provide clinics for people who were far beyond the reach of health care.
They were travelling with a group of 20 that also included translators, administrators and community-engagement workers who climbed into a pair of Land Cruisers and trekked up to the mountainside village. After driving for an hour en route to the base of the mountain and another hour up a dirt road, the team reached Basken Village. There, locals welcomed the team under a makeshift tent made of bamboo poles and leaves they had set up to shield the volunteers from the familiar scorch of mid-afternoon heat.
In the midst of the stilted, grass-walled huts of Basken Village, the healthcare team set up vaccination clinics for infants, wound-care stations and consultation services.They also taught on basic sanitation and hygiene while the community-engagement team helped villagers download the Jesus film and audio Bible onto their phones. As many as 300 people showed up that day to avoid the long and expensive drive down to the Madang hospital.
At least a quarter of the people on hand for the clinics were mothers with their babies. There were also farmers who sought treatment for the aches and pains that often result from their labor. All in all, about 10 percent of the village’s 3,000 residents were present for the clinics which started at about 1:30 p.m. that day.
By 4:30 they were forced by heavy rain to begin shutting down the clinics. But locals would not allow the volunteers to leave — not before serving them a “Thank you” meal of chicken, rice, plantains and greens.
So far this year, YWAM medical volunteers have delivered more than 39,000 healthcare services in remote settings like Basken.