The outreach in Vitu was amazing. As we brought care to the people of Vitu, they blessed us in ways that we will never forget. More beautiful than riches were the smiles and love that they poured out onto us.
As the week went on, we were able to bring water filters to many of the homes and community areas of many of the villages around the island. Most people drink only coconut water due to the lack of access to clean drinking water. We were able to supply and install water filters that will last years to a lifetime depending on the number of people using each filter. Many children with dehydration and bowel problems were able to receive clean water from these filters!
Our clinics continued to see a wide variety of patients. One doctor was able to see and treat a local with a ventricular septal defect to the heart. Many cases of malaria and tuberculosis were treated preventing fatality. After the first day, I was able to learn not only how to do village pharmacy, but also how to teach on the medications in Tok Pisin, their native tongue.
For many, the simple antibiotics, malaria medication, and more that were prescribed turned what could be fatal into a healthy and happy patient. The infections and illnesses that most people can easily be cured of in less remote locations have the capability to kill many who have no access to medication at all.
Later on in the week, I saw a man with a large wound on his foot. As I began to observe the wound, I found that this manʼs wound had started on the opposite side of his foot from where it now is. Rather than healing, his wound was worsening and moving to an entirely new location. His wound had been present for almost a year. What once started as a dime sized wound had grown to encompass his entire foot. After beginning intense antibiotics and receiving multiple dressing changes throughout the week, this young man who could barely walk is now on the path to recovery!
Fatal illnesses turned into smiles. People were able to drop their crutches, begin using their hands again, stop the infection in their blood, and breathe normally for the first time in years.
Our immunization clinic was a success; bringing immunizations to hundreds of children around the island. On these remote islands, tetanus shots, tuberculosis shots, and basic childhood immunizations can save countless lives.
The eye surgeries continued with a 100% success rate in this village giving many who were once blind or impaired their sight back! There is nothing quite like seeing the look on someones face when they receive their sight again. On top of eye surgeries, many received dental surgery, lipoma removals, and more.
Meanwhile, aside of the clinics, our engineers and handy men were hard at work fixing anything and everything that had been broken.
The day that we were scheduled to sail from Vitu, the people invited us to shore for a goodbye ceremony. They danced and sang for us; thanking us for our aid and love. Community leaders gave formal speeches of thanks, and our team leaders thanked the people for their hospitality.
Tears, hugs, and fruit were exchanged as we headed back to our ship ending the outreach.
The people of Vitu are unlike any people I have ever met. The way they live is so simply and the way they love and care for one another challenges us.
The people felt seen, heard and blessed. We could not have asked for anything more. We would gladly continue to lay down all that we have to see one more scald burn baby receive help, one more person hear the gospel, or one more blind see again.
To lay down all of my comforts to save a life is worth it. I am so excited to see what this journey in Papua New Guinea continues to bring!
As we began to sail away at dark, one of the most touching moments I have ever experienced happened. You know those moments that mark you? The ones you will never forget? As we began sailing, a bright light from a banana boat near shore came on…and then came the call.
The people from the banana boat cried up into the mountains on shore and across the island, lights began to shine on us. As we looked out into the mountains, lights shone bright from countless villages while people chanted us goodbye from the tops of their lungs.
Their chants rang and echoed across the waters. We began to shine our lights and chant back. The moment was almost surreal, as if it were a dream. But it wasnʼt a dream..this was all true.
This is what love without borders looked like. This is what the hands and feet of Jesus bears. Beauty beyond comparison.
By Emily West
Port YWAM Kona DTS student