Back when I was younger 24 or so. We used to have a saying. It
was all about the Mission. Or Mish for
short. It started one night when I was dropping my mates back home in my old
beaten up Honda Civic Shuttle. All 1300cc of her. We would drive to the bottom
of Brooklyn Hill in Wellington and do what we called the Coaster Challenge.
The Coaster Challenge was simply this. Hit the 70kpm mark
and from the traffic lights at Brooklyn, see how far you could coast with the
car out of gear, down around Owhiro Bay and towards Island Bay. Our record was
to the 5th lamp post past the old Brass Monkey Café a distance of
2-3km. It became legendary between a few of us and was a common Friday night
I arrived in PNG to stay in a Missionary House called
Mapang. An amazing place that housed many true Missionaries. Ones who gladly
tell you about how many people they have on the ground or how many villages
they are actively serving. Many who to me treated the house staff like servants
and gave others very little time. Don’t get me wrong there were many who were
great – if you like that sort of talk. However, I felt odd. I wasn’t here to
administer medicine, or give out bibles. I wasn’t here to set the world on
fire. No I am here to rebuild a hospital; I was to work in supply and
logistics. Spending most of my day staring at CAD drawings, changing what will
not be possible in the bush and redrawing Trusses to include lower pitch angles
and larger overhangs. Sorting out supply issues and fighting off the heat in an
office that leans so badly my chair rolls from one end to the other while I
hang on for dear life. I was an office Mule. Ordering and designing my way
through the tough conditions of being in the Gulf. I was not in my mind an Missionary ( but in
that case aren’t we all called to be missionaries, in our everyday life) Hang
in my mind I wasn’t even really sure if I was a Christian. Not one that could
set the world on fire anyways.
The Gulf especially Kapuna soon changed that! The first week
was spent with a virus or something ripping through my family. The first Night
we had a boy who couldn’t make the bathroom. Sheets dirtied through, a toilet
that wasn’t working and all of us ready to throw it all in. Calling out to God,
pleading with him to cure my boy, praying that when my girl and wife got it
which they did. He would heal them quickly. Prayers that I felt fell on deaf
ears. No we didn’t get healed instantly, We went though many nights and many
sheets till everyone was well enough to leave the house. What was I doing here I didn’t belong in this
place. I put my family in the way of danger. Doubts were very real and I really
wanted to be home.
One week later we
were 90 per cent, we made our first Church service. It was based on the Volunteers
Calling to be here in Kapuna. One of my colleges who have been in supply for
years shared his calling. It was exactly what I had needed to hear. We in supply and building. We were the ones
who were making the infrastructure for the others to use in their calling. Without
us that was a lot harder. Finally I could see in another light. I was meant to
be here. Homesick or not I am doing what needs to be done for the Others to
come through and administer Healing or Preaching, Teaching or whatever their
calling is to be. It was an acceptance letter from the Lord. I was here to do
his work, important work that would provide the base for many more patents to
be healed, and for others to fulfil their callings.
My Mission I guess is to make it through the next 6 -12
months. To do the best I can to rebuild this project on budget and on time. My
Mission is to ensure I don’t miss this place by wishing to be back home (were
my heart really is at the moment). My
mission to grow in faith and knowledge of a loving Saviour.
I have made some good friends. Their names are Joshua,
Stephen, Moses, Peter and lots of others. We hunt fish with a bow and arrow,
that we make from bamboo and coconut palm leaves as arrows. When you shoot at
wood they go straight into it and make a big hole.
We have made fires and cooked spicy food with ginger and
noodle on the fire. And most of the time I have been carrying a grass knife and
a bush knife [machete]. The grass knife is the coolest one as it’s the sharpest
one. We make canoe boats in the back creek and we have fun. Tonight we had a
big thunder storm.
I start school on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to school.
I might be in grade 4 and if I’m in grade 4 I have a New Zealand teacher. Me
and my friends have been running everywhere and have seen a lot of flying foxes
in their nests and have seen one fly out. I miss New Zealand and
everyone and will see you in a year. Love Isaiah.
I’m lying in the dark in a safe cocoon. We stitched the net up on our third night
here and Matt has gone through his nightly ritual of scanning it with a torch
for mosquitos before the lights went out. This is invariably accompanied by a
series of repetitions of phrases like “ah missed em!”, “where’s e gone?” and
“got em!” Malaria is no joke, though, so I’m fortunate to have a husband with a
bug hatred bordering on the fanatical. I
feel secure in here, not only from mozzies, but also giant moths, flying ants,
lizards, spiders and any number of other insects that I am yet to put a name
to. Eli, my creature-obsessed nephew,
would have a field day in this country, though I suspect even he would prefer
the critters remained on the outside of his mosquito net at night time.
The frogs are very good time keepers. They start croaking
just before the generator starts up. They are remarkably loud, rhythmic and
mechanical sounding. I thought they were generator noises the first night. Then
there are crickets, and, depending on the hour, roosters also. Saint Peter may have denied the Lord three
times before the cock crowed, but anyone who has lived in close proximity to a
cock will tell you this does not mean they only crow at sunrise. While
certainly serene, the average night a Kapuna is far from silent.
It’s the end of January and we’re heading towards rainy
season. During the day the sun heats this swamp and all of us in it. Great
clouds of vapour pile up and the humidity rises until its past unbearable for a
Wellingtonian. After the sun has set, all that water comes crashing back down
bringing some slight relief from the heat, though not enough to justify pyjamas,
or even a top sheet. Most nights there is a torrential down pour. We have no
window panes, rather grates with great louvers propped up by poles that can be
lowered in case of a storm, and wide awnings out of each side of our house. This
tropical climate is really quite something and I’m lying, wondering if and when
tonight’s downpour will start. The water
tanks are full at this time of year so anything more than a light shower will
run out as overflow adding to the cacophony as it hits the tank’s iron footing.
This weekend, Lord willing, I’m going scavenging for a decent bit of sago palm
bark for a gutter extension, a spade and some plastic sheeting of some
description. With all this humidity the kids could do with a paddling pool! In
the mean time though, I’m happy to get a bit of sleep safe in my dark tropical
We are the
Noakes family from Lower Hutt, New Zealand. This is the story of our big
adventure to Papua New Guinea! We’re at Kapuna Rural Hospital in Gulf Province,
an isolated village hospital 3 hours down the Purari river from the Purari
airstrip and several hours west of Kerema township. It was established by the
Anglican CMS in the 1950s and is now run by Gulf Christian Services, a local
nondenominational Christian Charity.
Rebekah: I’m a
mother and a Registured Nurse. I was at Kapuna 12 years ago for 3 months
between my first and second years of nursing traing and have hoped to return
since that time. I will be doing some teaching at the Community Health Worker
Training School as well as Nursing Management projects at Kapuna including helping
scale up TB control projects.
Matt: I have
worked in a range of sales jobs before coming to Kapuna, mostly in the
industrial sector. I will be drawing on this experience, as well as my personal
skills in building and engineering in my roles as Supply Coordinator/Work Site
Preparation Officer. I love my kids and I’m enjoying spending more time with
them since I finished work in New Zealand, but am missing my eldest, Tayla, who
is still living in Dunedin with her mother. I’m a mad keen fly fisherman and
very hopeful of getting into some tropical species.
Isaiah: I’m 7
years old and will be going to school at Kapuna this year. I love friends,
being outside, hard work, using tools and fishing with Dad.
Mercy: I’m 5
and Mum and Dad have decided that I will start school when I get back to New
Zealand. I will be going to Kindergarten at Kapuna. I love imaginative play,
animal families and learning my letters.
following our blog. Please leave comments, we’d love to hear from you!
On the small plane we drove through a Thunderstorm. It was fun, and all the people laughed at me for saying so.
We landed on a earth strip, we got off the plane and then went on a boat which was fast!!!! I sat on Daddy’s knee the whole way. We sped down river! We were down below the thunderstorm. We got to Kapuna and walked down the long wharf to get some water. Then we found our house. Everyone was tired and sick especially Isaiah.