Home Alone in Madan Coffee & Tea Plantation, Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea
Hope to make this note a catch-up note with fewer details but interesting stories I hope.
Sunday 25 January: as a crippled Man I had to ride in back of pickup all the way to Avi School and Church without opportunity to walk and enjoy the way as walking on bad roads sometimes it not much slower than driving. The joy was to attend church and the surprise is that I was told what time to come and I said “it will never start at that time”. Therefore I came fashionable late and they had started exactly on time so I had to apologize. That must be the first time in our village churches they started on time except for our local Catholic Church always does.
I invited myself to give the Sponsoring Church of the Avi Nazarene Elementary School a 30 minute uplifting cheerleader pep talk of we can-do speech for Sanitation & Water this is the first of several. I will go to as many churches as there are Sundays giving the same “inspired presentation” as we are talking about health and life. I always have a sense of good or not so good in my speeches and this time it was GOOD. It was a Great day meeting with the church, school board/church board who are the ones that must make it happen. Ownership and Ownership are the two greatest ingredients for each project.
Visited two prospective schools for the Rotary International Global Grant both in desperate need with no facilities at the first school the Avi New Life Elementary with 150 students K, 1, 2, and there is no curriculum or facilities for Water & Sanitation. I could see and feel their desperate plea for help. This is a church sponsored school, Ave New Life Center, as most all are as the government cannot provide all that is needed. However the government does pay many of the teachers in registered schools.
The second prospective school was better and much worse both it is a Lutheran Elementary/Primary Combined School grades K – 6th. One tank with limited roof gutters for catchment. The water collected from the church roof goes to the church and pastor and to school if any is left. The school has 1000s of square meters of roof on 6 buildings for water catchment but need tanks, gutters, hand wash stations and there is a critical need of above ground UDDT (separate the pee and poop) toilets. The school has 550 students with one teacher for class and no assistant 80/class.
Only one pit latrine into a high-water table for females and one for males which falls seriously below World Health Standard service therefore is woefully inadequate for the students.
The drive from the first school above and to the second was 17 Kilometers and we no doubt passed 20+ schools that have very similar needs. It feels like we are trying to swim upstream in polluted water and no toilets along the way
Monday 26 Forget Monday: save we have some wet coffee we need to dry so I pray for a strange miracle that the Breath of God would blow the moisture away and He did but the sunshine was the agent. Forget Monday except Jonnie our clever mechanic, builder, and carpenter is trying to make cement UDDT toilet seats for about $50 US including labor…should be solid enough to hold even heavy weights…we will not try to make the lid out of cement.
27 Tuesday a day for trip to the capital of Jiwaka: One hour to Miji to Jiwaka Provincial Department of Education to meet the Director Erwin Us and We met Us! (Sounds like a good children’s story) Our good friend Dr James Ham has been to help us in PNG twice is bringing a team this summer July/Aug and has a PhD candidate that wants to help develop a basic curriculum for Sanitation & Water for use as a pilot for our schools. We stared at the top to get direction how to proceed. This request looks positive for the pilot study to be accepted…but more steps to take.
Next meeting was to see go the Jiwaka Provincial Department of Rural Health and Meet with Jenney Walep RN Director of Rural Health. It was a great meeting and we should get some much needed supplies for Medical Clinic and Birthing Center. There was verbal comment that we would be elevated to the next level in Rural Health Care but cannot make that official yet.
28 Wednesday a day I have been waiting for—Rotary Meeting Mt Hagen Club: Spent time in AM getting ready to tell our sister club all that has and will happen in Water & Sanitation. Afternoon time with President of Mt Hagen Rotary Club talking about Rotary and Community Based Health Care where he is director and CHBC is a great member of the family of services of Nazarene Health Care. We had dinner together with my homemade vegetable stew that was slow-cooked and well-seasoned and we loved or at least liked it.
Off to Rotary somewhat stormy and the first meeting post the holidays. Believe me PNG squeeze the last drop out of any holiday, weekends etc. and to type A USA citizens it drives this one crazy. We arrived at the Hagen Club it was closed due to the Alcohol ban in the Western Highlands Province and the club makes most of its money on the bar. Alcohol causes so many problems in our area as the young men do not drink socially but to get drunk. I cannot speak for other sub-groups in PNG.
Because of this only 5 people showed up but we had a great meeting and outstanding speaker from America representing the Centralia Rotary Club and District 5020 updating the significate progress of Papua New Guinea Madan Water & Sanitation Project. The speech was well received and all 5 people gave a nice ovation. I hope the next meeting will be an opportunity to tell the story fully and again.
29 Thursday Rotten Coffee and Bad Egg: Made my day start off with a cold water pour through cup of coffee probably would not have scored very high in the cupping lab or on my table top. I have two identical twin electric water pots and when you choose the wrong one and expect a nice cup of coffee and when it looks like weak tea and taste more like the cup than coffee that is not a good day…so being so smart and a real tightwad I boiled the water and tried a second pour over without adding more coffee grounds it again was still too week and not much better. My boiled egg broke and spread white floaters in the boiling pot. So much for Thursday but I did have a full day but routine computer work setting up meetings and avoiding excess stress to my R ankle.
30 Friday and most people were gone by noon: My AM scheduled breakfast follow up with the Department of Education Director of Curriculum Development did not make the meeting for reason I do not know and very anxious to reschedule this coming week. As teaching Sanitation is really hard as the PNG people don’t seem to take the concept of washing hands and using proper toilets as very important so education, education and education is critical to give them knowledge and increase the awareness of why so many are sick and too many unnecessary deaths occur. Illness and infection can be reduced by 75% with Good Water and proper Sanitation practice/programs if they just believe and used facilities and techniques.
Forgot to tell you that all that looks like rice is not rice thinking it “the rice” was presoaked for my frequent vegetable stews I make in the slow-cooker and put it in slow cooker and added all the lovely vegetables and returned 5 hours later and the “rice” had turned to slime at the bottom of cooker. Then I read the label this time and noted it was Rice & Corn Risoni pilaf. I skimmed off most all that was not stuck in the slime I could and saved it for my next several meals. The residual would be hard to get rid of so I offered a taste test to one of my guards who was getting off at midnight and he had 1:30 min walk up to his house in a high village and gave him a salt shaker and all the rich sediments in the bottom he ate them all and was satisfied and ready for his dark, wet and cold walk up the very bad trail and road. My loss became his gain and all that ends well is a good thing. I have not seen him yet but I assume he is well from the rich vitamin food I gave (unloaded) on him
31 January Saturday and now I come back to the title of my update HOME ALONE: It is Saturday and no one working save for security and a few managers. No mill workers, no pickers, no drivers, no field workers, no tour groups, cannot walk about plantation and community area, no visitors so home alone in Madan Coffee & Tea Plantation is an accurate statement and those that know me well no I dislike alone time…in case you don’t other people make up most of the world population. It is normal and the best characteristic for human kind not to be alone and I guess I like the human zoo. This fact is based on my personal knowledge and I am a Doctor and I know a lot to quote Dr Doolittle.
February 1 Sunday: Good Sunday was able to go to nearby Christian Life Center Church where our 4th school of Water is & Sanitation project is located. I asked to speak to them as a congregation so they can reinforce what is being done at the school and why. They did not have much knowledge but understood the simple concept that dirty water can kill and make you sick. They did not understand that hand washing with soap and proper sanitation is even more important than clean water. They understood that simple is much when it comes to Sanitation and changes can be made and are very helpful. They want this for their kids, school, church and community.
The entire AM event was long…told to come at 9 nothing happened until 10 and they sang and prayed for an hour and it was pretty good songs few were in English and were happy and upbeat. One song said we got Jesus and we were the best and we got Jesus and we are the most the other verses were in their language. My turn to speak lasted 20 minutes and then the quest speaker evangelist spoke for 1 hour and 5 minutes and yes I did time him.
I really did enjoy the church and service despite it being long.
I tried to sneak out and go home but they had prepared a meal for me of chicken and mixed vegetable was nice but no place to wash my hands and I had shook hands with at least 50 people so am sure I got more than chicken and vegetables—some germs that where not good to my system. I accepted and appreciated the meal greatly but not the germs and hoped I would be and stay well anyway.
February 2 Monday Water & Sanitation at its BEST: (GOD DOES NOT WASTE ANYTHING) One of my best days for sure as I and my team of 4 others were able to have a real workshop with the man in PNG that I am sure knows more than anyone about sanitation and water. He is developer, owner and managing partner of ATProjects, Advanced Technology, for many years and is very successful. He is a true innovator, creator of a large business and workshop in Water & Sanitation and has done thousands of toilets of all design.
Now most are UDDT, where you divide the pee & poop, and he, Steve Layton is getting rid of septic tanks and drain fields and sewer systems. God does not waste anything and Steve Layton has taken a page out of Gods playbook when it comes to sanitation as all waste is divided into its components and reused completing the circle of life.
In simple terms we eat the plant use what we can for life and discharge the rest in waste. We take the waste and use the urine right away with dilution 10 to 1 with water and use for organic fertilizer. The feces are composted and turned into rich humus soil and organic fertilizer and give it all back to the plants completing the circle of life.
This is what we are doing at all our project schools, villages, compounds and plantation going around in circles good becomes bad(waste) and waste becomes good (plant food). No pollution or wasting of the best water in the world by pooping and peeing in it and send it away contaminated at great cost to all while we are still polluting our streams, rivers and oceans.
NOW FULL STEAM AHEAD with the Rotary International Global Grant 1417147 the Papua New Guinea Madan Water & Sanitation Project that is on and around our plantation. When we are finished in 3 to 4 more years there will be 40,000 people with better lives and health with fewer preventable deaths.
Join Rotary and all of us in the journey of health. I spent my life treating disease and now I am doing the better and more important Rx preventing disease and improving our environment.
Remember our www.nawokabaut.org a 501(c) (3) nonprofit for donations for our several ongoing humanitarian projects. Thanks.