So, it's mid may. I'm half way though my mission. May started nicely, I got a holiday which meant a flight and an opportunity to see Papua-New Guinea from the air. After over 4 months in the industrial city of Lae it was refreshing to see the beauty of PNG from above, and to see the dense forrest, the pointy ridged hills and mountains. It's quite a contrast to the industrial sites and the settlements in which I spend my time currently.
I returned from holiday and was relived to find I had not missed any major dramas and was planning a relaxing month catching up on paperwork and planning. (Planning is important with local awareness of the clinic soaring and patient numbers doing the same.) Alas, my plans for a peaceful month were shattered when protests that started in the capitol city also spread to Lae. With anti-Chinese sentiments running high, angry locals started looting shops. As the situation escalated, we received information from various sources, including friends who were trapped inside a supermarket. The police responded with firearms and tear gas. For the first time since my arrival we decided to close the clinic early and to shuttle the staff to the bus stops that were still open as soon as it was safe to do so. The protests left three dead.
The same week the latest malaria wave seems to pass Lae and I spend far too much time redrafting rotas to try and cover the gaps. Since I've been here the majority of the staff working for me have had malaria. Fortunately for them, we have a staff health care policy and we make sure they get the proper medication. Next week we are doing some malaria training and giving everyone a mozzy net.