Fieldset
Leaving Lae and a New Log

I'm currently back in Lae for the final time. I came back to help out with a few things and then the Cholera outbreak occurred. MSF responded full force and at the time of writing patient numbers have dropped to a couple per day.

I'm currently back in Lae for the final time. I came back to help out with a few things and then the Cholera outbreak occurred. MSF responded full force and at the time of writing patient numbers have dropped to a couple per day. I am sure that our speedy action prevented the outbreak from mushrooming and I am very proud of what we all did.

In the past few days my replacement has arrived. The team have been nervous about my replacement arriving for some time, but I am so relieved that not only is he enthusiastic and full of ideas but he is also half-Scottish!

The new guy immediately advises that his bus journey from the airport was done at super high speed (as do many first time visitors) thinking that the drivers were a bit reckless. I explain that the airport road is a bit notorious and that moving fast is done to thwart those who would like to stop the vehicle to rob the occupants (earlier in the year, our security guard witnessed an attempted robbery go wrong when an angry mob grabbed the gun from the robber and beat his face with his own gun until his own eye fell out of his skull, chopped the top of his head off and gave him over to the police.)

On Monday we have our daily security meeting and the staff reports the incidents they know of. Monday's meeting are always full of nasty evenings, and today's is no exception with stories of robbery, rape, gangs fighting with bushknives and people selling stolen goods on the market. 2 incidents we hear of actually involve our own staff: one lady was chased by a man with a bushknife (machete) after a crowd tried to stop him beating his wife in public and one of our nurses was punched and robbed of her bag of books on Saturday after church.

Photo: C Houston, MSF | Bushknife section in hardware shop.

Photo: C Houston, MSF | Bushknife section in hardware shop.

One of our councillors reported girls being abducted by men, but fortunately they escaped after they shouted out for help and some other men chased the perpetrators away. She also witnessed a fight outside the hardware shop between men with bushknives. I can see that our new log is just a little bit surprised by the number of incidents that our staff encountered of heard.

Later in the day we stop movements after the Cholera team phone us to say their logistician is taking refuge in a hardware store while shots are being fired in the market area. We later learn that "raskols" stole a car and tried to rob a bank. Police killed 2 of them on the scene.

Wednesday bring reports of 63 prisoners escaping from the main prison in the capitol city and a bloody fight at a school in the Eastern Highlands that involved 4 deaths, one by decapitation.

Our new log quickly learns that PNG is a busy place and we agree to continue with the high speed journeys to the airport.