Fieldset
Tari, first weeks

In some ways it seems like I've only been here a few days, things move so fast in Tari – but in other ways it seems like I've been here forever, it is so easy to understand the challenges in Tari they are often so similar to those in Lae.

In some ways it seems like I've only been here a few days, things move so fast in Tari – but in other ways it seems like I've been here forever, it is so easy to understand the challenges in Tari they are often so similar to those in Lae.

Tari General Hospital

Tari General Hospital

I have actually been in Tari for about 2½ weeks. Since then I've been woken by VHF radio most nights when the hospital staff need the assistance of the expat nurses, anesthetist or surgeon. Last week the entire team responded at midnight to a lady who had been stabbed, I dealt with the extended family, tried to persuade them to donate blood, ran errands for the medics, fetching oxygen or passing messages to the laboratory technician who was collecting the blood.

Twice since I've been here I've had to stop the vehicle to unexpectedly bring people to the hospital. One lady was unmissable: she was lying motionless, bleeding in the middle of the road. My new boss and I jumped out (fortunately she is also a nurse) picked her up, put her in the back of the vehicle and drove back to the hospital. By way of an explanation of her injuries she said only "Niupella Meri" (new woman) and immediately it was clear, I had heard it all before so many times in Lae. Her husband had a new wife and this was his way of letting her know. She had been stabbed in the hip punched in the face so hard she was unconscious.

Stabbings and choppings seem to be the most common problems that I see. I see a lot more here than I did in the clinic in Lae. There is a lot going on and I'm rushing about between building projects, helping a nurse move a patient or trying to get a generator started and so I see a lot of our patients who all love to chat. I was given some wonderful presents when I left Lae, most items of jewelry or bilums (man bags) so a group of patients call me "Morobe Mangi" (Morobe being the province that Lae is within, Mangi meaning "boy") as they can tell where my bag comes from. Being able to speak Pidgin makes my life easy. Although Huli is the first language of Tari, Tok Pisin is the second language and most people understand it. And everyone likes to talk and knows who MSF are, they all remember when the hospital didn't function and are very glad that it does now. I'm very glad to be here.