Randy Smith returned Thursday from town with our supplies for the next two
months and mail. I received some of the baby packs that you folks have
assembled and sent, and I'm excited to start using them in the clinic. Ben
Ritschard, son of the Ritschards who are GFA missionaries based near Goroka,
came out to spend a week working with Jeremy Dion (our missions intern), so
they have been busy on various projects. Clinic has stayed fairly busy but
uneventful. I've seen lots of babies and toddlers with respiratory
infections, so something must be going around.
When I'm not busy in the clinic, my time has been filled with language study
and organizing medical supplies. There are probably 20 large crates full to
the brim of various kinds of medical supplies -- some of it very useful and
some of it not at all. (For instance, I'm not planning on doing open heart
surgery any time soon, so that open heart instrument kit probably won't be a
lot of help. And, no, I'm not joking.) This morning, I spent a couple hours
going through one of those crates (probably 4ft x 6ft x 4ft) and salvaging
what is usable. Actually, I was working on it in between doing my laundry.
To do laundry, we use what is called a twin tub washer. Maybe you are
familiar with that, but I wasn't. It has two tubs (as its name suggests).
You fill the first tub with water and soap and put your first load of
clothes in. When they finish washing, you transfer the load to the second
tub which spins out the soapy water. Meanwhile, you wash your next load in
the first tub. When all the loads have been through the soapy water, you
change the water and put them back through to rinse, then into the second
tub to spin out the rinse water. Once they are all spun, they can be hung up
to dry. Running the washer requires the generator, of course, so it is also
a good time to charge computer batteries and other electronics.
Well, my laundry is done, but the crate isn't finished yet, so I need to get
back to it. I'm going to attempt to send email first though. That is another
bit of a project. I have a satellite phone that connects into the computer
as a modem. Ideally, the email program just dials through the satellite
phone and sends and receives email, but usually it's not that simple. First,
the sat phone has to find a connection to the satellite (indicated by a
series of beeps from the phone). Then, the computer dials the number and
waits for the phone to start the connection process (indicated by another
beep). Then, we wait and hope for what is called a carrier. I'm really not
sure what that means, but it seems to be hard to get sometimes. More times
than not, I will attempt to call and get a message saying "No Carrier." When
I see that message, I mess with adjustment of the antenna on the satellite
phone, try another number, or sometimes just give up and try another time.
Some days, I try 3-4 times before getting through, and some days I don't get
through at all. So now you understand why sometimes I'm slow in responding
to your emails:-)
Well, I'd better stop before this gets too much longer. Each second of time
that the satellite phone is connected costs money, and the longer the email,
the longer it takes to send. Thanks so much for your prayers and hope all
this detail about daily life here hasn't been too boring.