It is 3am, and I have finally got internet access. Telecom has not been able to re-establish reliable phone or internet signal since the cyclone, causing much frustration here. I can’t sleep due to competing noise from opposite sides of my house. Loud amplified music form beside the airstrip is symbolic of the new, whilst unaccompanied singing from Lodumaho village behind me is part of the custom, as the recently deceased person awaits burial tomorrow.
In the hospital we are experiencing the same contrasts. A young newly diagnosed diabetic from an island in Roviana lagoon arrived yesterday with a horribly infected foot she had ignored for 2 weeks and may need amputation. Outside, Burnside rotary are working to improve our sanitation whilst other rotary teams are installing generators to supply power to local schools.
Graham will be joining me here in 2 weeks and already has a list of jobs to do in Honiara en route. We are still hoping to install solar power with the money received from Taiwan, but everything here takes time and patience.
We are finally emerging from a difficult period where we have felt cut off from the world. I amputated a gangrenous toe, but the lady needed more radical surgery. Transport out was not possible for a few days, so great was my relief when it was safe enough to send the canoe to Gizo. Extra flights were put on to catch up, but there was some frustration amongst the overseas visitors who had lost their connections. It is now calm, but the sea remains deliciously cool as I resume my afternoon swims. Yesterday, a lady who had paddled a considerable distance with her market produce, decided to seek an opinion regarding her painful abdominal swelling, present from the previous day. Within 3 hours she was on the flight to Honiara with an obstructed abdominal hernia.
Communication with the West Province has been poor over the last 10 days due to a cyclone affecting Isabel Province to the north east. As a result flights to and from Munda have been cancelled intermittently over this period and canoe travel restricted, though apparently a canoe did leave the hospital for Gizo 4 days ago with 5 patients, one of them very ill. The weather is now beginning to improve, but Solomon Telekom is still having problems with their satellite dish, so internet is not available. Some text messages are being received here but telephone calls are not possible. Hopefully travel will get back to normal soon to allow patient transfer as required.