Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tabloids, Toilets and Teeth

That was my wonderful witty husband’s suggestion for a title and I guess I had better explain the relevance. First the Tabloids…

There was a Letter to the Editor in the National Newspaper yesterday and this is how it read:

Lae is fast becoming a haven for thugs and ruffians who have no respect for the citizens, visitors or tourists. It is sick to watch innocent people being harassed in broad daylight and the city authorities and police doing nothing to combat crime.
Adding to this, the potholes are getting deeper and bigger. The government has already set aside millions of kina to patch up Lae Roads. What is happening to the money, Governor Wenge? There is dust everywhere and it is like walking into a dust storm in the Sahara Desert. Can somebody do something about raskols (criminals), dust and potholes?

We read this letter and thought: well that about sums up the way many people feel here in Lae!
Some days I get that feeling, too. The feeling of - what is going on in this country? The other day was one of those days. The day began with a very stressful meeting for Andrew, where violent threats and the like were made (thankfully, the next day a resolution of sorts could be reached). This meeting involved long standing problems in part of our church group.
Then, as I was driving to pick up the girls after school I saw a man running on the side of the road (in the direction towards us on the side of the road). I immediately thought, “I wonder what he has done wrong to be running away so fast?” Sure enough, about 50 meters down the road I saw a car on the side of the road with heaps of people around it yelling and screaming and kicking and hitting the car. Traffic had come to a bit of a standstill, and I wanted to turn the car around and go another way to school, as we try to avoid fights as much as possible as you don’t know how crazy they can turn out to be. But by this time I was wedged in by two busses. Thankfully, however, someone eventually caught on that the man who they were seeking (for doing whatever was making them angry) was actually running away. Suddenly, as many people as physically possible crammed into the car and it skided off after the man who I saw running down the road. Sure feel sorry for that guy if they caught up with him!
I breathed a sigh of relief as the traffic started moving again, expressing a prayer of thanks to God, when another 50 meters down the road I see an old man stooping over a rubbish bin and rummaging madly through it for some hidden “treasures”. By this time I have tears in my eyes. Strange maybe. These incidents are common enough around here, but sometimes when you’re having a “bad” day they affect you more than usual.
On a happier note:

We had an enjoyable week with Sean Eikelboom. He really did well with the people here and was very easy to have around – even cut up the pumpkin for me when I was making pumpkin soup (boy, was I glad about that because I hate that job!). Ashlyn loved having him around and I think he got to play all sorts of things from Playdo to dolls!! The older girls played a few games of Settlers with him too and loved it.
…and now this is where I get on to the Toilet bit…while Sean was here he got together with some brothers in the church and they renovated the toilets (outhouse) at the church. They have real swinging doors on them now, and metal sheeting for walls (they used to be made from bush materials but were a little worse for wear!). Everyone has commented on the great improvement. So even in the short week he was here, he still got a bit done, and on top of this got to experience many new things!

And then to the Teeth… On Wednesday afternoon Kirilee was swimming and somehow managed to bang her teeth on the bottom of the pool and completely broke off a piece of one of her front teeth!! I could not believe it. And that when we live in a city like Lae where there is only one dentist (there used to be another one, but no more - he was scared away by criminals holding up his store), and this dentist does not even have an x-ray machine or an assistant (not because he does not want to, by the way, but simply because he hasn’t been able to afford them yet).
I could not get hold of the dentist, so I decided to call the clinic in Ukarumpa (for those who don’t remember – the SIL base about a 3 hour drive away). As per usually they were extremely helpful and wonderfully let me speak to the American dentist on staff. He asked me some questions and then I emailed him a few photos. By his estimation the break did not go all the way down to the nerve, so although it needed to be fixed relatively soon, it could wait till our trip to Australia (I, however, neglected to tell him that it was still a number of weeks before we woudl be able to see a dentist). It is still another 6 weeks or so before we will be in WA and then it will be Christmas, etc, etc, and poor Kirilee was just so loathe to have to show her face in public (and she’s only 9!! “But Mum, the boys at school will laugh at me!!).
We so did not fancy another trip to Ukarumpa as life is just too busy right now, and we would have to take the girls of school again (though we would have if necessary), so I called the brother of the dentist and finally got through to the dentist that night. I thought I would see what he could do the next day, and it turns out he specialises in Cosmetic Dentistry! He is a national but has also been in NZ for two years, especially working with Cosmetic Dentistry. About an hour later and Kirilee’s tooth was looking pretty good again. Okay, so the tint is not quite right – the dentist apologized as he only had one tint (in Australia they would have more tints and could get the colour perfect..), but we’re not complaining. We are just so thankful that we could get it done. It’s when little mishaps like this happen, that we are quickly reminded of the fact that we do live in a 3rd world country and it is much harder to come by the specialist help you need. But the Lord sure provided for us in this mishap!

I only have a before of her tooth…maybe one day I will snap an after shot!!


Anonymous said...

Thankful to hear that Kirilee's tooth has been fixed, saves another quick trip to Ukarumpa. We can relate to the notice in the newspaper and would definitely endorse it. Looks as if things aren't improving at all yet. Glad to hear that you enjoyed your visitor. He probably enjoyed the experience as well.


Wow that was quite a read. May God continue to provide you with much love, joy and peace in your heart to know that He will guide and protect you daily.
I guess you will be getting excited too as Australia is getting closer.
We sure dont really know what you experience but do believe that God watches and cares for you all.
Wishing you much strength and love in your weeks before furlough:)
our best regards Jen and Hil