This time we arrived at the CBC Guesthouse, next door to the Sea View Hotel where we stayed last time, and the power was out. It was pitch black. There were dishes strewn all over the kitchen (but that was because of the power blackout), under torchlight everything looked a little grimy; I was tired and hot – since leaving Perth we’d been travelling for nearly 24 hours! I felt relieved to finally be in Wewak. But overwhelmed again! This time I had another midwife and an ambulance volunteer: I was meant to be strong, capable, lead the way confidently. And all I could muster was a snivelling apology for my show of emotion. “I’ll have to warn future team members that I always cry on the first night”, I said jokingly. Inwardly I wondered what they thought of me. We boiled some water on the gas stove and made our dehydrated meal for the night; nothing to write home about, but it was warm and it was food. The bin was overflowing with rubbish and I saw a rat scuttle away into the lounge area. Then the lights came on.
Oh what a relief to have power. We turned on the fans and felt instantly cooler. The bathroom was very basic but it did have a lovely shower head and the water was cool from the water tanks. Bliss. The toilet flushed – yay! A massive cockroach ran across the bathmat on the floor. “Where is the rat?” I thought.
The tears flowed a little more. The enormity of the week ahead was really weighing on my shoulders. I’d returned. “Why?” I remember asking myself in my head. This is such a far far far away place. “What on Earth can you do here from that distance?”. I thought of the village, the women I met last time, the stories of suffering and death and I told myself, “Just get over yourself. A little bit of suffering for a short time is all you’ll have to deal with and then you can go home to your comfortable life in Perth.”
Mike was great. He reminded us of all the things we could be thankful for over the past 24 hours and even admitted he had had a few moments of concern. We had difficulty with our excess baggage at the Air Nuigini checkin and had to run around a bit to sort that out. Then when we arrived at the domestic terminal in Port Moresby, our flight to Wewak wasn’t even listed on the screen and it looked like it had gone without us!! The flight was late to leave and we arrived in Wewak after a huge rain storm and with plenty of clouds still hanging about, so the fact that we actually landed in Wewak was a good sign.
Things to be thankful for? Arrived in Wewak safely, we had enough money to pay for the excess baggage in Port Moresby, the people who said they’d be there to meet us at the airport were there and it was good to see them again: John, Susie and Yabru. The guesthouse was warm and welcoming – the other guests were all local missionaries from mostly West Sepik area and we had a few good conversations with them, the power was back on and we had clean beds to sleep in, a fan above our heads and a flushing toilet. After praying, we all went to bed and had a restless night’s sleep – the guests at the Sea View Hotel next door were playing up: lots of shouting and carrying on late into the night and early morning!
We also didn’t have to wake up too early for the car ride to Angoram as we did last time. We had a rest day in Wewak. Nice.