Ever since I first stepped in Kokoda, I’ve dreamt of bringing medicine to the most isolated communities along the Kokoda track. I’ve made many many different plans on how to, where to and tried to explain why I wanted to face the mountains to bring medicine. This year was not intended to be the year when I would return to Kokoda. But somehow Papua New Guinea IS the Land of the Unexpected and I made it back to Kokoda!
The Provincial Health Office asked our team to help provide services in the catchment area of the Kokoda Health Centre. Equipped with our medical backpacks, two legs each and a strong will to see the sick healed; we walked between 30 minutes to 2:30 hours to clinic daily. Most villages we visited had no Aid Post or running water. Most villages were uphill and quite difficult to get to. So much that a sick person wouldn’t make the trip to the hospital unless they were convinced that they had absolutely no choice.
I love Kokoda, I love the mountains and a good walk. But more than anything I love the idea of bringing hope and healing in remote areas.
My favorite day was the day we hiked to Hoi. Hoi is a village located 2 hrs up from Kokoda on the track. It’s the second big village on the way. The path was long and muddy, the village was beautiful and so were the rivers on the way. Clinic was quiet as the village wasn’t expecting us and had gone to the bush/garden in the morning, but the day was so worth it! On the way to Hoi, we stopped on the track to make a funny video. I thought that I’d be funnier if I had a banana leaf for the video… so Vinka and I went in the bush to fetch me a banana leaf. On our way to the nearest banana tree (which ended up a fair way away…!) we stumbled upon the path to a village. We thought it’d be great to invite the village to come for clinic up in Hoi. We agreed to continue on the path until we arrived to the village ~3 minutes and inform them of our coming. This village was amazing! Away from the track, rarely visited by trekkers, up on a hill and beautiful! Children were running on the soccer field, mamas boiling water on the fire while looking after their babies. Many gathered around us to hear what we had to say, I felt welcomed and loved instantly! This was Mudulu!
MUDULU!!! No way I thought! This is one of the villages I had down on my initial proposal for a trekking IPHC! We had to get back to our team now that I had my banana leaves but stepping in Mudulu and seeing how good the reception in the village was made me dream of what could be. Not only I was dreaming about the future, but Vinka, the local health worker was dreaming too! She was agreeing with me that we should trek together on the trail and reach the villages branching off the trail. She agreed that the need was big and the task was hard, but she put her hand up and said: “Count me in!” Kokoda… I’ll be back :)