Uiaku: A Story of Hope

Some days I walk in complete boldness, confident that I make a difference in the world…

But often times I wonder! Is it all worth it… Are things really changing? Do we make a lasting difference? We’ve been going to the same locations for up to 5 years in some areas… Will we ever work ourselves out of a job!? Maybe, maybe not. At times it sure feels like it’s only a drop in the ocean.

Then days like that days make it all worth it!

We arrived in Uiaku, knowing that an official welcome would be held and that clinics would happen in the afternoon. I was excited at the thought of returning to a location I had visited two years earlier in 2013! But I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen!

I recognized the layout of the land, the creek where we used to wash and the sketchy bridge we used to cross! The school… wait a minute! The school was twice bigger and in much better condition, it was no longer made out of bush material! There was now a new church building in the hub of the village, and to my greatest excitement, a new Aid Post! With running water and solar panels!

When we first came, the aid post was old and crumbling! Esmie, the health worker, had condemned half of the building because patients kept falling through the floor. She had no running water, no electricity and a bare minimum of supplies!

On our initial trip to Oro Province, there were countless Village Assessments! Some days we’d visit up to four villages and barely connect with the village beyond our set of questions. Uiaku was slightly different as we stayed there for a couple days and used the location as a launching pad to reach further isolated villages. We stayed with Esmie and her family and got to learn the challenges she faces and the health conditions of her people.

When we first visited the Miacin people (Uiaku region) we didn’t offer health clinic and to me it felt a lot like a promise with no timeline. We talked about what we could do if we ever came, without saying when we would return. Telling them we were scouting the land finding their needs for YWAM and for their government. I liked saying that we also passed the result of our assessment on to their government! Unconsciously and never spoken out loud, it reassured me that we weren’t expected to bring answers and solutions to all their needs. It relieved some of the responsibility I felt when they confided and shared about their village.

When leaving the province the first time, we compiled our report and gave it to the provincial health authority. And I like to childishly believe that when it’s out of my hands it’s taken care of.

During the welcome, the Second Chairman for Health in the province announced the purchase of a health dinghy for patrols and to assist the Aid Post to transport patients to the health centre! He also announced that the Aid Post would receive a cold chain (solar fridge for immunisations)! He proceeded to say thank you to the YWAM pioneering team of 2013, mentioning me (the only returning member) and how all of the improvements for the Aid Post (new building, dinghy, and cold chain) were made possible through the result of the assessment of the village we had turned in to their office!

That day all doubts about purpose and wether or not we are really making a difference vanished! I knew beyond shadow of a doubt that not only we had made a difference in the village, but also on the provincial health office and we would continue to have an impact through the local health worker and the extended services she’ll be able to provide because we were led into her village!

As part of the welcome, they also gave us war clubs to say that we will be fighting side by side towards eradicating target diseases and enhancing the health of their people!

I continue to be amazed at the trust that we’re extended, but also realize the weight of the responsibility associated with the trust we’re extended.

My grateful heart can’t help but wonder how it got involved in this amazing privilege, but also ache at the thought of all the injustices that still remain.

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