The prayers of the YWAM team continued for the people they’ve met and touched at Agali (Click HERE for the first part of the story), and so the story continued: While at Agali and walking around the scattered village to meet and greet people, to hear their stories and pray with them, Micha and his team-mates came across a woman crawling in her garden – and met Kathy* (name changed to protect her identity).
After the outreach, Micha visited one of our German MAF staff for lunch and told them Kathy’s story, showed photos and asked how she could be helped…
Kathy, a mother of 4 children, the youngest just about 2 to 3 years old, abandoned by her husband who seems to have remarried and only occasionally comes to visit her. How can she make a living and look after her children? She does not even have as little as the 20 Kina fee for the local nurse to look after her, attending to her wounds. Kathy can’t walk, only crawl. What a tough life! The love for her children is probably her daily motivation to keep going.
The team tried their best to love and care for Kathy during their short visit, cleaning her wounds, and leaving her some bandages and antiseptic to keep the open wounds as clean as possible to encourage some healing or at least prevent more serious infection. But they knew that this wasn’t enough. The YWAM team were keen to sponsor her flight and hospital costs to help her in a more sustainable way.
Agali is Hela Province, but currently, Tari airstrip is closed for operations due to ongoing maintenance and upgrading. It would be difficult to get Kathy transported and admitted to the Provincial Hospital there. Therefore, we put Micha in contact with Dr Mills from Kompiam Hospital even though Agali is not in Enga Province. Thankfully, Dr Mills and the team were happy to have Kathy come to Kompiam for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
From seeing photos Dr Mills said: “It may well be a severe case of gout. The white crystals in the heel under the skin look like that. We would probably have to see her. If it is gout she could be helped by medicine but she would need to be taking it long term.”
And we put Micha in contact with the MAF PNG flight booking department to assist and plan a flight for Kathy to Kompiam.
Since November, Micha has been back in New Zealand for some holiday. Communication to organise all the logistics of this rescue mission for Kathy was quite challenging: organising the people on the ground at Agali, being in touch with MAF and Dr Mills for flight scheduling and payment, connecting with his YWAM teammates, etc.
Eventually, everything came together: a was meri (guardian) was found for Kathy, a flight scheduled. Kathy was brought to the local clinic the night before to be ready to board the aircraft quickly.
Unfortunately, the first attempt to fly Kathy to Kompiam failed. Very strong winds made an approach into Agali unsafe and therefore impossible. How disappointing. Kathy was carried back to her house, a 10-minute walk if you have both hands free to climb, according to Micha. What a challenging expedition if someone then needs to be carried on a stretcher or on someone’s back…
Apparently, the local nurse who also was booked to fly out with Kathy, left on foot for Tari after the aircraft couldn‘t land. This nurse was the main point of contact for the YWAM team on the ground at Agali. So the YWAM team kept trying to communicate with the few people for whom they have contact details at Agali so that hopefully Kathy and her was meri would be back at the airstrip for when the next flight was scheduled…
We all hoped and prayed that the new scheduled early morning flight from Telefomin to Agali to Kompiam would work. So all was organised again. Another pilot was briefed to take a stretcher as we all didn’t know if Kathy would be able to sit down on an aircraft seat. The community was informed of the new day the aircraft was about to land. A couple of medevac bags, packed by the Mt Hagen MAF wives, were sent to Kompiam a day ahead to be passed on when Kathy and her was meri would arrive.
And praise the Lord! This time it worked out and Kathy is now in good care at the Kompiam hospital!
In a brief update, Dr Mills wrote: “The blood test confirmed that she has severe gout with a lot of bone destruction. She’ll need life long medication. I am hopeful we can get her walking again, but she needs to stay with us for several weeks first.”
What a difference this would make to Kathy if she’d be able to walk again! Imagine!
Please join the YWAM team in their prayers for Kathy, that her journey from Agali to Kompiam will pay off, spiritually and physically. What a huge testimony would this be if Kathy when returning to her village in some weeks time, could just walk out of the aircraft – thanks to the persistence of the YWAM team to get her to hospital and thanks to the team at Kompiam who is now looking after her.