Rotary visits Kokoda

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Rotary

Sue Moran hands books over to one of the local schools.

Arriving in Papua New Guinea as part of their yearly trip to help maintain Kokoda Hospital, a Rotary team led by Inverell’s Greg and Sue Moran discovered a sign telling patients not to bother coming in unless they were really sick.

”The hospital had no drugs for three months, they had no anything for three months,” Greg explained. The couple saw the direct result of 12 months of hard work packing a container full of supplies, as the large selection of drugs and bandages helped the hospital get back up and running.

Along with a team of nine, including locals Kate George and Julie Clendinning and Rotarians from Tweed Heads and Armidale, the Morans also delivered hospital beds, ECG machines, fusion pumps, bed sheets and nurse uniforms. Everything from encyclopedias to bikes and sewing machines was included.

The container was just part of the job, with the men joining with local people to undertake major maintenance on the building, which Greg said hadn’t been done for over 20 years. Over three weeks, the group cleaned and painted the entire hospital. They added security screens to windows and replaced floors ruined by white ants. The operating theatre was given new floors and the building was sprayed to avoid any further white ant damage.

Sue, Kate and Julie kept busy teaching sewing each morning and computer classes in the afternoon. They were run off their feet as around 20 to 30 local women came each day. Sue was amazed by the yearning for knowledge she saw when the team visited a very new high school, which already had 200 students, despite the fact it hadn’t been built yet. “When we came along with encyclopedias, which everyone just throws out, they were just absolutely enraptured.”

Clothing and other items were sold to locals by the nurses to fundraise for the hospital. The bikes had to be sold off via lottery due to their popularity. One elderly winner jumped in the air and cried ‘Yahoo!’ before riding off gleefully. Greg was grateful to the many locals who supported the club’s efforts.

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