It was an exciting day as the crew of Pacific Partnership 2011 and Project HOPE's second rotation of medical volunteers made their first footprints into the sand of Papua New Guinea.
As the team made their way off the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1665, they were welcomed with a ceremonial spear greeting and crowds of people.
For both the people of Papua New Guinea, watching the medical team roll equipment and supplies off the boat, and the volunteers, watching two tribes dance around pretending to throw spears, it seemed like a scene from a movie.
Volunteers Dr. Alan Jamison and Kathryn Walther participated in the opening ceremonies in Papua New Guinea, where they watched more traditional native dances.
“It was a delight, the people were extremely friendly and loved talking about their customs. It was really a once in a life time opportunity and I enjoyed witnessing years of tribal traditions,” Walther says. “My father spent some time in Papua New Guinea and I am remembering all the stories he told me.”
“It was also a thrill to be on the LCU at dawn to see our first glimpse of the beauty of this country," she adds, speaking of the early morning arrival that allowed the volunteers to witness clouds just barely going over the crest of the mountains and the slow sunrise lighting up the coast of Lae.
Volunteers Maureen Kisicki along with Chuck Lester and Dr. Lee Shoop helped prepare the first medical site to begin seeing patients tomorrow.
"We set up tents, brought in supplies and I helped translate educational forms for patients with the help of a translator that will be helping us out at the medical site," Kisicki says.
As the crew rests up a day of experiencing the local culture and setting up the medical sites, they are ready for what is to come for the next twelve days of bringing medical care to be people of Lae.
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