The MV YWAM PNG and her volunteers were warmly welcomed into Oro Province for the very first time last week with traditional dancing and shouts from men, women and children – “Oro! Oro! Oro!” Meaning, welcome! Welcome! Welcome!
The Oro Provincial Government hosted welcome ceremonies in Uiaku and Oro Bay – where they pledged operational funding and presented three traditional war clubs, representing the war path the Oro Provincial Government and YWAM Medical Ships – Australia (YWAM MSA) are on together against the health challenges and isolation in the province.
The MV YWAM PNG has replaced YWAM MSA’s former vessel, the MV Pacific Link, which operated in the Gulf and Western Provinces for the last five years.
The MV YWAM PNG is four times bigger than the MV Pacific Link, and has capacity to operate for 11 months of the year throughout the entire Southern region and Huon Gulf – with activities including primary health care, dentistry, eye health and training.
During its voyage to Oro Province, 75 volunteers were onboard from 13 different nations – 35 of those were volunteers from Papua New Guinea. Five representatives from the Oro Provincial Health team also joined for the outreach.
Oro Province Governor, Honourable Gary Juffa, said that he was overjoyed to have the MV YWAM PNG in Oro Province for the first time.
“We have many rural, remote communities that desperately need assistance – YWAM MSA are an organisation who are willing to get their hands dirty and reach those that need it most.”
“It is wonderful to see our partnership with YWAM MSA expanding through the launch of the MV YWAM PNG in Oro,” said Governor Juffa.
During its maiden voyage, the MV YWAM PNG delivered health care and capacity building initiatives to 2,451 patients in 10 villages in Sohe and Ijivitari districts in collaboration with the Oro Provincial Health team.
YWAM MSA’s Managing Director, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that he was grateful for the Oro Provincial Government’s support in ensuring the MV YWAM PNG’s first visit to Oro Province was a success.
“The arrival of the MV YWAM PNG marked an important milestone in our relationship with Oro Province – this is only just the beginning of what is yet to come,” said Mr Mulligan.
The MV YWAM PNG will sail to Morobe Province today for further clinics in Huon district before returning to Australia for further renovations next month.