With the fresh spray of salt water came peels of laughter on the bow of the Ship. The sail into the Western Province was a long one, but it started well with the wind whipping hair as feet dangled off the bow, dolphins jumped in and out of the water, and land left view.
The new friends were a fun combination of Papua New Guineans. Henry, a bodyguard and guide, helped people look for crocodiles in the rivers; Franklin, a journalist, was always taking notes of his surroundings; Felix, a filmmaker, and good-natured prankster; and Vasiti, a beautiful, smiling dentist from the highlands.
They were just a few of the amazing friendships forged while serving on board the Medical Ship. As YWAM Medical Ships Australia (YWAM MSA) continues to build relationships across Papua New Guinea (PNG), the call has risen to see PNG nationals serving alongside the Ship. A record number of 17 Papua New Guineans volunteered on board in 2012.
The Medical Ship came to life as never before. Not only were they a dedicated and hardworking crew, they brought music, laughter, and an inclusive family environment. In the evenings the aft deck resounded with guitar music and voices raised in unison.
The national volunteers helped immensely with translation and cultural understanding while serving in dentistry, primary health care, optometry, hospitality, media, and as deck hands and engine room crew.
One volunteer, Fleming Isorua, was on board for all of the outreaches last year. After serving on board the Ship in 2011, he came to YWAM Townsville to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in October 2011. He re-joined the ship soon after graduation, as a deckhand and Zodiac driver.
Captain Jeremy spoke of him in glowing terms, “Fleming has been an extraordinary asset to the YWAM Medical Ship. During his time aboard he has been invaluable in helping the shipboard team work in a way that really connects with people in villages across the Gulf and Western Provinces.”
The call for PNG nationals continues to go out. YWAM MSA’s development philosophy is based in genuine partnership. They are committed to see PNG nationals reach their aspirations.