Sunday, December 03, 2006


Well, we're back from our Island hopping and a really busy few days, hence lack of posts. I'll make up for that now with a splurge!

Our first clinic was on Wednesday on Coconut Island, also called Poruma. It's about a 30 minute flight on a small aeroplane - here you see the girls sitting in. It took Imogen some convincing that there would be no toilet on the plane (though she didn't seem to miss the cabin service). While Jo and myself were admiring the views of the islands below and even saw a big (thanfully old) shipwreck, the girls were more fascinated by the ear plugs. They looked a bit like sweeties.

Shortly after we landed we were met by the nurse at the clinic, Michael, on his quad bike. The bike took our luggage, while we walked the 50cm (perhaps a bit more) to the clinic.

This picture isn't Coconut, by the way, it's another island we saw on the way in the plane, but it does look a bit similar!

There we shared the workload. Actually it wasn't very busy as the community had organised what I'm told was a "whinge at the council" meeting. The whole community turned up, so no-one was at the clinic. I did some face painting on Imogen, Emily and Charlotte. Despite my offers, none of the patients wanted the same treatment. Jo saw a few people labelled as "women's health".

For the first time in my medical career, I had a swim in the sea during my lunch break.

That afternoon, the girls (all four of them) played in the sea with some very friendly locals. I did some home visits. Michael took me around, offering friendly abuse to everyone he met.

The island itself is long, thin and sandy. Great care has been taken by people with their gardens and the were the most perfect frangipanis I've ever seen. There is also this ruined church, built out of concrete, but made to look like stone. There's no roof, and huge cracks in the walls - a really unexpected find!

When the clinic was finished we caught our onward flight to Warraber. As Michael said, comparing it to Coconut: "What it lacks in length, it makes up for in width."

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