Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Infected sores

One of the joys of living in the tropics is that sores can get infected easily, especially if they’re on the feet.

It’s amazing what can happen to broken blisters – two of my worst infected sores have come from blisters. This one, which is not so bad when compared to the next one, came from sitting cross-legged on the back of a tipper truck. My little toe rubbed against dirt on the floor of the truck as we travelled which caused the blister. Notice how big my foot is in this photo – the swelling and pain went as far as the start of my ankle.

Another time I got a blister on my ankle after a long walk where the strap of my sandal rubbed against me. It started off not looking too bad…

Two days later it started to look worse and I started taking antibiotics.

Then the next day it looked like this…

Then one day later it was like this, maybe starting to get better. All the other photos I have after this date show the sore improving.

At the same time as I had this sore on my ankle, I also had a sore on my toe (the same foot), which was developing in much the same way as the sore on the ankle, just not quite as advanced.

I had high temperatures for four days while I had these two sores on my foot. At first I thought it might have been malaria, but the other symptoms weren’t really like malaria, so I wonder if the fever was actually related to the sores.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heading to the village Part 2 – Waiting, waiting, and river crossings

After crossing the passage we arrive at a small town called Kokopau on Bougainville Island, where there are trucks, utes and 4WDs waiting to take people to other parts of Bougainville. We usually get there at about 10-10.30am, find a vehicle that can take us, then we wait for 2-3 hours until they leave.

Depending on the vehicle, it usually takes around 1-3 hours to get to the village on the dirt roads. I can usually expect to arrive in the village at around 3pm.

We had to drive through three rivers on the way, which slows the cars down considerably, and it is quite bumpy!

Watch this video to see how bumpy the crossing is:

While we were there though, the Japanese Government was funding a bridge building project for the river crossings on this road. We saw a lot of progress in their construction while we were there, and after we left, the bridges were completed. I look forward to experiencing the new bridges when we get back and seeing how much it shortens the travel time.

Bridge building in progress.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Heading to the village Part 1 – Buka to Bougainville

When we are heading back out to the village after being in Buka for a while, everyone who is at the Centre gathers together to pray for us as we go. We always do this whenever someone is travelling.

Prayer for us going to the village:

We have a short car trip from the Centre to the boat ramp in Buka town, where there are always many little boats vying for us to choose to travel with them. I never know which one to choose, they’re all much the same to me, so we just pick any one. We load our supplies on, then make the very short trip across the water from Buka Island to Bougainville Island. It only takes 1 minute to cross.

Next blog post will talk about getting the rest of the way to the village.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tropics on a rainy day

When we think of tropical islands, we usually think of warm sunny days and scenes like the one below:

The reality however is that it’s not ALWAYS like that. Sometimes the sky goes grey and the heavens open. The sea loses its beautiful bright blue colour too. The photo below is taken from roughly the same place as the one above.

Coconut palms and frangipani – a common perception of the tropics, but usually with a bright blue sky in the background too. Rainy day photos don’t make for quite as attractive tourism campaigns, but they are a reality, and it’s a nice relief from the hot sun, plus it fills up the tanks with drinking water.