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Tanah Masa

Added to site: 4 weeks ago, Mar 26 at 9:02p.m.
4 days in Tanah Masa just finished and what a great experience. 

It took 2 days (from 11.30am-4pm) of waiting at the small boat to Baluta wharf before (almost Dr) Fiona and myself caught a larger boat which the owner assured me he was going to Baluta enroute to his home village (kampung) of Saeru. So we waited patiently, as Jr agreed to only charge the same amount as the small boats who appeared to balk at the suitcase and 4 other bags of medicine and equipment we were wanting to take. 130,000 rupiah per person we had agreed on. 

So at 4.30pm we boarded and set off on the 2hr journey to Baluta, on a calm sea between the big floating islands in the channel, after we needed to go closer to town to pick up supplies for Saeru. We later found out this boat does 3 runs per week between Tello and Saeru for cargo and on weekends it performs as the Susi Air commute boat between Tello and the airport on Saturday and Sunday. 

We got close to Baluta when the owner started talking about wishing to bring me to Saeru first this night (as it was starting to get dark), as Saeru had no Dr or Nurse and he would bring us back to Baluta tomorrow. Fiona thought this was okay, as did I - and so past the Baluta Beach we went as the night grew ever darker and down the ever narrowing channel to Saeru in a medium size boat with no lights, a calm sea, a steady engine and 10 other people as well as the smoking crew and the sky of stunning equatorial stars.

Just after 8pm when it is completely black here, we came alongside the Saeru Wharf, a long cemented wharf projecting out in to the deep sea water. With help from the crew, we were able to carry all our supply bags to the owner’s house in one go. Here we found 25 children and young adults waiting and playing and watching TV in his lounge. The next room had 10 men playing cards for money around a table and the next room was the large kitchen/bathroom complex. 2 fires were burning on the waist high concrete shelf, with a stack of dry medium kindling size wood underneath. In one corner of the kitchen was a shoulder high concrete wall separating the bathroom and water well area. What a busy house this was at 8.30 at night and of course this was the time for a clinic, if we were to travel back to Baluta Ares on the next morning. We asked for the TV to be turned down and set up our small clinic with tools and medicines and dressing materials. 

The word had spread around this village of 1,000 people quickly that a medical team was in town. CVA (Cardiovascular Accident/Stroke), osteomyelitis, LRTI (lower respiratory tract infection), hypertension, skin rashes, sore backs and joints, painful bellies and breathlessness, children who were not thriving, sciatica, all were seen from young to old, before we were able to convince people that we would continue the clinic the next morning. 

The boat owner had warned that as he was not a rich man, we would be sleeping on the warm concrete floor - which we had taken in our stride - but at sleep time, we found ourselves in a room each, Fiona sleeping on the matrimonial bed and myself on a kapok mattress on the floor. Clearly we were given priority on having rooms and mattresses, while parents and children slept on the warm concrete floor on mats. Mosquito repelling coils were lit and placed on the floor in each of our rooms. The medicines and equipment on the lounge table, he assured me we’re entirely safe, so I quickly fell into a sound sleep - to be awoken by the snorting of young pigs being fed outside my window in the early morning. 
 


 


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