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15 January 2014

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A welcome and interesting comment Rob. Just as the expat doctors can help PNG medical services the expat teachers can help the PNG schools.

I guess PNG could do with the help of a few more Frank Evans' types, especially in the government schools. People have offered but the ears of the Education Department are closed. Sad.

I hear Brandi High School's results are very poor. I think they said that they got nobody into University! And Passam is still closed. They just "say" it will be opened but nothing happens.

I fear the "uneducated" have taken over the running of the place and naturally don't understand how standards have dropped. I hope the younger generation will not be too proud to accept our help when it is needed, whether it is in improving medical services or improving educational services.

I thank you on behalf of my country men and women in that part of the world for your tireless and dedicated service to the people.

The state of the hospital again reflects the PNG government's inefficiency in delivering much needed services to the rural communities around the country.

God bless you Dr Lewis..

Bishop Otto Sepay Bishop of Aitape contacted Frank Evans OBE about 3 years ago, asking him to return to the High School which he had made into one of the best in PNG & try to bring it back to life as it was a basket case of the highest order.

Frank who had given 27 years as a volunteer there dropped his job in Brisbane (pharmacist) & in 2 years of intense effort put things in place with new staff etc.

As you can imagine. a gruelling, dangerous matter when you have to get rid of teachers who are lazy etc.

Frank then stood back & took a position with the Government to rearrange the pathetic, chronic state of the Primary Schools in the Province which were feeding into the High Schools.

The results of the Grade 12 at St Ignatius Secondary have just come out & I see on Facebook St Ignatius has topped PNG in many subjects & is again one of the top Secondary Schools in PNG.

There are no expat teachers at St Ignatius & many of the other Schools in the major towns do have expats. So what a mighty effort.

I spent most of my first term as an Assistant Patrol Officer (1969/70) stationed at Baimuru, which is about a 40 minute dingy trip from Kapuna Hospital.

In those days, Drs Peter and Lyn Calvert provided medical services at the hospital and to the huge estuarine hinterland that surrounds it.

These two doctors spent virtually their whole lives in the service of the people living in the Baimuru Patrol Post area and, in my eyes at least, are unsung heroes of PNG.

Beth Lewis is following in the footsteps of the Calverts. In doing so, she will be adding lustre to the very finest traditions of her profession. However, I suspect, it will sometimes be a great trial as well.

The apparent lamentable lack of support for Dr Lewis and the hospital reflects very poorly on the PNG government and, to some degree at least, on Australia (as principal aid giver).

Dr Lewis is serving a desperately poor and disadvantaged area that seems to have not changed at all since I last wrote (in 1970) a rather critical and despondent Area Study Report about the prospects for that part of the Gulf.

I certainly wish Dr Lewis the very best of luck in her work at Kapuna hospital.

There are also great things going on in New Ireland with Australian Doctors International.
They have an excellent website www.adi.org.au and have their office at Manly where I think they are in need of help, if anyone is interested in helping.

Reading about people like Beth Lewis is refreshing.

In this battered old world full of greedy and grasping people she reminds one of that basic humanity which has been suppressed and ridden rough shod over by modern life.

It is not fashionable to be compassionate these days. In some quarters it is seen as a weakness. Many corporations disparage what they call the bleeding heart fraternity.

Long live the people like Beth.

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