Their eyes were caring, smiles soothing, hands healing and their presence radiated love, comfort and peace.
Through the eyes of six-year-old Mandy, the crew members on board the big white ship were angels.
For half her short life on earth, this young Milne Bay girl had seen the world through darkness.
Not old enough to understand that she was blind, young Mandy had been living with bilateral cataracts, a condition she developed when she was just three years old.
For the last three years, Mandy’s condition denied her the opportunity to live the reckless life of a child, confining her to boundaries, requiring constant assistance from her relatives to do everything.
Her family and friends wished for Mandy to see again and in an area where access to quality and affordable health care was limited, all their hopes was placed on the next visit from the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Medical Ship.
When the ship finally returned (its last visit was in 2014), Mandy underwent her much needed two-hour surgery on her eyes on board the ship where her sight was restored and a new lease of life granted.
Mandy, along with hundreds of other patients from the Trobriand Islands requiring specialist health care, were treated and discharged, thanks to the YWAM, the Grace of God, volunteers who offered their services free to help humanity, and the kindness of sponsors and key partners whose funding drives the YWAM outreach program.
PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNG Ports), is one of such key partners in the delivery of YWAM’s outreach program which aims at strengthening the delivery of health care and training in some of PNG’s remote areas.
PNG Ports helps by providing free pilotage services for the YWAM ships that visit any of the ports. These vessels are also not charged berthage and wharfage fees and are also given storage waivers amounting to hundreds and thousands of kina.
PNG Ports Managing Director, Mr Stanley Alphonse, said through this, PNG Ports was doing its bit to help the YWAM deliver its much needed health services which was consistent with the government’s vision for the health sector going forward.
He added that PNG Ports was committed to helping the people of PNG through such community engagement program.
YWAM Medical Ships PNG patron and former Prime Minister, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, thanked PNG Ports for being a valuable partner.
He also thanked Puma Energy, AusAid, the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, Henry Schein Cares, Network Communications, and Steamships and other companies and provincial governments in PNG as well as Australia for making the Outreach successful over the years.
He also thanked the tireless efforts of the volunteers with varying professions from medical workers to sailors, engineers, cooks and others who come from different countries to work on the Medical Ships.
The YWAM Medical Ships have so far helped 31,994 Papua New Guineans living in rural areas with cataracts and visual impairments, and PNG Ports is proud to have been a key partner in achieving this.