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By Sr Ma. Luisa Tomaro OND
We reached the village at 2:30 pm. I was astonished because the village leaders placed all of us in one mud hut. Needless to say, it was hard for me because there was no room for changing clothes, no comfort room, no bathroom. I had to sleep next to my three male companions. The people have no regular meals, too. They were not even offering food to us. At night-time I could not sleep well because of back pains. The floor was not flat and had holes in it.
The following day, I roamed around and visited the families. At first, children were crying and running away when they saw me. Later I found out that they were afraid of my strange straight hair and my unnatural fair complexion. They thought I was a witch from the middle of the sea.
Day after day, I felt more at home with them, talking and eating with them, learning their language, their life. I discovered that they are also warm and friendly people. And I am sure they discovered the same about me. We stayed there for ten days. We gave lessons and briefings for Sacraments and for the last three days our parish priest came and administered sacraments of Baptism, First Confession, First Communion and Marriage.
This was not my last patrol. There are still plenty of patrol schedules to come, many dinghy rides. Nevertheless, I still want to go because nothing compares to this feeling of being a part of somebody else’s life, discovering what life is in the other side of the world, learning about other people’s beliefs and traditions and most of all, hearing their own story.
Sr Ma. Luisa Tomaro OND
PAPUA NEW GUINEA