In the States, I would have called the path a deer trail. In some places it was hard to see where it was. We had to bend low to duck under overhanging branches, and I lost my balance numerous times on the steep hillsides where the trail was only about five inches wide. But I was thankful that the PAMAS helicopter had been able to drop us only a 30-minute hike from our patient instead of the hike of up to five hours we would have had to make without it.
That morning, I had gotten a report that a man named Birting had fallen from a coconut tree five days earlier and was unable to walk or even sit up. The family had cleared a helicopter landing spot near Birting’s house, but we found it wasn’t flat enough to set the helicopter down. We then flew around looking for another landing place until Birting’s niece, who was with us, remembered a spot we could try. It wasn’t close to the house, but it proved to be our best option.
As we hiked toward Birting’s house, his niece talked with me about how they would like a school in their village. The closest mission school is a long hike away across a river that is impassable during rainy season. I had visited a village in this area a couple months earlier, and they had also asked for a school.
We finally reached Birting’s house, and I assessed him. Then we strapped him to a backboard for the hike back to the helicopter. We wanted to send him out to the hospital for X-rays to see if he had any fractures in his back. As his family carried him back down the tiny trail, they sent a boy ahead of them to dig footholds at the steepest spots so they wouldn’t slip.
Birting made it out to the hospital, and the X-rays didn’t show any fractures.
The clinic provides opportunities to meet many people. Birting’s village is a very long and hard hike from Kemantian, but this rescue mission gave us a chance to meet this family. The family members mentioned several times how much they would like for a teacher to come and live in their village. They want their children to have an education like they see the children in the other mission schools getting.
Please pray for the villages of Menti and Seremirig. Pray that God will keep providing opportunities for us to have contact with them, and please pray for workers who can go out to these villages. Please also pray that as we minister to the Palawano people through medical care, many can be drawn to Jesus.