• PHP Team Member

Building Connections Through Health

"...Medical student Rose Blackwood reflects on her experience as part of the project."

The PNG Health Project (PHP) is the brainchild of my friend and medical student, Eve Golma. Her vision came to fruition last year when myself and nine other UQ med students travelled to her homeland of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to help educate school kids about health and wellbeing.

On the first day of the very first PNG Health Project, we met at the Brisbane international airport and had a laugh distributing medical supplies between us. I flew over with a few hundred condoms and sanitary pads in my bag – we sure got a lot of funny looks from people passing by. A short flight with beautiful views of the ocean took us to Port Moresby, where we were hit with a wave of humidity and heat. From here, the adventure started to feel real as we were thrown amidst the sounds of 4WDs honking and people talking in Tok Pisin (a pidgin language that’s one of three national languages). Dusty, sprawling roads lead us into Port Moresby’s centre.Though it’s the capital, the city is relatively small with only a few high-rise apartments and one shopping mall. Traffic laws exist but are followed sporadically, and the streets are stained red from betel nut juice.

I was struck by the juxtaposition of chaos and noise, with simplicity and calm, as the traffic of the day died away and we were left with no light pollution to ruin the stars of the night sky.

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