Changing Expectations

Changing Expectations

John Dorton, a Melbournian originally from the US, arrives in Kiunga, PNG, where he is mentoring staff of the Diocese. In a new placement one must be adaptable to changing roles, and it seems John has already come to expect the unexpected.

Not surprisingly, what was originally envisaged as my job has morphed. Not a problem. I’m deep in the guts of the contract for building of a remote area medical facility.
The purchasing officer that I was to work with will be a person I’m interacting with. I’m sitting with the Finance Officer, who is a great guy. By the way, for all of the horror stories everybody was filling me with about PNG, and I’m sure bad things happen here and there, I am finding the people wonderful and welcoming. The climate is warm/hot and humid. It reminds me of Houston, Texas before air conditioning. Yes, I am that old.

I also think that a strict two-year limit is probably unlikely. If I can do my job effectively, I imagine that they’d want me here at least until the Medical facility is built and commissioned. The construction schedule is for a 2½ year process, and that schedule hasn’t started yet. So I think you just need to be aware that plans are flexible and work titles are unlikely to strictly resemble what was originally thought. The Bishop is using his resources in the way that he feels best meets the needs, and that is fine with me.

I have been placed in a one bedroom house, but am taking meals with the community. I think a female volunteer is coming soon, and the intention is that she and another male volunteer will each, also, have a house. I think the Bishop likes to have his facilities in use. Also, as far as I can tell, there’s generally no hot water. I’m still working on getting used to cold showers, and, strangely, the water is cold, because it is bore water from, I think they said, 30 meters down.

A personal project, hopefully with the technical assistance of a young fellow in the community, is going to be to get adequate photos of this place (and, now perhaps of the remote site), so people in Australia have a better idea of what it looks like here.

The cathedral is quite large, and there is some interesting art in it. The “mission station” is vast, with many, many buildings, and is really self-contained in many ways. The township is modest, but that is the PNG pattern. You have a sort of “commercial” centre, and then there are endless villages scattered about.

Enough for now. More later.


We’ll be looking forward to those photos John! Stay tuned everyone for more of John’s updates form Daru-Kiunga Diocese.