Monday, October 29, 2012
This afternoon I got a visitor in my office, Sina and her dad, George (+675 71149020), who makes baskets from Goroka. George brought Sina down to Lae to visit a doctor at the hospital. The story is a bit confusing but from what I understand the doctors take lots of pictures and he finds out it would take a series of 6 operations to fix her nose in Australia. I believe it’s being partially funded by an organization and he’ll be expected to come up with half of the costs. The news appears to be disheartening to him – I’m sure the amount is beyond anything he can imagine.
George brought one basket down with him as his ‘insurance’ to sell so that they could get back to Goroka on the buses. He walks with Sina from town to Unitech to see me (about 8km) on the dusty roads, (Sina has problems breathing already), since they have one kind and twenty toia. She is pretty shy and doesn’t talk to me much. I ask if I can take a picture and her dad directs her on what to do, I know he’s hoping it’ll get more sympathy. He’s not trying to be manipulative, it’s his way of helping his daughter, whom he obviously cares a great deal about.
It breaks your heart a little, this grown man holding back tears, asking for help, asking if he can ask, before he asks. Asking because what he needs is so far beyond his reach it’s his last resort.
There are so many people in PNG with extreme health issues that you become a little immune to it. It’s not that you don’t care, but if you care too much it becomes more than you can handle.
George must have come to my house the first time a few years ago, I have a vague recollection of it. I must have told him I would be interested in a laundry basket then. When he came a few weeks ago he had a laundry basket and apologized for not coming sooner. He had been in a car accident, the scar on his face which split his nose has mostly healed. He was unable to make baskets and travel for a while. Now he had carried them all the way to my house. I, unfortunately don’t need a laundry basket now, it would be one more thing I’ll have to ship back in a month. I bought a small tray from him because he had come all the way out. I must be his only expat he can contact because he keeps coming back. I appreciate that he is at least trying to sell a good product and not just asking for money.
The baskets he makes are well made and strong, they take a lot of time to make.