Kinda funny that as I have attempted to write this entry, the lights have been flickering on and off. It just goes to demonstrate exactly what I am about to write about: that the electricity situation around here is a bit precarious.
The big problem started earlier this year when heavy rains and a flood at the nearby river took out the hydroelectric dam that supplied power to the hospital. Since that time, we have been dependent upon PNG Power with a generator that is used for back-up for more extended outages.
There are several problems with this. First of all, buying power is much more expensive than generating our own. Money is diverted from other important projects to keep the lights on. Second, PNG Power is unreliable. It comes and goes, sometimes going for hours at a time. This is not only inconvenient, but it can be life threatening for our patients if OR lights or oxygen concentrators don't work. And number three, there are wild surges that can damage or destroy important equipment that is needed to care for our patients. Repairing or replacing the equipment can be costly or impossible depending on locally available parts and expertise.
Dr. Becky recently wrote about one of her on call experiences. It was about 1:30 in the morning. She and Dr. Erin were in the middle of a c-section when the power went out. The generator did not automatically switch on. The room remained completely dark. OR staff were unable to contact maintenance for help because phones were off with the power. The two docs proceeded with the surgery by light of flash lights and head lamps until the power spontaneously returned.
A recent article in Engage Magazine gives additional information about the history of the hydro and the challenges of current situation.
Kudjip Nazarene Hospital has been hoping to rebuild the hydro to help restore reliable power to the station. The estimated cost for this project was more than $1 million... a sometimes overwhelming project, but we have a very big God.
However, we are also facing some community barriers that are currently preventing a rebuild of the hydro. I won't expand on those here today, only share with you that the barriers are seemingly insurmountable. But again, we serve a very big God. We are very much needing prayer about this situation. Would you join us in bringing this important matter to the Lord? Would you pray for God to make a way for life giving power?
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good.
~ Genesis 1:3-4