In the midst of a hard life in Western Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), each victory and triumph is to be celebrated. This is how the life of Umi is viewed. A miracle. YWAM Medical Ships Australia (YWAM MSA) found Umi on Outreach 5, a two-month-old starving to death due to her mother’s hard work schedule in the sago fields, a long way away.
Unfortunately, life for this child and her family already has continuing sorrow. Her father passed away soon after from Tuberculosis (TB). Her mother and two older siblings have moved in with his sister, re-evaluating what life without a husband and father will look like. This is where they were found, when YWAM MSA returned at the end of Outreach 6 to revisit Bamio village and baby Umi.
The ship volunteers were overjoyed to find Umi has increased in weight to 2.1 kilograms, an increase from the 1.7 she was just weeks before. They were able to give food, clothes, vitamins, medicine, and hope to the family, along with encouraging Umi’s mother in caring for her children.
With downcast, saddened eyes, the small woman accepted the advice and praise in silence. Her grief over her husband’s loss still deeply felt.
The eyes of the oldest, five-year-old daughter lit up, however, at the volunteers. She snuggled close to clinic leader, Jennifer Perry, and laughed at a teddy bear placed in her arms. Her healthy, beautiful face gave the team a determination to see Umi have the same future.
While Umi still fights for life and it is known her health and growth will be a long road, it is gratifying to know she fights with better odds than ever before. The YWAM MSA volunteers were happy and relieved to count back the weeks and realize she is close to a healthy, steady weight gain. With even more care and guidance the volunteers gave, she will continue to grow. One day they hope to see her as a healthy, bright five-year-old like her sister.