16 February 2004

Morobe Field Diary, May 1976: An Injured Child

The other day some women came back from their garden with a [c. 3-year-old] kid who had sliced off the top joint of his ring finger. It took some discussion before they asked me for medicine and bandage. I had only some of those sterile gauze pads and bandaids along with disinfectants but nothing to stop the bleeding and felt pretty useless but it turned out they decided to put kambang, the [slaked] lime chewed with betel nut, on as a disinfectant and I have an ample supply of that. I measured some out on my knife blade and put it on the cotton and one guy tied up the bandage. When they took the original bandage off blood shot out of the finger. They said later that the kambang would act as a poultice and when it went to work that nite the kid would not feel in the best of spirits. A doctor came or they took the kid to the doctor in the next village and he gave a penicillin shot and rebandaged the wound and yesterday the guy who did most of the original doctoring came to get my disinfectant powder and some bandaids so the wound seems to be healing all right. Since then I have been of slitely more use in dispensing aspirins, one cold tablet, and bandaids. Next time in town I plan to get more aspirins and some stomach marasin for me. My host's wife gets migraines.

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