Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wanem bai kamap bihain

"What will happen next?"

Today I visited with a patient in our clinic for some time. 

On the 5th of February, a relative thought that Koki was being unfaithful to his wife.  His sister-in-law became enraged and attacked Koki with a bush-knife.  He suffered several knife wounds, losing part of his hand and breaking bones in his foot.

The bush-knife pervades society here, and even children as young as four or five will carry small ones.  The nurses in the emergency room  created the acronym "BKW" which means Bush-knife Wound, because they see them so commonly.

Unfortunately the other thing that pervades society here is revenge.  Any attack potentially begins a tribal or "line" war.  In Koki's case, his son, Tony took matters into his own hand and killed the woman who attacked Koki.  Now Tony occupies a cell in the nearest prison awaiting Kot, or trial.

Around here, what comes next is anybody's guess.  Tony might pay some compensation.  He might have to live in prison.  He might be released and later fall victim to yet another revenge killing.

The past two weeks have seen healing come to Koki's body, but I spent most of my time speaking into his heart.  

When I asked Koki what will come from all of this he wasn't sure either.  Koki has attended church, and most people from PNG love Bible stories.  I went through the story of David and Saul - that David would not take matters into his own hand against Saul when he had him at his mercy, even though Saul had tried to kill David and hunted him in the wilderness.  Koki nodded and seemed to understand.  I asked him what he thought the story meant.  He said that it was not our place to take Kot into our own hands but leave it to God.

"Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you.  But my hand shall not be against you." - I Samuel 24:12

What if Koki had understood and learned this lesson years ago?  What if he taught Tony that lesson when he was younger?  Would Tony be a free man?  Would a now murdered lady still breathe and walk among us here at Kudjip?  I don't know what could be - and I don't believe God intends that we should ever know what might be different in our lives if circumstances changed.  

But I believe He has placed me here for a reason.  The more I see the victims of revenge and violence here, the more compelled I am to urge them to Peace.  The more my heart breaks for my patients.  The more I fear for those I may see in a week or a month from the same tribal fight.  The more I wonder aloud in my prayers, "What will happen next?"

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