A time to be born and a time to die...Death and sorrow has come to our campus here at Senior Flierl Seminary. The infant son of one of our students died a few minutes after his birth in the hospital this morning. I guess it is a reflection of the high infant mortality rate how quiet the reaction has been. A small coffin was made and the child was buried in our little cemetery this afternoon. We are not cancelling classes, though it was discussed that we would possibly cancel them if it had been an older child. For an adult there would be a week of "haus krai" or large community mourning gatherings that included food, worship services and loud wailing. However, the family is still being cared for - food, people to cry with,prayer gatherings at their house etc.
Ironically, a mother of a 4 month old was telling me last week how Logaweng is a good place to have a baby. She said that all the babies "kamap strong" or "grow up healthy". Despite this death, we likely do have a lower infant mortality than most places.(PNG average is 55.9 per 1000 live births. U.S. is 7.1) We have the advantage of being close to Braun Memorial Health Center. Our women usually go and stay down there close to the time of their delivery. That way we are not trying to drive them down the mountain while they are in labor or suffering possible complications in a home delivery. Last year a set of twins were delivered by cesearian section. Without that intervention they likely would have both died.
On the brighter side, my niece Diane Klavano Hennebert had a healthy baby boy - Robert Charles. He is "7 lbs 9 oz and 19.5 in of perfection!" according to his mother. this birth is especially joyous as Diane had a very difficult first pregnancy and it had been predicted she would not be able to have more children. It makes me happy that she was able to get the medical help to make this new miracle possible. I look forward to meeting him this summer.