I have to wonder-if the AIDS crisis in Papua New Guinea is so hopeless, what difference will it make whether Aunt Sid writes a good story about it or not? What difference will it make that I'm here with her? I ask God to do something miraculous for both of us in this third world country. I ask God to use me...
After her life-changing journey to Ireland, twenty-year-old Maddie Chase feels ready for whatever she and her Aunt Sid will find on their trip to Papua New Guinea. But when she sets foot on the beautiful South Pacific island, she can't help but notice the sense of hopelessness around her.
Through their investigative reporting, Maddie and Aunt Sid learn that this developing country is literally dying of AIDS. As Maddie delves deeper into the culture and history of the land-and develops relationships with nationals who are eager to share their lives-she finds a tangled past that could help to explain the current health crisis.
Will Maddie be able to see past the darkness to offer light to these gracious island people? Join Maddie on her latest international adventure as she learns that maybe it is possible for one person to change history.
Nineteen-year-old Maddie Chase and her journalist aunt Sid are off to the island of New Guinea this time, where they discover the beauty and tragedy in the lives of the people they meet. Maddie tries to help in their struggles while she learns some valuable life lessons. Carlson lives in central Oregon. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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February 19, 2007
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Excerpt from Notes from a Spinning Planet--Papua New Guinea by Melody Carlson
It’s amazing how much more comfortable I feel on this trip. Nothing like when my aunt and I flew to Ireland a couple of months ago and I was a total basket case. Not that I’d exactly call myself a seasoned traveler. That would be a huge overstatement. But as I snooze and read and basically just chill on the first leg of my latest journey with Sid, flying high over the Pacific, I think maybe I’ve evolved just a little. “Listen to this, Maddie,” says Sid. My aunt’s been poring over a bunch of articles that an editorial assistant downloaded onto her laptop just before we left. “Instead of protecting the public and children from violence, it is the police who are committing some of the most heinous acts of violence imaginable.” “Huh?” I look up from a Margaret Mead book I’m reading, one that Sid recommended calledGrowing Up in New Guinea.“What?” “It’s from an article about human rights atrocities being committed in Papua New Guinea.” She frowns as she removes her reading glasses. “It’s really tragic. I had no idea.” “Is that going to be the focus of your article?” Sid and I are headed to Papua New Guinea, or PNG, which is less of a mouthful, so she can find out how the country has changed since emerging from the Stone Age into the new millennium. “I’m not totally sure. But I’d like to find out.” She taps her computer screen. “And listen to this quote, Maddie. ‘As a result of HIV/ AIDS, Papua New Guinea could lose up to thirty-eight percent of its working population by the year 2020.’ ” She turns and stares at me. “Can you imagine how many people that would be?” Actually, I can’t. Numbers have never been my strong suit. Still, I know that thirty-eight percent is a lot, and I suppose 2020 isn’t that far off, even if it sounds like another lifetime to me. Then Sid spews some more statistics, telling me that although PNG is somewhat remote, its number of AIDS cases is far higher than any of its neighboring countries. She also explains how inadequate the country’s health-care and medical facilities are, and I’m starting to feel seriously concerned. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder why I agreed to come with Sid on this trip in the first place. Okay, it’s not like I came along just for the fun of it. I mean, seeing a third-world country did sound exciting to me, but I realize we’re on something of a mission too. A mission to find Sid’s story—whatever it might be. Her boss, John Something-or-other, has a real soft spot for this country. Sid said he’s been concerned about the changes the culture has gone through since he was last there eons ago. As a result he pulled out all the stops and sent her to uncover some big story. Sid writes for one of the largest magazines in the world. The problem is, she’s not totally sure what that “big” story is going to be or if it’s even big at all. “But it’ll be an adventure,” she assured me when she invited me to join her. Now I don’t want to become overly critical of the country I’m about to visit, but hearing these sad reports of corrupt police and what seems like a hopeless AIDS epidemic, well, it just doesn’t make Papua New Guinea sound terribly inviting. And it doesn’t sound much like Margaret Mead’s version of a rustic yet peaceful South Pacific culture. Of course, she wrote the book I’m reading about a hundred years ago, but according to my aunt, Mead’s observations are still a good historical reference. Even so, I&