Pickleball in Papua New Guinea: Health and Pickleball, Hand in Hand

This story is from our customer Joyce Baranowski. Enjoy!

I recently returned from Papua New Guinea and wanted to share my story and pictures with you.

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Being in a third world country makes one feel very appreciative for the conveniences we have in America, but also makes one wonder why we have so much stuff. The Papuan nationals are extremely poor with 90% unemployment. Most have no shoes and the clothes they wear are worn and dirty. They wash themselves and their clothes down by the river and cook their food in a large pot over a fire. Thankfully, they live in a climate that allows them to grow food year round, so they don’t go hungry.  They eat to live, unlike us, who live to eat.

papua-new-guinea-map

The hospital station where my daughter and her family live is a lifeline to the people. Without the doctors and nurses at this hospital, many would die. Right now there are 9 American missionary doctors (along with their families), a radiologist missionary from South Africa, a dentist missionary from Canada, and 4 American missionary project leaders with their families.

Their service and commitment is a blessing to this area of Papua New Guinea. If you’d like to read more about the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, you can visit www.nazarenehospitalfoundation.org.

grandson Miles and Mom Rachel

Grandson Miles and Mom Rachel

Needless to say, the Papuan nationals had never heard of pickleball. They are always amazed by the strange games the Americans are playing like tennis and volleyball. Not only had the Papuan nationals never heard of pickleball, neither had any of the missionaries! It was great fun to introduce the game to the missionaries. They knew I was coming to teach them how to play pickleball and were excited to learn.

Joyce and friend with grandson Miles

Joyce and a friend with Miles

One of the guys got online to figure out the size of the court and had the lines painted on the area where they play tennis and basketball before I got there.

The surface is asphalt and not the smoothest, but it made the game more challenging to play. You never knew where the ball was going once it hit the ground in certain parts of the court!

I was not only encouraged by how fast the people picked up the rules of the game, but by how quickly they were able to pass the rules on to each of the newbies that came to play.

My daughter Rachel was really excited about getting a tournament together, but each weekend was busy with other activities. I’m sure it will happen, unfortunately  I just won’t be there to participate! It was nice to see the missionaries enjoying themselves with this new sport.

Several of them told me many times to please thank the people who donated the equipment. So a big THANK YOU to PICKLEBALLCENTRAL for the paddles and balls!

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I really can’t say for sure this is the only place in Papua New Guinea where pickleball is played, but its fun to think that it is there now, and I was able to introduce local folks to this wonderful game.

Thank you, Joyce, for sharing your story with our readers. We are glad to support your efforts to take this game to a new place like Papua New Guinea. Hopefully some of the Papuan nationals will grow to love the game as much as Pacific Northwesterners, where the game began in the 60’s!

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