In January 2001, members of the MVNU Computer Science Department participated
in the course entitled "Seminar in International Development."
The CS team, lead by Dr. Jim Skon, computer science professor, built and
installed a 40-node wireless network at the Kudjip Nazarene mission hospital
in the Western Highland Plains of Papua New Guinea.
During the 18 months leading up to the trip, students in Dr. Skon's Software
Engineering course met with Dr. Jim Radcliff, the chief surgeon at the
Nazarene hospital and MVNU alumnus, to design a database system to manage
the inpatient records for the 100-bed hospital. During the summer prior
to the trip, Greg Reynolds, then a computer science junior at MVNC, was
funded through grant money to implement the database system. The resulting
client/server system, written in C++, used a web-based interface to allow
a high level of client portability. The database itself resided on a Linux
server using the PostgreSQL database software.
On January 2, 2001, 17 students departed for PNG with 11 computers, six
network hubs, thousands of network cables and five wireless bridges and
antennas. Students worked to internally network five separate buildings
with Ethernet (including the 30 existing computers). Then the five buildings
were linked via wireless bridges. The Linux server, in the main hospital
building, was set up as a file server, and e-mail server, and a PPP dialup
server (for access from mission homes), in addition to its use as the
database server. Students worked during the last week to train hospital
personnel on system use and maintenance.
Students also experienced many church, sightseeing, and cultural events,
including a traditional outdoor feast, a hike up into the rain-forested
mountains, and a traditional festival. Several daring pre-medical students
observed and even assisted in surgery!