Newspaper Article 1960 – Life in Korea


N.Z. Nurse Tells Of Work With S.C.F.

Miss Elie [Elsie] Leipst, a Hastings nurse, flew to Korea last July to join the Save the Children Fund staff at Masan. Spending her first few days in Pusan she met all the staff and saw the clinics.

“How much I would love you to see the queue in the morning.” she writes, “Many have waited patiently for hours, some times most of the day. There’s wonderful work done and it’s grand to see the look of gratitude on their faces. Many mothers have walked miles to attend the clinic; 98 per cent of all cases are in need of medical treatment. At home it’s often the reverse. In Pusan they serve cornmeal at midday to the very poor families who have had a long wait and probably this meal is all they will have that day.”

Later Miss Leipst was taken to Masan, her home for the next two years. Her next letter, written five weeks later, describes incidents at the Masan clinic – a sick baby abandoned in the waiting room; the high mortality rate with malnutrition and dehydration; some miraculous recoveries. Of the need for equipment she writes: “One cannot help but do a little comparison with home, where we have so much to work with and here we are sometimes coping without the real necessities. The other day a wee babe with pneumonia died while we were trying to borrow an oxygen tent. This is just one instance. We long for somewhere cool to keep the milk mixtures and to be able to give a drink of cool water to a child with high fever.”

What Fund Does

Last year’s Rice Bowl Appeal in New Zealand paid for Sister Leipst to take up her work at a Save the Children Fund hospital in Korea. It provided her with a Jeep and also transport for S.C.F. work in Hongkong. It still supplies all the vitamin drops needed for children’s clinics and hospitals in Masan. It helps run a day nursery in Hong Kong and it pays for some of the doctors and nurses and medicine needed to care for the Arab refugee children in Jordan.

This year it is hoped to open another day nursery in Kowloon and hostel where the shoeshine boys can sleep and have one meal a day. Vital equipment, such as the oxygen tent, will be sent to Masan. If there is enough money New Zealand might be able to send another nurse to one of the countries where children are dying because not enough people are doing enough to keep them alive.

In Westport there will be a street day on Friday, October 7, Country donations may be sent to Rice Bowl Appeal, c/o Mrs G. Phibbs, 6 Esplanade, Westport.

[Published in a South Island newspaper]

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