What a privilege it has been to be mentored these last 5 years by Doctor Dianne Mathews. Affectionately known as Dr. Di…..with no pun intended.
She is an incredible teacher and full of grace to us nurses. I’m never afraid of how she will respond to decisions I make, though I don’t treat her kindness flippantly. Her life is a story worth telling. And it will take me several blogs to do so. For now, I thought I would tease you with the things that delight Dr. Di. For even though she enjoys patient care and gains much satisfaction from it, her real love is teaching AND puttering around with plants and animals and rocket stoves. Her blue eyes come fully alive, when she knows that there is a project involving dirt, teaching and community development.
Just two weeks ago Dr. Di taught students from our seminary how to build a rocket stove. The purpose of these stoves is to use way less fuel (wood) and create almost no smoke. In many of the interior villages, smoke, from cooking fires inside the huts, is causing long term lung/health issues. These rocket stoves are virtually free to make, using local clay, grass and water, with a banana stalk for a mold. Everyone had so much fun mixing the red dirt into clay with their feet. There was singing and joking as the clay balls were slapped down into shape, laying up the chimney of the stove. Dr. Di was in her element. Teaching and then watching to see if her students understood by demonstrating back to her what she had just demonstrated. It was inspiring to watch her joy and it was contagious.
If you swing by Dr. Di’s house on any given day, you will want to go see her aquaponic gardens. Using PVC pipe, and drip irrigation….a simple pump, feeds the plants from the fish in the pool below. With this method, Dr. Di has been able to grow many fun salad greens and items that the rest of us simply day dream about. Also she has developed another aquatic garden, designed to fit in any standard small Indonesian yard. It also uses the fish/pump/irrigation method but this time on a gravel bed. Her goal is to provide ways that the local people can have gardens plus protein and to teach that they can do this with very little land.
Also on Dr. Di’s property are goats, plump healthy chickens and many healthy plants that contain whole proteins. All of this is set up to be an example of local farming. Using local materials and feed, but bringing in more productive lines of chickens and goats. Dr. Di’s farm is a model and a live example for people to come see and be inspired by.
Dr. Di’s other passion is teaching her seminary students. She loves when she can see the “light bulb” ahhh haaa moments in their faces (when they saw the rocket stove fire up and flames shoot out the top, for instance).
Some people may not understand this woman who is extremely diverse in her area of passions and gifting. But thousands have been blessed by her knowledge and love for the Lord. God has granted Dr. Di with a sharp mind and keen diagnostic skills. Her 20 years of service here in Papua have not been in vain. What a delight she is. I have no doubt that the Lord takes great joy in the life of Dr. Di.