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Only a Woman (Waine Tuga)

Self Published
RRP $28.00 (including postage)

Reviewed by Bruce Mullan, Associate Director Church Solidarity (Pacific) with UnitingWorld.

Only a Woman is based on letters the author sent home to her mother and a friend in the 1950s and 60s while she was teaching in the Papuan Islands Region of Papua New Guinea.

When Patricia Riddel stumbled across her letters again almost 40 years later, she was determined to write her book – and what a great read it is.

From this isolated part of the mission field comes a story of an extraordinary woman having the adventure of a lifetime as she serves and educates a generation of Papuan young people.

The story introduces us to many people who worked in or visited the area and is peppered with light hearted detail – such as using the heat from the kerosene refrigerator to dry sliced bananas for a snack.

Pat doesn’t shy away from her homesickness or frustrations but brings to the reader a positive experience of Christian service above and beyond the call of duty.

This is not a polished autobiography but a collection of memories that provide a mental picture of a place most of us have never been and will be an important permanent record of the church’s mission engagement in this part of the Pacific.

As her former boss and mentor John Mavor said, “Pat has not only told her story but she has shown how missionaries in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s helped prepare the people, and the country, for independence. Pat’s humour and faith which shine through in the book mirror how she served in PNG, and how she serves today.”

In her introduction Pat says any profits that might accrue from the sale of the book will go back to buy library books for children in the Papuan Islands.

Only a woman indeed!

Only a Woman is available from the author on 07 5496 7418