Posted on 26 April, 2016

If there is a team member who epitomises what Open Heart International is all about, it is Lisa Perrett, better known as “Liklik”.


The theatre nurse got her nickname in 2000 by the locals in Papua New Guinea (PNG) while she was on her first mission.

“The nickname is ‘Humbug Liklik Mary’, which means ‘cheeky little girl’,” Lisa said.

“They (the locals) kept saying it and by the second (mission) year it was shortened to Liklik.

“I think half the time new team members don’t even know what my real name is and I have to explain I don’t lick everything.”

The nickname summarises Lisa perfectly.

When asked what she brings to the team, Liklik answered ‘personality’ and it could not be more true, but she offers a lot more than that.

Lisa is hard working, a team player, calm in an emergency, she has remarkable relationships with the locals at the hospital and surrounds, she is full of entertaining overseas stories and has everyone in stitches at dinner.


Since her first mission, Lisa has travelled with Open Heart International to Mongolia, Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, and East Africa, becoming one of the organisation’s well-served veterans, and a highly valued team member who keeps these projects working smoothly.

“I do about two or three projects a year, sometimes three and four,” she says.

“I would do five if I am allowed the leave; it becomes addictive.

“PNG is a favourite because it was my first trip, but I love Africa.”

And she does it for the kids.

“They don’t have a choice,” she says.

“You meet new children every time who clutch at your heart strings.

“There are always cuties everywhere, and usually the ones that get you are the smallest patients.”

She also enjoys making new relationships, as well as the banter that comes with seeing old friends.

“You have so much fun and you meet new people every year,” she says.

“You do something extraordinary you wouldn’t do at home.”

Lisa was a part of the project in Rwanda and signed up for the next mission in Tanzania, however, she is leaving the mission a day early.


Liklik needs to get back to Australia in time to personally see her fellow Open Heart International colleague and friend, Kym Stuart, receive an Order of Australia on Wednesday May 4 in Brisbane.

An award Lisa helped to nominate Kym for, (For more details visit;

“Kymmy was the one who got me involved with OHI, because I lived with her, she was going, and she encouraged me to go,” Lisa said.

“Kymmy has been on 50-odd trips and has been awarded an Order of Australia.

“I am going to her ceremony so I can go and pin on her badge and make sure she looks nice in front of the Governor-General.

“It is very well deserved.”

Learning about each country she travels to is what Lisa enjoys the most about travelling on these trips.

“You go to someone’s country and try and learn the language so you can communicate enough for them to know you are interested in their culture, and they love it,” she says.

“They get excited and it means the world to them when you make the effort.”

Lisa says she will keep volunteering with Open Heart International as long as they will take her, which we expect will be a very long time.


Tags:  East Africa,