We have been back in the US for exactly a month now. I did not recover as quickly as Emily from the jet lag of changing 14 time zones. In fact, it took me over two weeks to begin feeling normal! We have shared the amazing trip with several people since we’ve been back and each time it has mainly been about the relationships that we were able to form, renew, or grow to a deeper level. We learn a lot from the work we did and the people we served, but the love poured out toward us was most meaningful. I will be going to college soon and Emily will be finishing her last two years of high school. We are thankful that we were able to go on this trip and for the people that helped make it possible. He has made us into different people by the experiences of this past June. We pray that we can use some of these experience to be a positive influence and encouragement to others as we journey forward in our next stages of life.
Here are a few more pictures from our many adventures and life in PNG.
Heading to work at the clinic
Saying goodbye to friends
Chatting by the mumu
Gathering the mumu food
Ready for the hike up to Lone Tree
Up the mountain
Almost to the top
Camp all set up
Our whole camping group
Rejoicing in the beautiful land
Thanks to our wonderful hosts
Saying goodbye to PNG from the air
Mikayla and for Emily
As Mikayla said in the previous post, many villages surrounding our centre are a bit tense in this time of election. It is often somewhat dangerous to go too far off centre on foot, but not if you are with the right people! We had the opportunity to take a short trip to a nearby village a few days before leaving. It was the village of a very close family friend. His name is Andy, and he is a Papua New Guinean worker that assisted my dad when we were here in the past. He is extremely trustworthy and we knew he’d keep us safe. We went out to his village – about an hour’s walk – and had lunch with his family. Andy’s wife and children had prepared a traditional meal called a mumu. It is a long process, but essentially it is a pile of food cooked in a hole in the ground. We chatted with Andy while we ate kaukau (sweet potatoes), kumu (various greens), pitpit (a root that kinda tastes like corn), corn (tough like field corn), and chicken. After lunch we returned to our centre, because Andy had to go vote before the polling station ran out of paper. The memories we made in the short time we were with his family will stay in our hearts forever.
We are in Australia now, on our way back to the US soon. We will post a wrap-up with many more pictures in the coming week. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Papua New Guinea is going through an election period. At first I did not think it would effect us expats, because we obviously cannot vote here. Come to find out, it effects everyone quite a bit. Because so many nationals work on our center, many businesses have had to close for voting. Also, because of the PNG culture, the voting system can be unorganized and the “official” date of voting for our province changed multiple times. Obviously it is very different than an elections in the States. One thing that is not different is the heightened emotions of people all over the country. People leaving our SIL centre must be extra careful and aware because of the tension this current election has brought. One specific way I seen this is in the clinic. When we arrived I found out that they were not sending any expats or females out on village clinics for safety reasons. I was disappointed to hear this because it is something I was looking forward to doing. This week of election they have stopped village clinics all together.
Many helicopters have been coming and going from our SIL airstrip distributing and collecting ballots from remote villages. We ask for prayer for Papua New Guinea as the voting ends and officials attempt to collect the ballots from all the remote areas.
Here in Ukarumpa we have something called Cry Week. It’s starts with Tissue Sunday, which is the final Sunday night youth group of the year. A group of adults come in to lead worship instead of having student-led worship. This is so the students, especially the seniors, don’t have any responsibility on this last Sunday. After worship, the youth pastor led us in a time of prayer. Then for the rest of the evening there was an open mic time for the seniors to say goodbye and share some parting wisdom with the underclassmen. Also part of Cry Week is something called the Wailing Wall. This is a time on the last day of school where all the seniors line up and the rest of the school and anyone who wants come can go through the line to say their goodbyes. In the middle of Cry Week is graduation. This was a great time to forget about all the goodbyes and celebrate with classmates. Then come the final goodbyes at the airstrip. People start leaving the day after graduation and most people fly out from the SIL airstrip. Over the past week I’ve gone out to the airstrip six times to say goodbyes to many my classmates. The week of goodbyes may seem excessive to some, but it is closure for the MKs on this chapter of their lives. Graduating means it is time to leave both the place they grew up and the people they grew up with. Some people I have said goodbye to I will see in the States, but some people I may never see again.
Tuesday was my first day running the front desk of our SIL Clinic solo. I received training in previous days. It was a bit overwhelming at first, because I did not realize all I would be responsible for. Some of the things I do while running the front desk are: greet patients coming in for appointments, answer the main clinic phone, field emails that come in for the doctors, make new appointments, file patient charts, input bills into the computer system and send invoices, and answer the 4444 phone (our equivalent to 911). Much of it has been learning as I go, but thankfully the clinic staff is always willing to help. I am working the front desk because it is their biggest need right now. When they are so short staffed people have to be pulled out of other positions to work the front desk and cannot accomplish other critical needs in the clinic. I am very glad I can help the clinic to run more smoothly.
Emily is a busy bee. She is working on moving the classroom supplies for the Grade 6 classes to the middle/high school campus. A lot of lifting and packing to make this significant change. She will be working with the classroom teachers to set up rooms as the new school year begins on July 19. Ukarumpa International School only has four weeks of break between school years!
This Saturday felt like old times. Mikayla and I had the chance to attend the weekly “Smörgasbord.” Smörgasbord is a discussion group that one of the English teacher hosts at his house on Saturday mornings. He makes pancakes, tea, and coffee, and we sit around talking about different Christian topics that may be controversial or difficult to discuss. Some examples of things we discuss are: must Christians attend church every Sunday, what is women’s role in the church, and should euthanasia be an accepted practice.
This past weekend we discussed the fear of hell and the want of heaven and whether or not those two things should be reason we follow God. It was a great time to reconnect with friends on a spiritual level.
I also had the opportunity to partake in the 10th grade girls’ Community Group Supper. I caught up with old friends and met some new people, too. After the dinner we had a time of prayer and devotion for all those who would be leaving.