Monday, February 25, 2013

Thank you!

Can we just say how much we LOVE getting post and how grateful we are for the time, effort and money you put in so that we find something in our PO box! It really is like getting a hug from home.

Last week, we discovered a yellow piece of paper in the box. Those around cooed enviously: "Oooooooo you have a parcel!" The Post Office itself is only open in the afternoons, so we had to go back. To say that we were excited would be an understatement - our first parcel! When the lady handed it over, Tru actually did a little dance! (Not sure if this was appropriate but there were amused smiles all round!) Not only was it a parcel, but it was wrapped in brown paper - just like in the song, 'My Favourite Things'! Inside the loving sender had even made the box look like a suitcase and it was full of yummy reminders of Wales, including Welsh cakes (our favourite!).

We have also received some cards and it really is difficult to say how much the sight of well-known handwriting means. Perhaps you will think that we sound a little homesick and perhaps you are right, but it does. So thank you kind friends - these things always happen when we most need encouragement and God is certainly using our PO box to give it to us. Please keep them coming!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Daily Walk

We thought it would be fun to post photographs of some of the things we see everyday as we walk around the centre. So hope you enjoy them!

When we leave for work in the morning, this is the sight that most often greets us...

We know we included him in our post last time, but he is just so cute!

Then it's off down the hill - quite fast if you are Duncan (who likes to cut it fine for catching the P2 bus to aviation!)

We can't get used to seeing bananas just growing by the side of the road. Can you spot them?

The hills are quite steep and it can be quite a muddy walk - definitely no high heels for Tru.

This is the 'Meeting House' where amongst other things, Church happens. We have been attending the Tok Pisin service and are really enjoying learning new songs and new vocabulary. God is 'Bikpela'. At the beginning of March the High School will stage their production of Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town' in there too!

Once you are down the hill, you are in the heart of Ukarumpa - the store, post office, finance office (like the bank for us), school, clinic and director's office are all very close together. It is wonderful to have such excellent facilities available and both expats and Papua New Guineans work in the different places.

Our wonderful store - you never quite know what will be available so we have already learned that if you see it, buy it, because you may not see it again for a while...they have an excellent range of things available, but we haven't been quite brave enough to try the frozen crocodile yet!
The High School buildings are in the background.
These are the clinic buildings - we have two great doctors and a team of lovely people to keep us healthy while we are here.
Back up the hill...
Home sweet home - ours is the ground floor flat above the red door (which leads to a storage area). You can also see our water tanks!
So we wonder if it all looks like you thought it would? We never expected it to be so green!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Feeling New

We know we said we would be updating this more often, so apologies for not putting that into action! It's not that there haven't been things to say, or time to say them, but we just haven't been sure how to put them into words. Things are new and the same and different all at the same time. We recognise the sight of pine cones on the roads (our driveway in Anglesey is always covered in them), a beautiful cat who lives next door, green grass, people with umbrellas, students gathered round desks, maps on the walls, mechanics with greasy hands, tinned tomatoes on the shelves in the store and washing up in the sink. We recognise feeling new too and even though it has happened plenty of times before, it still feels challenging, uncomfortable and as if we would like it to be over as soon as possible.

Looking sleepy - perhaps a hard night of catching rats...
Perhaps it is the difference between recognising and knowing. Eager beavers that we are, we want to jump into knowing and being known and the hard fact is that that takes time and perseverance. Willing for both, we will keep on keeping on!

New friends definitely help. They are trying to make things familiar, manageable and a little bit fun! Check out Tru's Ukarumpa Domestic Goddess challenge below to see an example.
Tru has already achieved 'Junior Domestic Goddess' rating!
Thanks for praying about the would seem miracles do happen because it worked and Tru even got points for her success! She's working on the new recipe every week and trying to get excited about cooking with beans. Any suggestions welcome!

Work has begun too. Duncan has been having meetings, medicals and has started preparations for the air law examinations he must take in order to be able to fly here. Tru is team teaching Grade 7 (year 8) and Grade 8 (year 9) classes and they are about to start a unit on Stevenson's 'Treasure Island'. Her pirate voice is a bit dodgy, so there should be a few laughs...

As these times of transition continue we are struck by the things that don't change too and there are some: Duncan's face when he came back from his first flight (elated, delighted and did I mention elated?!), the messages of love and encouragement that have been filling our inboxes and the constant, overflowing grace of God.

All dressed up with places to go!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Actually in PNG at last!

It is very exciting to tell you that we are actually in Papua New Guinea! After all these years of talking about it we are here and it's incredible. After some last minute changes to our plans, we travelled straight to Ukarumpa in the Eastern Highlands Province where we hope to be based for the next four years!

The view from our flat
Ukarumpa is situated in a valley at about 5,000ft. Rain in the afternoons is common at the moment, but the temperature feels lovely after the sticky humidity of Cairns.

Our front door
Inside the flat - a little bare at the moment, but give us time :) 
We have had a wonderful welcome from people here and are gradually finding our feet. There is a store where you can buy an amazing range of things and market happens three times a week on centre. There are lots of super and encouraging cooks here, so Tru is beginning the long process of turning into a domestic goddess with help from some of the lovely ladies...she has made lemon cordial and is going to try yoghurt next. Pray. A lot.

Our biggest challenge at the moment is trying to learning the local language, Tok Pisin. Smiling broadly, shaking hands and saying 'Good Morning!' seems to go a long way, but there is only so long that will last for! We are told that the best thing to do is have a go, so that is what we are doing and so far we have had nothing but encouragement (accompanied by slightly bemused smiles!) Here is some of what we have learned so far:

Mi nupela.....I'm new
Mi no save (sav-ay) gut long Tok Pisin. Mi lainim...I don't understand Tok Pisin very well. I'm learning.
Mi amamas long lukim yu...I'm happy to meet you
Lukim yu...see you later

We start work this week and hope to update the blog more regularly now we are here. So keep practising your Tok Pisin, people! Lukim yu!