Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pizza Hut, Meetings and Magnums

Earlier this month some of my colleagues and I hopped across the border to the Indonesian side of the island. The aim was to visit a sister organisation there and have a reminder of the ‘human’ factors at play when flying and making decisions.

We flew up to Vanimo, just on the PNG side of the border, in a Kodiak.

From there we travelled to the border by PMV (public motor vehicle).

There are lots of beautiful rivers which run under the road and out to the nearby sea.
The border itself can only be crossed on foot, but it was a painless process on both sides.

After clearing customs, we were collected by some of our colleagues who work on the Indonesian side.

The Indonesian side has a different feel to it, with lots of rice paddies near the road.

There was also a slight change of architecture!
But there were still familiar enough roadside markets.

However, we didn’t stop for lunch here, we went instead to Pizza Hut. Being roughly the same distance from us as mainland Australia, it’s probably our closest! A treat indeed (but don’t tell Trudie).


The next day was a chance to relax and we drove down to the coast for a short hop round to a local beach.
The jetty we launched from, with our transport tied up along side. Looks like we’re in for a rough crossing!
The more traditional style of boat (though the outboard may not be totally historically authentic).

Some of the kids were a bit bored – ‘Do we have to go to the same beautiful beach with wonderful snorkelling again?’!

Eventually, I suppose, we had to get round to doing some work.

Their new hanger.

Out with the old – a Helio Courier waiting to be retired…

 And in with the new – the Pilatus PC6.
Each evening, as we’d been working so hard, we rewarded ourselves with Magnum ice-creams from the local shop. Mmmm.

But it couldn’t all be hard work, and I got the opportunity to go kayaking on the nearby lake with a couple of the pilots; even if it did entail leaving at 5:15AM. Urrgh.

The boats were hand-made by the guy who took us – beautiful.

And if you’ve been working hard, there’s this appetising drink to refresh you…

Maybe not the name I would have gone with.

But don’t worry, buying it won’t break the bank, even if it might seem like it at first glance…

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Eventually it had to be over, though, I guess.

So we reversed our route back to Vanimo.
The Vanimo beach.

And flew back home.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Marmalade Cordial and the Queen

Duncan has been away this week, so I have had to get used to being here on my own. He will be home in about two hours and my conclusion for the week is that I prefer it when he is here. Obviously. However and somewhat surprisingly, I have still had a good week.

I won't bore you with all the details, but it seems that life has suddenly got busy. Let's take yesterday as an example.

I was up at 6.15 in order to go to market. Local people come onto the centre and sell fruit and vegetables to the community three mornings a week. The biggest thing I noticed about it when I first went, was how quiet it was. There is no bartering, so you just choose and pay. Juggling all the bags is the biggest challenge for me! Having entertained some local ladies with my antics in past visits, I was determined to do better this week. Experience has taught me that the best equipment is a large bucket and a large string bilum (bag) filled with plastic bags for keeping small, squishy things (like strawberries, which you buy in piles) from going everywhere (not that that has happened to me...well, maybe it has, MUCH to the amusement of those around.) As long you buy your pineapples and heavy veg before your tomatoes all goes well - obvious you might think, but I have learned the hard way. In my defence, it is difficult to be organised when you are half asleep and easily distracted...but, I am happy to report that I survived market without incident yesterday, which makes for fewer entertaining stories, but made me happy. Pride goes before a fall, so clearly I will have a story to tell next week!

I struggled back up the hill with my purchases and began the process of bleaching, washing and zip-lock bagging. It's a bit tedious, but I must say that it is quite pleasing to behold your fridge full of neatly (well ok, maybe not that neatly) stacked bags full of clean food, all ready to undergo the undoubtedly exciting process of being cooked/chopped/manhandled by me.

Then I walked back down the hill for school. I have Grade 8 first thing and we started work on 'Literature Circles'. It involves the students choosing books to read and then forming small groups to discuss and log about their reading experiences. Should be fun. I wish I could be in a group... Next was Grade 8 again, but this time for drama. This term I am helping the drama teacher get the class ready to perform a play in 5 weeks. It's a short one based on fairytales, but with lots of amusing twists. The students are really excited!

Back up the hill and home, in time to have lunch with lovely new friend and Tok Pisin teacher, Leon. She taught me the days of the week and the months of the year and we even looked at a few pages of 'Hello' magazine (thanks, mum).  I tried to explain that my mum had sent it to me, but I don't think I said the right thing, because Leon pointed at the photograph of the Queen on the front cover and said, "Mama bilong you?" (which means, "Is that your mother?") I told her who it was and we laughed for about five minutes. Good times.

Back down the hill (are you sensing a theme here?!) for school again - Grade 7 this time. They are great fun and we always laugh far more than I am sure we should!

Back up the hill again (!) to clean, cook and get ready for having a girls' supper party (I won't say 'dinner party' because that makes it sound grand and as though it was 3 courses and I only did 2. Lazy I know!). I had a similar event on Monday and apart from making orange cordial that undeniably tasted like marmalade and inviting the guests to come at different times (I think baby-brain is striking), it all went surprisingly well! So I was excited about take two, although wisely left the remains of the marmalade cordial for another day. We had fun, but there had to be a dodgy moment and it happened when I nearly spilled cream all over one of my guests. Amazingly she didn't get any on her. You see - God does care about the little things! Once we had all got over the shock it became a laughing point for the rest of the evening, so I think I survived!

I flopped into bed at about 10.30pm, which is late for a good missionary wife (I'm SUCH a rebel) and reflected on a busy day. I hate being apart from Duncan, but God has been with me and I have had a busy, fruitful time. As to what he has been up to, I will leave that for him to tell you, but needless to say, more adventures have been had. I think I hear his footsteps... : ) : ) : )