Sunday, September 29, 2013

Flags of the World…

We love that our home school curriculum is very internationally focused.  Not only do we enjoy learning about different cultures, countries and people, this year we are praying our way through “Window on the World”—a book about 92 mostly unreached peoples or countries of the world.  Every day Isaiah asks what country we're reading about next.  While I read, he makes that country's flag on an A4 size piece of paper.  On days where the book isn't scheduled, he looks in our atlas for another flag to color.  Another fun aspect of our geography lesson is that here in Ukarumpa we live among people from 17+ different nationalities.  Sometimes we can match faces with flags.  Isaiah can't wait till we read about that exotic country of Papua New Guinea.  <wink>

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hiking to Lone Tree

See that mountain in the center of the photo—the one with trees on top?  That mountain is what we call “Lone Tree” and I see it every day from our verandah.  But in the six years that we’ve lived here in PNG, I’ve never even gotten close to it.  Until today….


Our hike with friends started in the opposite direction and took us down the road and through the National High School.  We passed this billboard just before we started climbing.  Was it a warning?  Actually, it’s a fairly common advertisement here in PNG.


The road/trail starts to get steeper and we pass hillside gardens and “haus kunai” (houses made with bush materials).


The road (yes, cars drive on it) is rock-hard clay.  Fortunately, it’s dry clay today.  I can imagine the slimy, slippery mess it must be during the wet season.


Impossible to keep the boys from running off ahead and blazing a trail.  They’re happy to reach the first crest before the rest of us.


From the crest we can gaze down in the neighboring valley.  It looks like a plain perfect for gardens or grazing cattle.  A few houses do exist around the edges, but the whole valley is actually one big swamp.  Makes me wonder if it were a lake long, long ago.


Remember those trees at the top of “Lone Tree”?  We ate our lunch among them.  Seeing these giant (6+ feet high) prehistoric-looking ferns made me wonder if dinosaurs might be lurking nearby.


The hike down is breath-taking and the perfect setting for flinging your arms out and singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”


Had to stop for a Facebook cover photo.  <cough>  That’s Ukarumpa in the background.  It felt invigorating to be on the outside of the fence.


A closer shot through the smoke of burning grass.  The red arrow points to where we live.

At the bottom of the mountain we had to hike through some gardens, wade across the Ba’e River and stroll through a small coffee plantation.  Coffee plantations are scattered all over our valley and here are some unripe berries.


The whole trek took us about 4 1/2 hours.  That included stopping for lunch and a quick dip in the icy water of the Ba’e.  The boys, not me!  We all made it back with minimal blisters and bruises.  Claire even declared she’d do the hike again the next day…as long as she only had to walk downhill.  <smile>

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Flew the Coop

It’s been two weeks since our coop went from this…


…to this overnight.


All 17 of our broiler chickens flew the coop, or went “wokabout” [went walking] as we politely say here in PNG.  What we really mean is that they were stolen--right from under our noses, but we’re pretty helpless to do anything about it.

And so we process….

  • The carefully backed-out screws in the door locks, and scattered chicken feathers don’t allow us to linger in denial for more than a millisecond.
  • Our Christian/missionary training won’t allow us to dwell on angry thoughts like--this is why it’s so hopeless to try to do anything here.
  • So we move on to bargaining because maybe the security guys have a lead.  And maybe the culprits’ village will forsake the cultural value of clan loyalty to help some “rich” foreigners get justice and compensation for a few missing meals.  Or maybe not…
  • …and we’re sorely tempted to sink into depressionSomeone out there is laughing at our futile attempts to keep our chickens safe.  Yeah, that idea to put the coop near a light and the road so the night guards would have a clear view of it—that worked well.  Not.  What a waste of time and money…etc., etc..

I think that’s the hardest part of it for us—feeling like we’ve been duped, and wondering if it’s worth it to get duped again.  We still don’t know.  But the cord of truth that pulls us into acceptance is knowing that God is still on his throne.  He holds the “why” in his hand, and He alone knows what the final outcome will be.  That’s OK with us because we trust Him.