Wednesday, January 29, 2014



Over the course of several Saturday mornings, our community has been constructing a new playground across the road from our store.  Last year Claire and Isaiah submitted ideas of what the playground should look like—elevated playhouses linked by bridges with curly slides, swings, etc.image.

Although the final plan isn’t quite as elaborate as their drawings, it still promises to be a fun diversion so we’ve been helping with its construction whenever we can.  This past Saturday, Claire was put in charge of priming the fence slats with a roller.  As you can see there was a lot of fence to paint!  She stuck to it though and completed the job.  Well done, Claire!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A “Yes!” Moment

It’s a chilly, wet afternoon here in PNG.  Home school assignments were finished hours ago and the weather is keeping the neighborhood kids indoors.  So what did my kids decide to do to wile away the time?  Read!  <insert a silent “Yes!” with arm pumping motion>


Claire is reading “Caboose Mystery” by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Isaiah is reading “Flight of the Butterflies” by Roberta Edwards.  Both are reading on the Kindle Fires they got for Christmas.  These Kindles now rank in the top five products we have ever owned (in my opinion anyway).  One reason is because of this.  My kids are reading in their free time!  Claire has in fact completed over a dozen books since Christmas.  Isaiah not as many…but hey, reading is still work for him.  So it’s big stuff that he is reading for fun!

I still prefer to hold an actual book, but downloading a new book off the internet sure beats shipping one across the Pacific!  Portability is key in our lifestyle and I love being able to bring my library in my carry-on bag.  And although some gifts from family members back in the USA took 4 months to arrive by sea freight, that gift certificate we received days before Christmas has already been put to good use.  Cool! 


So now I’ll end my “plug” for the Amazon Kindle and put one in for Sonlight, our home school curriculum provider.  Although they don’t utilize electronic reading devices much, they are instrumental in this important moment.  I firmly believe, all the stories we have read aloud as a family have helped develop my kids’ interest in reading.  Sonlight’s books have taken us on adventures all over the world and introduced us to amazing personalities throughout history.  I think Claire and Isaiah are figuring out the benefits of a good book on a rainy afternoon.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Closed Till Next Year

For the past couple of years our center has shut down over Christmas and New Year.  It makes sense in a lot of ways—a lot of business in PNG comes to a standstill in December.  December 25, 26 and January 1 are all national holidays, and we don’t do business on weekends anyway.  So why not close up shop for two weeks, let everyone take a much needed break, and let our PNG colleagues return to their home villages for a visit?

But I must admit it can be a bit scary for those of us who are used to 24/7 conveniences of the Western world.  When I say our center shuts down, I’m talking about “the bank”, the post office, the grocery store, the hardware store…everything but the clinic nurse on call.  All were closed from December 21 to January 5!  You can bet I made a list of everything I might need…and checked it twice.  It didn’t turn out too bad.  I only forgot matches and bathroom cleaner.  “Sorry, Honey!  I just won’t be able to clean the bathroom until the grocery store opens again in two weeks.”  <attempt to sound regretful>  Fortunately (or is that unfortunately) we have lots of neighbors willing to help in a pinch.

So how do we fill in the time?  We get creative!


  • Go on a Christmas Eve sleigh-ride PNG style!
  • Hold a “The Andy Griffith Show” marathon while camped on the floor under the Christmas tree.
  • Pretend the afternoon thunderstorm is really a Wisconsin snowstorm.  Play Christmas music to enhance ambiance.
  • Invite friends over for games as an excuse to eat lots of Christmas goodies.

photo 1

  • Spend lots of time building with Legos.
  • Play golf on Ukarumpa’s 3-hole course.  Really!
  • Drive (or walk) around the center after dark and give homes random awards for Christmas light displays.

  • Definitely support others who come up with imaginative ways to celebrate the holiday—especially if it involves ice-cream!  Here’s Ukarumpa’s first musical ice-cream truck!