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!


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