Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, May 15 - Eastern Highlands, PNG
We are in Ukarumpa. It is beautiful! I am in awe of this place.
I'll post pictures later but the trip was breathtaking.
Rhett, Todd and I are at the SIL Guesthouse. I have my own room with a bath. Mi amamas tru!
Irame, my house lady when we lived here before, was at the guest house when I arrived. It was so good to see her!
I'll look forward to spending some time with her in the next couple of days.
We leave for the Teen Center and hamburger night in a few minutes.
At 11:00 pm - last night - I woke up and felt like I was suffocating. I’d been asleep for about an hour, the house was quiet. Our room in Lae doesn’t have a fan, no wind was moving through the open, slated windows. I laid in bed with my nose close to the windows, praying, begging God for a little breeze.
That’s when the dogs started yelping right outside my window. Two dogs, stuck together in the act of fornication. I doubt they were married.
Still no breeze. There were other nights like that one. But usually some kind of breeze moved through the house. I began to panic. I began to sweat.
I needed air. So I grabbed my foam mattress and took it to the living room where Jordan and Stephen lay under the fan. Relief. Sleep.
I awoke at 6:13 pm and got in the shower before everyone else. I am still wondering why I even bothered showing in Lae because 5 minutes after the shower I am sweating.
I began making our special birthday breakfast – French toast – Jordan turns 22 today. We bought birthday candles at the store. One special one with the ability to sing out a tune – Happy Birthday. Jordan was surprised – the girls had made a card and we all secretly signed it the night before.
We had all our suitcases packed by 8:30 am for devotions. By 9 am we were walking to the chapel for the seminary students. One last chapel and then good bye.
The Maipai Transport van showed up about 10 am. Confusion about who was going and what was happening but soon we were on our way with two seminarians from the highlands, Peter and John. Their presence would be useful later on in the day.
We stopped at the bank in Lae for the students to get money out. Once again Rhett was denied access to the trips funds. Hopefully he has enough till we get to Goroka next week.
On the road we welcomed the wind, albeit hot wind, as we headed towards the highlands.
Although I know I it was a road I had traveled before nothing about this journey was familiar: Except for the beautiful scenery as we passed further and further was the city and into the bush. Past the Ramu Valley with Brahma cattle grazing in the kuni.
Foolishly I had failed to think about what to do for lunch. We should have packed a lunch. Here is where John and Peter helped so much. We discussed our need for food and drink. Peter suggested a place several miles up the road.
This place was just a market where we could get cold drinks and Wopa Biscuits and fruit. It was a great experience. Peter, John, Jordan and I headed into the market leaving the others in the van. We returned with plenty of food for the rest of the journey. I only wish I had gotten a picture of the whole think. Maybe one of the students did.
With great expectancy we head for the hills – highland hills. Cooler weather awaited us around every bend. Breathtaking vistas new around every turn. When we reached the summit of the Kassam Pass, Peter exclaimed “Now you are in the Highlands.” Immediately we knew there was a difference.
The humidity was gone, and although the sun was out it was not as hot as Lae. Everyone felt the relief.
We dropped Peter and John off in Kainantu. Did I mention it was fortnight? Pay day. Everyone is out on the town. Rhett gave each many 100 kina and they planned to get a PMV back to Lae that afternoon. They were along the ride to make sure we made it to Kainantu.
Rhett was worried the most about this part of the trip. Fortnight isn’t always the best time to travel. Our group made it all that more stressful. I can’t help but think about Wade as our first day in the country was a fortnight as well. He had to travel by PMV (Public Motor Vehicle) from Goroka to Ukarumpa….alone, on a fortnight.
The scenery began to look familiar. And then we crossed the Ukarumpa bridge. It has a gate on it now. The entire area was crowded with people waiting. We drove right to the guest house and were warmly welcomed by Esther. As I looked into the kitchen I saw a familiar face: IRAME!! I cried a little as I hugged her. She looked really good! She looked healthy and happy.
Soon the host families were arriving to pick up the team. Everyone seemed a little sad to leave the group. After all, we’d pretty much been together 24/7 since we left 11 days ago.
I walked down to the store to buy bread, peanut butter and honey, for sandwiches, in case we need them to feed the students later in the week.
The store is VERY different. It has a fence all around it. And there is a Kai Kai bar in the front that serves everything from meat pies to ice cream. Todd had met me at the store and he bought me an ice cream cone.
I plan to go back there for meat pies later this week.
We met everyone down at the Teen Center. It was packed and smokey inside. The Jone’s family, Marsha and Larry – who’s son Jared used to live in our house on Meridian in Newberg, is hosting Jordan and Stephen. They sat with us. They are both teachers here on a one year assignment. I plan to have tea with Marsha on Monday at 10 am.
We all walked up to the guest house for our debriefing. Some people are having trouble leaving the wonderful relationships that were made at Lae. Since our time here is rather uncertain, for those who need to have things spelled out, it is hard for them to wrap their heads around what is in store.
I’ll keep you all posted. But for now, since I have wireless, I’ll post this and maybe a picture.