Saturday, June 16, 2018

Baruga New Testament Dedication

Let's travel to a new part of PNG: Oro Province!  As you can see, the coastline near Tufi is known for it's fjords.  (Yeah... and you thought they were only in Scandinavia...)

By the way, if you are into diving or snorkeling, then Tufi would be a dream come true for you.  It's a little out of the way, but worth it.  I didn't get to snorkel at Tufi, but from other places I've seen in PNG, I know that Papua New Guinea will ruin for you any other snorkeling experience.

From Ukarumpa we flew in a Kodiak to Tufi, and then the helicopter shuttled us inland to Erika village.  It's only a 15-minute helicopter ride, but would take you several hours by boat if you traveled inland via the Musa River and its tributaries.

Erika village from the air.

Each helicopter shuttle was met by a sing sing group, which formally welcomed the visitors and danced them into the village.

The Baruga people took very good care of us.  They had been instructed to build very minimal sleeping porches for us (i.e. a platform with a roof and no walls.)  Instead, we got this:

A not-so-minimal longhouse with men on one end and women on the other.   They probably used three times the amount of materials than they needed to in order to make really nice sleeping quarters for us.  A ton of work went into this!

Inside there were little cubicles with two beds each.  

My bed (before the mosquito net went up!)

There were also brand-new, rather deluxe men and women's toilets:

And a bath house each for men and women:

Bathing involved standing on the wooden platform and dumping buckets of water on yourself.  Women from the village re-filled these water drums every morning for the guests.

I spent three nights in the village, which I loved, since it gave me quite a bit of free time to wander around and capture daily life in the village.

 We hiked down to the smaller tributary near the village and saw their canoes.

And we even hiked all the way down to the much bigger Musa River.  Baruga from other villages made these rafts from banana trees to come for the dedication.   We could swim in the smaller river if we wanted, but not the Musa.... because crocodiles.  

One morning I got up a dawn and saw all the women walking out of the village with their pots and pans.  So of course I followed.

Since most of the people eat their evening meal after dark, the dishes don't get washed until first thing in the morning!

Snack time!

On Saturday some of the visitors held a mini VBS program for the kids.

 This huge platform was loaded down with food contributions from all of the Baruga villages.  I can't imagine how long it would take to eat that all!

There were also a couple of pigs brought to help feed the crowd.

 Jim and Joan were the translation advisors for the program.  The translation was started by Jim and his first wife (it was their second language program in PNG).  When Jim's first wife passed away, he continued alone until he married Joan about 10 years ago.

They had a LOT of help!  These are all the members of the translation team!  Jim and Joan will be retiring this year, but the Baruga plan to continue with Old Testament translation.

The dedication ceremony itself started with a big procession and more singing and dancing.  Then of course, lots of speeches.

 Some of the translators were pretty emotional when they were presented with their copies of the New Testament.

 After the dedication, audio recordings were also for sale in addition to the New Testaments.  These were pretty popular, and I heard a lot of people listening to them the next day.

I've got more photos and stories than I could share here, but hopefully this gives you a glimpse of this corner of PNG.  The people were just as beautiful as the scenery.

Now that the party is over and life goes back to normal for the Baruga, we pray that the Scriptures would continue to change lives in this community.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Photo Friday: Birds, Bacon, Butterflies and Batteries

This week:

We have ducks again!  These two female Muscovies are from the batch of eggs that our old duck Snowflake hatched out a year ago, right after we left PNG for furlough.  They got a little excited about the water, and Kate wasn't sure what to do with their flapping...

Brian managed to track down a drake that we can buy from someone else, so hopefully he will be joining these ladies soon, and maybe next time we get a clutch of eggs, we will be around to see them hatch.

A glum-looking little butterfly.

Maybe not so glum!

"Last Day of School" picture.  (The quotation marks are because the photo was taken on Wednesday, because mom wouldn't be around for their real last day of second grade and preschool on Friday)

A selfie stick???

This is actually from two weeks ago, when Brian smoked his homemade bacon... how could I have forgotten to include it?!!  Bacon is a special treat here, but now we are well supplied!

Just for fun, a short time-lapse of the view from our front porch (which is also the view from my kitchen window where I spend so much time cooking and washing dishes):


And finally, batteries.  I'm writing this blog on Wednesday and scheduling it to post on Friday, because Thursday morning I'll be headed to Erika village in Oro Province to video the Baruga New Testament dedication celebration!  Erika village is pretty remote, with only a limited amount of solar power at the translator's house and so I'm making sure that all of the batteries for two cameras a fully charged before I leave.  I'll be there for three nights, while Brian holds down the home front.  I expect to come back with batteries empty and memory cards full!

Until next week...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Photo Friday: Small and Big Things

I know I missed last week.  :(

I was busy every evening with this:

Every year at this time, a big chunk of our community is busy getting ready for Banquet - a special evening for the 11th and 12th grade class.  Part of the fun is a play put on by parents and friends of the graduating class, in which parents often play the part of their child and poke fun at their unique habits and attributes.  This year I was asked to direct the play.  As you might be able to guess, the theme of Banquet this year was "Vikings" and so the play was about the crew of a viking ship.

Really my part in it all was minimal.  The play was written by one of the high school teachers and was chock full of inside jokes, and the parents/teachers/siblings did a wonderful job of hamming up their parts.  Banquet is a lot of work, but it's also very special for the graduating class, most of whom will be leaving their PNG home for their passport countries soon after graduation.

In the small things:

Sugar cane has been a favorite snack lately. 

 Climbing trees with friends.


 A funky-looking bug in our back yard.

 We have a few small black raspberry bushes in our yard, but are never able to collect enough to make anything.  Checking the bushes for ripe berries is a daily ritual for the kids, and they go directly into mouths.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Photo Friday: Sports and Trucks

This week:

There was a community 5K run/walk last Saturday, and Greg decided the night before that he should run it with his dad.  It was his first 5K.

They both ran well (though Greg ended up beating Brian by a whole minute...)

For Mother's Day we went out to lunch in Kainantu (no photos).  Later in the afternoon we build a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows:

Brian went on a three-day trip to Lae.  If you were around him for more than 20 minutes on furlough he probably showed you pictures on his phone of our new rugged cargo truck.  Brian has been training the drivers on all of the new truck's features, including an automatic transmission, which is rare in PNG and an electric retarder for going downhill.  He wanted to accompany the guys on their first trip down to Lae so that he could answer any questions.

 When Brian texted me on Wednesday to ask me to meet the truck when it arrived, I did not expect to see him standing in the back! 

 Apparently he only rode back there for the last 20 minutes to check for low-slung power lines, due to the height of the water tanks they were hauling.  He claims the cargo gets to ride a lot smoother than the crew on the bumpy roads!

 The High School is having their annual Sports Day, a track and field event.  Greg likes to watch the races, but it wasn't long until he was distracted by the lure of foursquare, which is the hottest recess game from what I can tell.  

When I was a kid, we played foursquare with big red rubber balls, but here it is played with racquetballs, and there is a ton of specialized lingo that has developed over the years.  I rarely understand Greg when he talks about playing.

Kate loves the cage on the back of our truck.  She uses it as monkey bars, and after each trip in the truck we are commanded to watch her "tricks", which are usually the same two things over and over again.

And here are our four little red hens.  My mom was wondering how they were doing, so this photo is for her.  They're eight weeks old now.