Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hamburger Night

In a lot of ways, Ukarumpa is a great place for kids to grow up. Great schools and all your friends live within walking distance. No TV, and so kids spend a lot of time running around outside. But for teenagers, it can be kind of hard sometimes. They can learn to drive, but there is no where to go! They can’t leave the center without an adult. There really isn’t much to do.

So the Teen Center was built – a place where teens can go and do activities and hang out. And on Friday nights when school is in session, the whole community gathers around for Hamburger Night. (As you can see in the photo, people start lining up a half hour before the window opens!) Since many of the teens in Ukarumpa won’t go back to their home countries until they are ready for college, someone decided it would be good for them to be able to get a little bit of work experience while in High School. On Friday nights the kids cook up hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. They get to earn a little money and get some experience in a fast food type of environment. And it’s a great way for people in the community to “eat out” – that is, to eat a meal that they didn’t make from scratch.

Brian and I volunteer to be adult helpers at Hamburger Night once a school term. That means that about four times a year we come and work alongside the teens (Brian at the grill flipping burgers and me filling orders). In exchange, we get a free meal.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Meet Ruby, future ferocious guard dog. Right now she’s missing her littermates and isn’t acting so tough. In fact, she’s whining quite a bit and acting pretty pitiful. But we know that will pass with time. It’s her first day as an only dog. Pretty soon she’ll realize how lucky she is to have a spacious back yard all to herself. There is even a pesky cat to chase (one we’ve been trying to get rid of for over a month now).

And here is the doghouse that Brian and I built together over the course of a few weekends. It all started with a “simple” plan that I found on the internet. I convinced Brian that it would be a fun weekend project. About two hours into the project it almost turned into an frustrating ordeal (we didn’t realize that the spare 2”x2”s we were planning on using were actually kwila, better known as ironwood. It was a bit harder to put together than we intended!). But we persevered and ended up with a very nice finished project. And we were still friends when it was done too, which is the most important thing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I’m pretty clueless when it comes to orchids. My brother happens to be a fan though, and told me to take photos while we were over here, since Papua New Guinea is such a rich environment for them. So this blog is for you Scott. Saturday I went to a meeting of the gardening club on center, and the topic was orchids. The person leading the meeting showed us the over 100 varieties of orchids that he has collected just within the past year, most of them now residing in a large mango tree in his yard.

When I came home, I took a closer look at our own yard, and discovered that we have several types of orchids growing in our frangipani trees. (A previous owner of the house was an orchid fan). Most of them were not in bloom, but I took some photos of the five varieties that were in bloom. I’ve made a rough stab at naming them (or at least the genre), with the aid of a little guide I got from the gardening club. But I make no promises on how accurate the names are.

D. Polysema

D. pseudoglomeratum