Friday, April 23, 2010

sports and rain

The High School here has a very active sports program – soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, rugby (sorry, no American football!), but their seasons tend to be a bit shorter. For example, the volleyball season is only 5 weeks long! Why? Well… there just aren’t that many other High Schools nearby to play against! Usually each sport will have a few tournaments to go to, where 3 or 4 schools will show up on a Saturday and play. The students play against both national High Schools and another mission school in Goroka.

Yesterday, some other ladies and I were sensibly getting our exercise indoors at the aerobics class, which meets three times a week in a classroom overlooking the sports field. While we were there, there was a torrential downpour. At first I felt a bit sorry for the track team and the touch rugby team, who were out in the mess practicing. But it looks like they were having fun…

The girls volleyball team was also out in the rain – playing a match against the ladies of the community.

Recent estimates say that we’ve had almost 70 inches of rain this year already. The 30-year average rainfall for a year here in the valley is 85 inches. It has been a wet year so far, but dry season should be coming soon – right??

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Getting ready for little Frey

We have been talking about getting the baby’s room ready for a couple months now, but like anything else it just kept getting put off.  Susan had decided on the colors over a month ago, but we were saving our money to buy the paint.  Paint in PNG is very expensive!  We looked at the little book of paint colors and selected the ones we wanted. (Of course, in PNG you can never be sure that the color that they mix up at the hardware store will actually match the paint chips.)  And we went down to the hardware counter here in Ukarumpa to buy it.  However, all they had was high gloss paint and we really wanted semi-gloss.  We figured that since I go down to Lae often that we could just wait until my next trip.  Another week went by, and then Clark, my boss, went down and was able to pick it up.

We spent today moving the furniture away from the walls and doing any final sanding and washing.  Then it was time to paint.  All went well and we were very careful not to spill on the hardwood floors.  We have one green wall and the other three are a light brown.  It turned out pretty nice and as far as we can remember it looks like what we picked out of the book.  Susan said that was the advantage of picking out the colors so far in advance – since we no longer have the paint chips to compare it to, we can’t be sad if it isn’t exactly the same.   Tomorrow we’ll just have to do the second coat on the tan walls and then the trim work, and then Susan can finally get around to decorating it (apparently that’s really important to moms…)

Susan’s almost at 30 weeks now – only 10 left to go.  (And only 4 and a half until we leave PNG…)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all of you! We enjoyed a quiet and restful day here in PNG, but for most of you Sunday is just starting. We wish we could have been home to celebrate with you.

Here is photo for you of 6-months pregnant me, taken just this evening. Brian jokes that he caught me as I’m supposed to be in this photo – pregnant, barefoot, and in the kitchen making his dinner!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Passover Seder

Last night, to celebrate Good Friday we ate a Passover Seder meal with some friends.  We each brought one of the requisite dishes and sat on cushions on the floor at a friend’s apartment.  It was the first time for both of us to participate in a Seder meal.

PNG tru

Ruby is PNG tru - a true Papua New Guinean dog. Why? Because she would much rather eat kaukau (sweet potato) or bananas than dog food. Since dog food is fairly expensive here, we usually mix a little boiled kaukau or a banana in with her food to stretch it farther. She wolfs down that first, before she’ll touch the dog food. In fact, whenever she sees one of us walking towards the bunch of bananas that we often have hanging under our porch to ripen, she jumps up and sits by the fence, wagging her tail expectantly and licking her lips, in case we decide to throw her one.

She used to get so excited about feeding times that she would jump all over us, and so we trained her to wait. Now when she hears us filling the food dish, she runs to her spot outside the back door and sits obediently.

However, as you can see from this photo, once we place the dish on the ground it seems to take all of her willpower to remain sitting and wait for the command to eat!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

it's the small things

I have been making fun of Brian this week because every time he opens the refrigerator he exclaims with delight when the light comes on. It seems such a small thing – a light bulb for your refrigerator. But there is no such thing as instant gratification here in the middle-of-nowhere, Papua New Guinea. When our light bulb burnt out, we soon found that we couldn’t obtain a new one locally. We had to order one from Australia. It took two weeks to arrive. Brian kept a running countdown. “Next week the light bulb should be here.” “This week, the light bulb should arrive.” “Today is the day – I hope the flight isn’t late so that we can get our light bulb before the weekend…” It did come in time, and now when we open our refrigerator, we can see the contents. It’s a beautiful thing.

Likewise, I was absolutely delighted today when I could clearly see the bottom of the toilet bowl. Brian has been up on the roof a lot recently trying to put the final touches on our new plumbing system – one last valve for our header tank which he pieced together from random spare parts. It took him a while to get the configuration just right. Now, at last, we can have rain water feeding the entire house (at least in the rainy season when there is no shortage of supply). Up until now, we have been limited to using “RAM water” (water that is pumped out of the river) for our hot water, showers and toilets. RAM water is usually a murky yellowish-brown and tends to stain things. With the new system, we can use rain water for everything. My haus meri came and cleaned this morning while I was at work, scrubbing away the last of the RAM water stains, and at lunchtime I was shocked when I looked into my toilet bowl and it looked clean.

So, those are just a few examples of how we find joy in the little things here in Ukarumpa.