Sunday, October 31, 2010


Here in Papua New Guinea we don’t celebrate Halloween. However, every year on the last Saturday in October the 7th-12th graders host Carnival at the High School. Carnival is a fundraiser – half of the proceeds go towards a charity that the students elect (this year it is for a school of the blind) and half goes towards the school. The students and parents put a lot of work into it, and it’s a highlight of the year, especially for families with small children.

This year the theme was Country Fair, and so all the students were dressed in Western style and the High School campus was decorated accordingly. For adults, the main attraction at Carnival is the food. (Remember, we have very few opportunities to eat out in Ukarumpa). There are different booths selling barbecue, pizza, coffee, desserts, ice cream and donuts. This year a new booth was the Fry Daddy, with delicious fried food like chicken, fruit fritters, and funnel cakes – yum!

For the kids there is face painting…

A dunk tank (usually it’s the teachers that they get to dunk)…

A strength hammer…

An auction…

And of course, perhaps the most famous Carnival institution – the Ferris Wheel (which is hand-powered by High School boys)

Other activities included pony rides, a maze, a beauty salon, and the Jail (you can pay to have the high school boys track down your friends and have them thrown into jail for a specified amount of time.) Brian also spent an hour driving a tractor and trailer around center for the hayride. He told me he got some pretty funny looks from the Papua New Guineans that they passed, who were thinking “what on earth are those weird white skins up to now?”

Brian and I were talking as we ate our funnel cakes and remembering the time that a national friend of ours told us that he was glad that he wasn’t a white skin “because they don’t have culture.” Sure, we don’t dress up in feathered headdresses and body paint to do traditional dances like our national friends do, but we do have our own culture, and the Carnival is a good example.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun at home

Aren’t little boys in overalls just the cutest thing?

As part of the morning routine, Brian likes to tuck Greg into our bed (on mom’s side, of course, in case he spits up!) while we are getting ready for the day.

Greg isn’t usually that interested in the computer, with the exception of when it’s playing music. It’s a great way to entertain him in the evening when he’s a bit cranky but it’s not bedtime yet. We put on some instrumental music and turn on the visualization in Windows Media Player, and he will just sit there, entranced by the music and the swirling colors for the longest time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PNG Made

Like the shirt mom made for me?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Road Work

The other day Greg and I hiked up to the top of the hill to see the road grader in action. I was waiting at a crossroads with my camera for the grader to turn around and come back down the hill.

These four boys were also having fun watching the grader (don’t ask me why they weren’t in school…), but when they saw this white lady just standing there with her stroller doing nothing, they came over to watch me instead. When they saw me pull out my camera, they got extra excited and quickly posed for a picture.

After the grader had gone by I let them come over and take a peek at the photo on the back of the camera. Kids in PNG love to have their picture taken. I wonder what they’d do if someone actually had a film camera, and they couldn’t see the photo afterwards?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Brian

This afternoon we had a birthday party for Brian with cake, ice cream and friends. How old is he? Count the candles and find out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Greg is growin'

Greg is three months today. Here he is at two months:

And here is at three months:

Ruby wanted to get in on the photo shoot too!

Aw mom! Are we done taking pictures yet?

Guess where those blue eyes came from…

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How things are done

Take a look at the packaging on many PNG products, and you will realize that the majority of Papua New Guineans still live in fairly remote, rural settings, without all the modern conveniences available in or near cities. Even here in Ukarumpa, many of our Papua New Guinean employees will still cook their meals outside in a special cookhouse over a fire, because they don’t want to pay for the electricity or gas that would be needed to cook in their kitchens.

For example, a package of sausages gives instructions for four different ways to prepare them, including boiling, frying, grilling, or putting them on top of a wire grate over a fire. Likewise, a package of rice includes the following cooking instructions:

  1. measure rice and put into pot
  2. measure water and put into pot – one cup rice to two cups water
  3. add a tsp of salt
  4. cook the pot of rice over a big fire, until it boils, then reduce the fire until it stops boiling.
  5. Reduce the fire even more and allow to heat until the water dries up
  6. remove pot from fire
  7. “kaikai wantaim gutpela abus” (literally – ‘eat with some good animal meat”)

Our friend Joy, the literacy worker, is currently out in the village. She requested that I gather a few things to send out to her on the next flight that will be going through that area. This included some application forms for a Bible College in the area. I found that a few of the questions on the application were ones you would never think to ask in America:

“Do you have more than one wife/husband, or have you ever had more than one wife/husband?”

“Have you finished paying the bride price in full?”

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday is strawberry day

This morning when I went to the market I was a little disappointed by the fruit selection. The passion fruit didn’t look so hot, there were none of my favorite kind of mangoes, and I wasn’t in the mood for pineapple. Luckily, it’s Monday, and Monday is strawberry day.

Our yard meri, Defa, comes and works for us on Monday mornings. Her family grows strawberries as a cash crop, and she sells them in the market every week. And when she comes to work, she will bring me some of her best leftovers to sell. So most Mondays, we have strawberries for lunch. The strawberries here don’t last long, so we eat them all on the first day, or freeze any leftovers.

Here is Defa with Greg. Today she saw the birthmark on his back, and wanted to know what had happened to him. I explained that he’d had it since he was born, and it was normal. ‘Oh’, she replied – ‘it’s like this’ (pointing to a mole on her cheek). Well, sort of…

Defa and her husband have a hard time pronouncing Greg’s name – the G and R at the beginning of a word is difficult for them. So Defa told me that they had decided to call him the same name as their oldest son – Radley. “Radley?” I asked. “Yes, Ladley” she replied. (Gadsup speakers also don’t differentiate between “r” and “l” – it sounds the same to them). I wasn’t sure if she was perhaps trying to say “Bradley” or if their son’s name is Radley/Ladley. Anyway, I found it humerous that Bradley/Radley/Ladley was an easier name to pronounce than Greg!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

fun with dad

Sometimes, when you spend all day with mom…

You’re ready for some fun with dad when he comes home!

Ah! The perfect position for drooling on dad’s head!

Showing dad my dancin’ moves: