Monday, June 30, 2014

Ogea Dedication: More Photos!

As promised, here are some more photos from our day in Dogea village:


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ogea Bible Dedication

Yesterday the Ogea people of Madang province dedicated the newly-published New Testament in their language, and Brian and I were privileged to participate in the event.

(I have, like, a bazillion more photos, but this is all I have had time to sort out for you at the moment. A more photos/less story post coming soon...)

We flew down to Madang just for the day, and let me tell you - a half-hour flight sure beats six hours of driving on very rough roads!

The translation of this New Testament was completed by BTA, the Papua New Guinean Bible Translation Association.  However, Brian was there as the official representative of SIL.  We had mentioned to each other the possibility that he might be asked to speak, but I think he was in denial.  

One hour before the ceremony was slated to begin, Brian was handed this schedule of events, with his name highlighted in blue.  Yes - he had one hour now to prepare a speech!  I comforted him with the fact that he was the first of several speeches, which probably meant that his was the least important.

It's hot in Madang, and they always seem to schedule these things during the hottest part of the day (the ceremony ran 10am-1pm).  I was very thankful for this grandstand and the covered seating area for the "dignitaries" behind it.  Of course, I kept doing silly things like running out into the blazing sun to take photos...

The ceremony started with a singsing group doing traditional dance.

Both men and women were wearing these remarkable boat headdresses (Ogea is a coastal language).

Here is Brian giving his speech.  It comprised less than five minutes of a three-hour ceremony, but I thought he did a good job with such short notice.  (He had the added pressure of knowing that our very first Tok Pisin language teacher from our orientation course six years ago was in the audience!)

The crowd.  Obviously they are enthralled with Brian's speech.  (Okay... I confess, I snapped this photo when one of the other speakers was using tokples - the Ogea language instead of Tok Pisin.  That's really when the audience's faces lit up)

Another spectator.  (My boys were never this chubby!)

When we saw a huge basket of kulau (green coconuts) heading our way during the ceremony, it brought a smile to our faces.  Kulau isn't something I'd like to drink every day, but it can't be beat when you're hot and sweaty in the village.  Nature's Gatorade.  (Just don't spill any on your clothes - it stains.)

Tony Kotauga, the incoming director of PNG BTA, was much better prepared for his speech than Brian was.  (His was also the last, and thus probably the most important).  My favorite part was when he told the people, "God is now your wantok" (someone who speaks your language - i.e. one of YOU), "... and so you can't treat him like a stranger.  You must show him the hospitality due a wantok.  Invite Him into your home, and spend time with Him,"  (my paraphrase).

 The most rewarding part of a dedication ceremony is the aftermath, when you see people reading their very own copies of the Scriptures in their heart language.

 Aren't we blessed to have had God as our wantok already for hundreds of years?  Are we treating Him like one?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 38

I don't have much to show for this week.  There is a pretty yucky cold that is making the rounds in our community, and we all got it to one degree or another this week.  Coughing, cranky, runny-nosed kids aren't very photogenic, and a coughing, cranky (yes, I'll admit it), runny-nosed mom doesn't feel much like taking photos.

But here is what I do have:

A very brief snippet of Caleb trying to sing the theme from Veggie Tales.  At this age, Greg had absolutely zero interest in watching cartoons, and we were actually concerned about that, as we were looking forward to long international flights with him at age two.  It's amazing how Caleb already asks for specific shows by name, and already knows all the characters of his favorite shows.  I guess that's what happens when you have the influence of an older brother.

 The realities of family Bible reading time when you have small kids.  There is often someone crying, asking for something, jumping on you, making you wear a hat, etc... (of course, I can't talk, because obviously it was me who snapped the photo while Brian was reading)

 We had a potluck with some of Brian's co-workers.  Greg discovered croquet.  I was a little worried with passion with which he used that croquet mallet.  I determined to let Brian be the supervising parent in this situation, and pretended not to watch.

A recent sea-freight shipment from the US brought two heavy-duty lawn mowers to our house.  No, not for us.  Brian was merely assembling them before delivering them to the school and the construction and maintenance departments.  Brian's parents actually did the leg work of buying one of them and packing it in a crate for the shipment.   

One day we made a fort out of the kitchen table.  It was supposed to be one of those things that kept the boys entertained for hours, but it didn't quite last that long.  I was complaining to Brian that I see all these posts on Facebook, Pinterest etc. that promise fun and creative activities to keep your children entertained all summer long, but in actual practice they only seem to keep the kids' attention for maybe 15 minutes.  Like the time that I spent all this time drawing a chalk map of Ukarumpa on the concrete outside, so that the boys could drive their cars around on it.  Within five minutes, we were packing it in because Caleb was walking on the chalk and smearing it, which made Greg furious, and pretty soon both were in tears.  Brian just looked at me and said something very profound:

"Susan, those 'mommy blogs' - they are like Better Homes and Gardens.  It's not real life."

Well said, Brian.

 Not to say that the boys didn't have some fun with the fort.  It turned out to be a great spot from which to launch a surprise jump-on-pregnant-mommy attack on me as I lay on the floor trying to take some cute photos for my blog.  Guess who put a stop to that one?

So that's all for now, but stay tuned.  Tomorrow Brian and I get to fly to Madang to attend a Bible dedication (without the kids!!)   I hope to have some good photos to share from that.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 37

The week started off with a bang... or shall I say, siren?

Just down the road from us, the community sauna caught fire.  Wait, you guys have a sauna?  Yes, we do (or did).  Remember that we have a significant number of Europeans living here, and those Finnish folks, they like to sauna (and they have converted many of other nationalities as well).

We are thankful for the men in the community who volunteer on the fire crew.  They did a great job.  (I posted a photo of our fire truck earlier in this post.)  It was an older building, and apparently had been built without proper insulation between the fireplace and the wall.  Some men were using it when it caught fire, but no one was hurt. 

And then, of course, it was Father's Day on Sunday.  We took Brian out to lunch at the Kainantu Hotel.

We had a wonderful, relaxing afternoon in the backyard.

And what a great dad he is!

We hung the swing that great grandpa and grandma sent the boys.  Lots of fun!


 Sometimes we still have issues with maintaining balance...

 Tuesday was the last day of school, and Greg's preschool class had a little party with the parents.  Greg is pretty excited about the fact that after the 5-week school break he will get to start as a Kapul (the pidgin name for a tree kangaroo = the name for the 4-yr-old preschool class) and go to school three mornings a week.  I don't think he realizes that at least four of his friends will not be in his class next school year.  And so we enter the murky waters of helping our third-culture-kids deal with the constant going and coming of friends.

 And Tuesday night Brian and I attended the 12th grade graduation ceremony.  We got front-row seats because I was the official photographer.  There were 24 students in the graduation class.  It's a significant milestone, as many of them will be leaving PNG in the next week or so to return to their passport countries, which aren't really home to them.

 Ice cream comes in rather disturbingly bright colors here.  This is "blueberry" flavor.

 Yesterday was cold and drizzly all day.  We actually kept a fire blazing in the wood stove all day, and I hung up laundry from the curtain rods to dry.  Greg and I constructed a parking garage out of a box, which was a good rainy day activity.  It's amazing how much time can be spent parking cars!

That's all for this week!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Photo Fridays: Week 36

Our Week
"How I Almost Met the Prime Minister"

I'll get to that... (you have to make it to the bottom of the post though!)

Last Friday night we went to the school's band and choir concert.

Greg was soooooo excited about going - getting to stay up past bedtime and walk in the dark to the meeting house to watch his favorite babysitters play and sing.  It was a big night for him.  Here he is anxiously awaiting the start of the concert.

And this is Greg after the first four songs.  Poor guy is just not a night owl.

 A flower from our backyard (no the photo isn't upside down, the flower was hanging like that)

I made donuts.

Dinner one night this week: watermelon from Lae, fresh corn and grape tomatoes from our neighbors, and Sesame Chicken Couscous (from the Simply in Season cookbook - one of the best things I brought back from furlough)

Caleb has been very into "hats" this week.  He has spent a large portion of each day riding this little push car around the house with some bucket or basket over his head (usually he prefers the plastic toy baskets, perhaps because he can actually see where he is going through the holes!)

I finally managed to finish piecing the quilt top that I've been working on for, oh, nine months or so.  I still have to attach borders, sandwich and quilt the thing.  Maybe in another nine months it will be done?

another shot of Caleb

Last Sunday was the dedication of the New Testament in the Arop-Lokep language.  We didn't attend the dedication, though we wish we had been able to.  I can't resist showing some photos that others took, however, because after all, this is why we are here in Papua New Guinea!

(Photo: Campbell)
A boat brings Jeff and Sissie D'Jernes, Wycliffe translators, to shore along with the printed New Testaments.

 (Photo: K. Weaver)
A smiling Arop-Lokep girl with the Scriptures in her language!

And finally, the events of this morning, in which I almost got to meet the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.  He was to fly to our airstrip at 8:30 this morning, where he would attend a small reception (in the break room) with the directors of SIL and their wives (that's where Brian and I come in) as well as the Governor of the Eastern Highlands Province and our local Member of Parliament.  He was then going to board one of our helicopters and go to a village to preside over the opening of some new bridges, a health center, and a new hydroelectric dam.  (Our organization was very involved in making sure the parts for the new hydroelectric project made it to the village).  That was the plan.  This is PNG however, and so I wasn't holding my breath.

This is how it really went down:
7:30 am -  I look at my closet in despair.  I just put away a bunch of clothes that won't fit again until post-baby... do I have anything nice enough to wear for meeting a head of state?  I give Brian a hard time because the directors all met and decided that they would not wear ties, but that they would all definitely wear shoes.  (We have a pretty casual dress code around here... the director is notorious for wearing sandals everywhere)
8:00 - Brian and I rush to get the kids off to school and daycare and then we're out the door too.
8:15 - We arrive at the airstrip and are informed that the PM hasn't left Port Moresby yet.  ETA is now 10:30.
10:00 - well... the PM still hasn't left the capitol, and he'll have to make one more stop before us, so we might as well go home until we get further word.
11:15 - Brian texts me and says that he is coming, but at noon.  Can I make it?
11:20 - I scramble to find someone who is able to take Caleb (daycare closes at noon) and then go pick up Greg from preschool and feed the boys lunch (thanks Mandy!)
11:45 - I arrive at the airstrip (again)
12:00 - We hear that it is possible he will skip the stop at our airstrip and just go straight to the village, which has unpredictable weather in the afternoons.  If he loses too much time by stopping at our airstrip, he might not be able to land at his final destination.
12:15 - We get word that the Prime Minister has landed in the village, and will definitely not be stopping by to shake hands with us.  We console ourselves by retiring to the break room to do justice to the nice refreshments that had been prepared for the dignitaries.

The refreshments really were quite nice.

We didn't get to meet the Prime Minister, but we were able to meet the Governor of Eastern Highlands Province, a very gracious lady named Julie Soso.

If I chose to go back to the airstrip this afternoon, I could meet the airplane bringing back the Jones family with their quintuplets (Caleb's age) and older son - an event that is just about as exciting for this community as a visit from the prime minister... but I've spent enough time at the airstrip for one day!

Until next week...