Goodbye Ahane Josh

Goodbye Ahane Josh

A few days ago, I said good bye to my cousin Josh outside of a hut near the beach. Technically, he’s Cameron’s cousin, but I call him my cousin too. In tok ples Ndo, I call him ‘ahane’.Two weeks ago, a helicopter came with six-weeks-worth of supplies for us, and with those it brought Cameron’s mom, Josh, Zach’s mom, Zach’s sister, and their family friend. Everyone else is still here, but Josh could only stay for a little bit.We had good times while he was here. He came with the goal of encouraging us, and helping us out, and those things he definitely did!While he was here, Josh worked on a couple household projects with us. He filled in many of the cracks in our floor and near the roof. This may have been bumped up in priority after seeing how many bugs like to come into our house at night.I think the number of bugs that live inside the house is perhaps a little shocking for guests, so this task benefitted Josh as well as us, since sealing the cracks will hopefully decrease the numbers of the insects.He organized our mudroom a little, putting tools together which belonged together.He put together a chair that we were missing screws for. This may not sound like a big task, but Madang only had some of the hardware we needed to assemble it, so it has just been sitting unused since we got here. But even without having all the hardware, Josh improvised and made it work!He also built a shelf in the bathroom, shower room, and nightstand in our bedroom! When you live in the jungle, and...
Wild Animals of Papua New Guinea

Wild Animals of Papua New Guinea

Someone recently asked us if we have seen a cassowary yet (Don’t know what that is? Feel free to Google it!).  I answered with the disappointing no.  I was about to send them a few pictures of the animals that we have seen so far–and then decided to share those with the world!   The first thing you have to understand is that Papua New Guinea, while a rainforest, is not like the Amazon. In all of our travels, we have seen actually very few animals, birds included. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist–they have just become very adept at hiding since the reality here in the mountains is that there is so little meat that if someone sees a bird or any kind of an animal, they are quick to kill it and eat it for dinner.  Conversations with my language helper about animals in PNG usually go something like this: Me: ‘What kind of animals do you have here?” Language Helper: “We have this kind of animal.” Me: “Can you eat it?” (it’s usually close to lunch, and I’m hungry…seems like a natural question) Language Helper: “Yes.” (that’s usually the answer.  There just seems to be a lot of things you can eat here) Me: “I’d like to see this animal…and maybe eat it.” I’ve heard from him about snakes that can swallow animals whole or sting you with their tails, birds that build elaborate houses or that lay eggs big enough to feed a few people, lizards that are the size of a leg, fresh water shrimp and eels, the list goes on.    Here are some pictures of the animals we...

PNG Economic Situation

The day after tomorrow, our time, the nation of Papua New Guinea will most likely be declared bankrupt.  This reality might affect us hardly at all or a great deal.Since it’s something we are thinking about and talking through as a team, we thought we would write a brief blog post about it so you all can be praying.  God brought us here and we hope to stay here to accomplish our aim of preaching the gospel–so we’re praying that this won’t be a big deal and that our work here will continue uninterrupted.Here’s an e-mail sent three days ago from our logistic coordinator, Jeremy Lehman, stationed in Madang, who is keeping an eye on the situation from there. We think it sums up the information better than we could: All, As you well know there is a looming economic issue in PNG.  This has caused all mission organizations that I have interacted with to start keeping a watchful eye on the situation as it develops.  June 13th is the day PNG must pay back it’s debit to UBS and on and after the 13th we will have even more insight on what the road ahead will look like.  The shortage of Kina as well as forex (foreign currency) is creating quite the stir from the PNG people.  It only makes matters worse that the Prime Minister (Peter Oneill) will not submit himself to investigation for corruption charges. The economic issues as well as Peter Oneill evading investigation has brought about protestors.  The majority of the protest movements have been lead by students from the University of Papua New Guinea in POM (Port Moresby).  The students...
Learning to Walk…on a Mountain

Learning to Walk…on a Mountain

Much of what we do here is analogous to what a child does in terms of learning new skills. We are learning a language, learning a culture, learning a new place.  And one of those skills is learning to walk…on a mountain. I remember our second hike that we took here in Papua New Guinea — a nine day hike through the jungle that brought us through the very village we now live in (described here and here).  At some points on that hike, the path was near vertical, at other points we crossed bamboo bridges, or walked in rivers, or across slippery stones.  I remember seeing several kids early on in that hike running down the trail at one of the steep parts. They all passed us–and they were all holding machetes.  Basically, these kids know how to get around on a mountain! Our kids…as well as ourselves…have to learn how to do that.  My goal is to take them out once or twice a week (usually on our day off) and just walk up and down the mountains nearest to our house. Here are a couple of the trips we’ve taken so far. The big waterfall nearest to our house is probably the closest walk.  When we first moved in, it was difficult for everyone (even me) to get there, but now…we’ve learned to walk to the waterfall!  Sometimes, the kids even run…but not with machetes. Another of our first hikes was hiking to a friend’s house.  My favorite part of this trip was the part where one of the village kids held Mary and she was practically the same size as her. Okay, so...

Living…Where Resources Are Finite

One of the bigger adjustments that came with moving to Papua New Guinea from the US was learning to live somewhere where our resources were limited.For thirty years, my knowledge of running a household did not include contingency plans for things like running out of water. Our resources were seemingly infinite with the electricity, water, and gas all supplied by various companies, limited only by how much we wanted to spend every month.Elsewhere in the world, take PNG for example, life does not function that way.In Madang, we had two resources that were more or less limited: water and propane. For all of our water needs (drinking, dishes, showers, etc.), we had water tanks that we shared with our co-workers, the Canns, that God would graciously fill from time to time with rain. And for all of our propane needs (cooking on our gas ovens and stoves, heating water for showers, etc.), we used good ole’ propane tanks–items that, before coming here, I had been pretty terrified of and only associated with our BBQ grill which we used maybe once a week.But in the city of Madang, there were contingency plans that the town’s infrastructure already had in place should those resources run out that looked much like our every day life in the US.Electricity was solely supplied by the city and we just pre-paid for a certain number of units and kept an eye when it was getting close to running out. When we ran out of water in our tanks (which we definitely did during last year’s drought as God saw fit for it not to rain for two...

A Cooking Class in Mawarero

I went to a cooking class today. What’s that, you say? A cooking class in a tribe in the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea? Yes.My language teacher has been talking to me about teaching me how to cook like a tribal Papua New Guinean and today was that day.After market, I strolled on over to her house (and by ‘strolled’, I mean hiked, because, let’s be honest, that’s really more what it is and by ‘house’, I mean her area, a flattish piece of ground with several huts on it).She took me to a small one in the back and told me to hang out and rest while she got everything. So I climbed up into the hut and waited.Then she came in, followed by a bunch of other people and kids who either sat in the small hut with us or looked in through the doorway and/or windows. She spread out a tarp-ish looking bag on the floor and brought in a bowl filled with sweet potatoes, cabbage, green onions, and other greens.Then she grabbed a vegetable peeler and began peeling some massive sweet potatoes, dropping their peels onto the bag on the floor. After all the sweet potatoes had been peeled she cut them up and put them in a bowl, pouring water on them.Moving onto the cabbage and greens, she cut them up and put them in another bowl.All the while, she’s telling me how if I eat like this, with all these sweet potatoes and greens, I’ll get fat (which is a good thing here!) and then my mom will see how fat I’ve...
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