For the next eleven days, my husband, Matt, and two of our co-workers will be out of any kind of contact…mostly.They do always have, of course, the option of a grueling 40 minute hike to get somewhere where there is enough reception to make a phone call.
But then you have to hike down for 40 minutes as well and, thus, all told, the price of a phone call back home for our husbands right now is an hour and twenty minutes where they are not only not working on building the houses, but also expending a lot of energy that could be spent on the houses.So you can imagine my surprise when Matt called two days ago! Here I was, preparing myself not to hear from him for 20 days, and he calls in two!The reason for this phone call? Drill bits.That’s right. On their first day working with the hardwood we’re using for posts (known as kwila), it proved to be true it its name and they started breaking drill bits.Since they have a LOT of drilling through kwila over the next week and a half, they realized that at the rate they were breaking, there was a good chance they would run out of drill bits before they finished what they went there to do.Hence, the decision to send Matt to the mountain ridge to call me.They were able to organize someone to hike out of Maweroro (our friend, Stephan) to take a dinghy, come to Madang, pick up the drill bits, and then return and hike them in, so all we were tasked with were gathering the drill bits.
But not just any drill bits—no, no. 3/32nds of an inch or 1/8 of an inch drill bits. Try communicating that in a language you’ve only known for eight months!But by God’s grace, that is just what we did.Working together, my mom (who is visiting from the States!) and Lorie watched kids while my co-worker Cass and I went to six different hardware stores in town.Six.We found 37 at the first store, none at the next two, 90 at the next one, and none at the last three. Success!That night, we heard from Matt once more on behalf of the guys to request several other items since we were sending the drill bits anyway.Here is what they requested for the last eleven days of Stage 1 housebuilding:
- Drill bits
- New shoes for Matt (thank you to our sweet cousins Jeremy and Denise for sending some with my mom! His third pair since we’ve arrived were breaking yet again!)
- 3 bags of rice
- 6 packages of instant noodles
- 1 can of Sprite
- 1 gallon petrol (for the generator they’re using to run the power tools)
- A handful of garlic and onions
We managed to get everything (which included our first experience getting gasoline here), wrap it all in black plastic (to protect the contents from prying eyes), fit it in a backpack, and successfully deliver it to Stephan at the dock this morning.And it only took a trip to the market, the gas station, and 2 trips into town visiting 7 different stores over the course of 2 days.But we got it done and for that, we thank God.Sometimes, just living here and communicating feels productive. Running a household, especially without our husbands here, is no easy task.But this week, we all felt especially productive as we were able to contribute so directly to the houses being built in the tribe so that one day soon we might move in, learn the language, teach literacy, and translate and teach the Bible!