Wednesday, September 23, 2009

3 Weeks

It’s been 3 weeks!
If you so choose, throughout this post you shall receive your first lesson in Melanesian Pidgin (the trade/common language in Papua New Guinea). The words in parentheses are Pidgin for the English word or phrase that proceeds.
Jordan’s job
On Wednesdays and Friday afternoons I work at the High School writing American History lesson plans and helping Rachel (Meri bilong mi)grade. The rest of the week I work (mi wokim) with the construction crews, working on various projects. Most recently I built a shed for the Generator (haus bilong generetor) to power the new hospital’s operating room (operatim rum bilong nupela haus sik). The electricity goes out a lot so a reliable generator with high output is a must. All of the guys I work with are nationals, native to PNG, and speak only a little (lik lik) English. Communicating with them is very frustrating and slow (isi isi) but it has forced me to learn (skul) Pidgin, their trade language, quickly. I’m nowhere near fluent yet but I can understand them if they talk slowly (tok isi isi) and I slowly can get my point across to them. My grammar is terrible because I only know Pidgin words, so I simply say the Pidgin (tok pisin) words in the same order as I would in English. Apparently when I talk like this, it is hilarious to them because they know what I’m trying to say, but I’m nowhere near the correct grammar. At least we can communicate and I’ve been told that everyone appreciates Americans attempting the language even if it sounds terrible.
The wood (diwai) here is ridiculously heavy! I carried some timber(diwai) to a site and I could only carry two 10ft 3x2’s at a time. The wood is still wet and seems to be about three times the weight it would be dry. Another “joy” to the wood being wet it that it takes forever to cut. I’ve never seen a blade create smoke until I got here. Also, driving a nail takes about twice as many hammer swings as it would with dry timber. And when you drive a nail the wood bleeds a clear/white liquid. The first (pastaim) time I drove a nail a few drops of liquid hit my face and I thought it was raining till I realized it was just the wood’s juices splashing on me!
There are 4 construction projects going and enough tools for 2 projects. So there is a lot of walking (wokabout) back and forth between sites to find and trade tools. All of these small (lik lik) setbacks make things move very slowly. It gets frustrating to work a whole day and not get much done. But for every aspect that is frustrating there is something refreshing or pleasant (amamas o amamas).
All of the nationals are so nice to us and are eager to meet us, shake our hands, and have a good laugh (lap). We (mipela) can walk anywhere without someone saying good afternoon (apinun) with a big smile. And all we have to do is look up to see and amazing view. It has been three weeks since we arrived and I still can get over how beautiful this place is. We are surrounded by mountains that are in the clouds. Pictures just don’t do justice to the beauty of this place.

Things I miss from home:
-The comfort of Family and Friends
-A hot shower for more than 20 sec with enough pressure to wash my hair
-Restaurants (making every meal from scratch is getting old)
-TV (I haven’t seen a Bears game this year or a Cubs game since we left, and we are going to have to wait to see the last season of Lost!!!)

Things I will miss when we leave PNG:
-The people and their unbridled willingness to talk with you
-The amazing scenery and landscape everywhere you go
-The Pineapple (mmmm… so fresh and juicy, we could eat a whole one every day!)
-The Coffee (The valley we are in is full of coffee and tea plantations, it is so fresh and so good!)

Please Pray for:
-Jordan’s patience
-A man named Boni Guli, a fellow carpenter, who had over a year’s wages stolen from his home Monday.
-The ministry done here in Kudjip would be more than a healthcare provider, that we would inspire people to be strong Christians and further the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Week

I just finished my first week of school. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. The first three days one of the missionary moms, Kathy, (the one who had been doing my job until I got there), was in the classroom with me showing me how everything worked and where things were at...I was overwhelmed for a while. There are only four students (who are very smart and polite) but they each have 6 or 7 subjects. I'm responsible for doing their planning, grading, and answering questions for each of their subjects. Most of the lessons are on DVDs that the students watch and they are responsible for following my plan (doing which lesson I tell them to do that day), getting their homework to me, and letting me know if I need to give them a test or quiz. It's been funny because the first day I was like "No problem...this is the easiest job ever! I only have 4 students...I'm used to 120...piece of cake!" But the next day, Kathy i think let me take over a little more and I felt like the whole day I was constantly being asked for a test or quiz (that I had no idea which of the fifty books it was in) or was given homework assignments that needed to be graded before they started the next lesson(and wasn't sure where the answer keys were), all while trying to plan our their schedules for the next 2 weeks (without knowing for sure where they were in the books). It was crazy! But now, they have their schedules, I know where things are a lot better, and I have more time to grade things as they get turned in. I'm enjoying it a lot more now than I did the second day. I'm even begining to plan a semester long art lesson/project for them. Jordan got his assignment the other day...he will be working with the building guys for most of the week, helping to finish up the new hospital so that they can get moved in! Right now his job is to go around and find mistakes that were made (which apparently there are a lot of) and fix them. Plus, he is going to be in the high school a little bit helping me grade and possibly doing a history projects with the kids. Later he will a be leading a bible study with the HS boys and helping with some history related things at the MK elementary school.
Other interesting things:
- We began our Pidgin lessons this week
- Cockroaches here are the size of my thumb and like to crawl into the middle of our bedroom...roll over...and play dead.
- We haven't gotten sick yet! (well, i had a cold but that doesn't count)
- We went to our first "bush" church. It was awesome...we were greeted with lais (flower necklaces)...we sat on the ground...the church was a grass hut...we didn't understand a word...children were staring at us the whole was fun!
- Our neighbors have all the seasons of LOST! So we borrowed season I and have been watching them on the laptop.
- The view from our backyard is amazing! I'll send pictures later...don't let me forget!
- I played basketball in a skirt for the first time the other day...and I helped with PE on Tuesday which was tennis! (tennis is very exciting here, there are so many cracks and holes on the court you never know where the ball will go!!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We're HERE!!!

We arrived on tuesday afternoon. And have had a whirlwind of things to do since then. Tuesday we got a little settled in to our new home and got to eat dinner at the Radcliff's home. The Radcliff family has been here in PNG for nearly 25 and are highly regarded among all missionaries in the country. Yesterday(wednesday) we experianced something very new, food shopping. Since the store is 45 min away we can only go once a month for food. This means we not only have to figure out what we can eat, we need to buy enough food for a month. The whole process took several hours and was suprizingly draining. Today we are about to get a tour of the Hospital grounds from the children, so we are looking forward to accually finding out how to get around this place! Please continue to pray for us and the people serving here in Kudjip PNG.