Our new reality….at least for another 8 weeks has had many ups & downs. We have been busy learning how to cook all of our meals over an open fire with no refrigeration. It’s pretty interesting to experiment with all new local vegetables and “tin” meat. I’m not going to lie….I not a big fan of canned meat. I’m surprised I haven’t been dreaming about the Publix rotisserie chicken yet. Tim, on the other hand seems to enjoy it.
We learned all about the different crafts. How the walls of the homes are built from woven bamboo. They make beautiful patterns and every home looks a little different. The bamboo walls here at the school have lasted over 50 years and the palm thatch roofs usually last about 20 years…pretty amazing! We also learned how to make fans and these adorable little rice buckets that are filled half way up and then dropped into boiling water for a meal on the go.
Last week we hiked over to our Wasfamili’s home for dinner & lots of Tok Pisin. They live at the end of the path right before an amazing lookout over the valley. We had snake beans, kawkaw, rice and some sort of spicy stew. They have a beautiful home that our waspapa built. It is built in several different levels. The kitchen is on the ground floor and then the eating area is on the next level and then 3 sleeping areas are one more step up.
In the home there is no furniture. Everyone sits in a circle on the floor to share the meal. In the bedrooms everyone has their own woven mat made from palm leaves with mosquito nets above them. This week we were invited to spend the night. Unfortunately I had a fever, but Tim got to go. He learned that usually everyone baths twice a day in the river. It’s quite a distance from the house and it would seem that you would be sweaty by the time you made it back…oh, there is one place for all “man” and another for the “meri’s”.
Each village has a lik lik house (outhouse). Tim said it looked like a big drum was down there (It’s taboo to look, but he was curious!) and you have to balance yourself on 2 boards…you can figure it out. Anyways…Tim didn’t think the boards would support him and he didn’t want to end up in the barrel, so we have a plan “B” for next week when we spend the night. (no pictures…instead see how we travel to town!) The only way we can fit is all babies have to be on a lap…no more seat belts or airbags!
The hikes are getting harder. This past week was especially difficult. Instead of the trail, we did the road. We went all the way to the bottom. It was extremely hot at 2:00pm with no breeze and with almost no shade the entire time. Tim did fine on the way down, but about 2 miles up, he hit a wall. Our Waspapa called out to another couple that was walking ahead of us (girls are not allowed to walk alone) and the plan was for me to make it to the top and then have the car get Tim. About a mile from the top I heard a truck coming up behind me….thankfully it was ours! They picked Tim up and then me. God was showing us grace and favor!
On the flip side this is the 2nd week that Tim has swam over a mile. I’m stuck at the 600 meter mark but I know it’s coming. In addition for swimming for conditioning Tim got to go snorkeling and see the reef. He said that it made him miss the Bahamas and the beautiful crystal clear water.
Last week one of our classes was all about gardens. Our “Tisa Bot” did a fantastic job explaining how each family will plant their garden (using no fertilizer or pesticides) in August and it will have enough food for their entire family plus enough to sell at the market. After only two years they cut and burn the area and let the ground rest for up to four years, meanwhile they plant in a completely different area. All of this was told in Tok Pisin and we actually understood!!!!!
Ok – I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m afraid of rats. The bad part is….they are everywhere. Here at the center, in the village and even being served for dinner. Oh, how I need Jesus every day! Today, Tim went to church without me since I’m still in quarantine. He said it was a good thing I missed it. There was thousands of huge bats in the trees and flying through the air with wing spans of over 5 feet….maybe rats aren’t so bad!
One thing I really miss….holding hands. Here, as a sign of friendship woman hold hands and men can hold hands….but not husband & wife L Some families can get around this by each holding the hand of their child so they are connected. The other night at dinner, a little boy named Ruben (6 years old from Australia) asked Tim & I if we wanted to hold his hands….so we would be connected like he does for his parents….what a sweet gift!