Monday, August 31, 2009

Hakö visit

I visited the Hakö area on the weekend, staying there on Saturday and Sunday nights. It was nice, the people were very friendly and the language was definitely strong and being used a lot. Two very cute kids are pictured in a couple of the photos above.

I stayed in a modern style house which was wired for electricity but not connected. You can see it in one of the photos above. I was sharing it with the men who were working on the mobile phone tower. I had two local teenage girls sleeping in the room with me as security, and the rooms had doors with locks in the handles, so the girls locked the door when we went to sleep.

The toilet was really nice. It was the best village toilet I've been to in PNG so far and better than some public toilets in Australia. It was in a little hut that you would probably describe as a shack, not very flash looking, but inside there was a regular toilet seat with water in it. It didn't have a cistern for flushing, so we had to get a bucket of water and pour it down to flush it. It was very nice and didn't have a toilet smell to it at all.

On our first night we had mud crab for dinner, which was very nice. They gave us a crab each, you can see the size of them in one of the photos above. The one I ate was a little bit smaller than the one in the picture. I'm sure these would be very expensive to buy in Australia, so it was a real treat and although my mouth enjoyed the crab, it seems that my stomach didn't, as I had stomach pain during the night and the next day, and also diarrhoea. That was a shame. Next time I'll have to only eat a little bit of crab and not a whole big one.

The main mobile phone company is building a new tower in the village that we were staying in. It is nearly finished and will be active in a week or two. There's a picture of it in one of the photos above. These towers are popping up everywhere. There are also devices available which enable you to access the Internet using the mobile service, so if I end up working in a village with mobile reception, I will be able to access email and Internet in the village. I think that would be wonderful!

Well, there you go, that's my trip to the Hakö language area in a nutshell.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Other work I've been doing

Since managing the kitchen does not take a lot of time, I have been doing some other jobs too while I have been here.

One was gathering information about the work that is happening here and writing it in a presentable format with photos, to make a website for internal use only. There isn't much info about Bougainville in Ukarumpa, but they need more people to come and work at Bougainville, however if there isn't anything way for people to learn about Bougainville, then it probably won't even get on their radar screen. Hopefully what I have prepared will get up and running and people in Ukarumpa will be a bit more in touch with the work in Bougainville.

Another thing that I have been doing is recording interviews with Bougainvilleans who are involved in translation here. I was asking them questions such as "Why did you get involved in Bible translation?", "How have people in the community responded when they heard God's word in their own language?" and "Why do you need a translation into the local language?" The most common response to the last question was that God's Word is so much clearer when it is in their own language.

I have started typing up some of the interviews and some of the things that the people said will probably be used to promote the work of Bible translation and get other people excited about it.

Tomorrow I am going to visit the Hakö language area and will be staying there for two nights, returning on Monday. Then I leave Buka on Wednesday, have two nights in Port Moresby and then go to Melbourne! In exactly a week I will be there. How exciting! I love it here in Bougainville too though. It's a great place and I will be sad to leave, but I am happy about visiting Melbourne too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Buka town and market

For the past three weeks I have been the kitchen manager for the Centre here while we have people attending meetings and workshops. Now the last course is winding up at the end of the week. A large part of my job was to drive to town with the two cooks, who do our market shopping, and I buy whatever food we need from the shops. We went to town three days a week to buy supplies for the kitchen (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Today was our last trip into town for shopping.
Buka is a nice, basic little town and it is clean and tidy too (see picture above). There aren't many fancy Australian products in the stores, but they do have cheese sometimes. I bought a 250g block of Mainland cheese for myself the other day for about $5 (AUD), which I think is probably double what you would pay in Australia!
The market has fresh fruit and vegies, cream buns, banana chips, smoked fish and traditional tourist items (eg. shell necklaces, woven baskets). I don't know who their tourist market is though, as there aren't many overseas tourists here, but there are several aid organisations around who have expats working here.
I am thrilled that they have banana chips. These are made from savoury bananas and they salt them, so they are just like a regular packet of crisps (potato chips), except with bananas instead. I love them. They cost about 50c for a small bagful.
Most of the market is under a shelter, which you can see in the background two of the photos above. In these photos, you can see some outside sellers, and people buying peanuts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinner time!

Here are some dinner time photos!
- People queuing up for their food
- Our two cooks serving meals
- Some men enjoying their dinner

Last week the people we were feeding were here for the Bougainville Bible Translators Fellowship's AGM and this week and next week, we have people attending a training course for mentors. These people mentor Bougainvillean language teams when they come here for translation training courses.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blog Updates

Julie can't access email to update her blog just now, she will update as soon as she can.
As usual she gets her Dad to do help when there are problems. Bill MacKay 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Travel to and from Teop

In order to get to Teop from Buka, first you have to cross the Buka Passage, the water between Buka Island and Bougainville Island. As you can see from the photo, it is a pretty narrow passage, so it is just a couple of minutes on a little motor boat to get there.
After that, there is a two hour or longer trip on the back of a truck to get to the Teop area, and there was no shelters over the top on the trucks we travelled on, so we were exposed to the sun the whole time.
It's a bumpy two hour trip on dirt roads, sitting on hard wooden planks, squashed between two other people and with cargo at your feet. But it's not too bad and there are some nice mountain views. There were also some river crossings, some had good bridges, while at others, the truck just drove through them (the water wasn't high).
In the photos above, you will see me on the truck on the way to Teop, and a photo that I took of how packed in we were on our return trip. I think I counted about 42-44 people on the back of the truck.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Drove today

Today was the first time I've driven a car in a long time. I drove to town (Buka) and drove around to various shops there. It's a manual car and I took to it straight away, no stalling, but at first I wondered why the car wasn't moving, and then I realised that I hadn't turned the engine on!! I will be driving in to town on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to do shopping for the kitchen during some meetings/courses over the next 3 weeks. There are a lot of unpredictable pedestrians around, so please pray that I will drive safely and be very alert. Watching for pedestrians today reminded me of the days when I had to watch for kangaroos that might run in front of the car! It's a similar sort of alertness.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cute kids

Here are some photos of the kids around here. The one at the beach was taken when we were at the Teop area, and I took the other two photos at church this morning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A few days in paradise

My visit to the Teop language group was like a few days at a tropical paradise, and in comparison to other villages, it was luxury too! We had a modern house to live in and a room each with a foam mattress, pillows and mosquito nets provided. There was tables and chairs to sit at too, so it was very comfortable and we had million dollar views. (Our house is shown in one of the pictures above).
We were staying on the mainland of Bougainville, but one day we went and visited the island across from us, where there is also a village. We were able to walk across during a low tide, and in the afternoon we took a canoe back. (See one of the pictures above for a view of the mainland from the island).
People from the island go to their gardens or school on the mainland during the day, and they return to their village via canoe in the afternoon, so this was a good time to go for a walk along the beach to the 'canoe terminus' and socialise with the people. I enjoyed spending time with the people showing them my photos and learning some of the Teop language. (One of the photos above is of me with some of these people. They are so dark that for their faces to look good in a photo, the camera has to over-expose my face. I am not really as white as the photo shows!).
Our toilet didn't smell because it wasn't a pit, it was the ocean! We went into the mangroves when the water was low, but you had to watch for the bits sticking up from the ground. Overnight the tide came in and washed everything away. (See one of the pictures above which shows our toilet spot).The only concern was privacy, there was no little hut to hide you!
The people were very nice and the language was very strong, which was encouraging. The little children spoke the language a lot and parents spoke to their children in Teop too. In some parts of PNG, parents are using Tok Pisin to speak to their children, so the children grow up speaking Tok Pisin and the language gradually disappears.
I cannot yet say whether I will be working with the Teop language group. It all depends on what what God's will is and also the thoughts of my future team-mate. I think it would be a good option though.

Monday, August 3, 2009

TTC graduation and Teop visit

I arrived at Buka in time for the graduation from the Translation Training Course. Eight language groups attended this course and learnt about Biblical background, Hebrew, language, and translation. They also did some translation and will be taking it back to their villages for checking with the people.

The picture at the top shows all the students singing a song at the graduation. It was really amazing - they sang the song 10 times, in a different language each time - Tok Pisin, English and the eight languages of the students.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) I am going to visit the Teop language group and stay with them for a few days (I will have someone accompanying me too). I have met the people that will be looking after me as they were at the TTC, and they are lovely people and very excited about me coming to visit. I'm sure I'll have lots to tell you about the trip after I get back on the weekend.

Picture of volcano

I realised that I forgot to attach the picture on the previous blog post and since I am blogging via email, I don't have the ability to edit the post and add it in, so here is the picture this time, in a separate blog post!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Volcanoes and Kokopo

(Pictured above are the volcanoes at Rabaul, which are still active).
Kokopo is the new town built after Rabaul was buried in ash in 1994, although I believe there are some businesses operating in Rabaul again. I stayed in Kokopo for 3 nights on my way to Buka. I really only had two whole days there, and on those days I visited town and did some shopping (where I was staying was a little bit out of town).
The food shops in Kokopo were brilliant. The best I've seen in PNG so far. They had a lot of products on the shelves that we can buy in Australia, for example, Kantong brand sauce packets. They had everything I could possibly want to buy for cooking with.
I also went to the second hand clothes store and bought more clothes for me to wear while I am at Buka. I realised that I didn't really have very much with me. I am really happy with the two skirts I got and I think I will be keeping them for a while.