Saturday, December 4, 2010

Woven baskets

Woven baskets are useful for a lot of things in the village. They can be used as a rubbish bin for food scraps, or they can be used for transporting food from one place to another. They are inexpensive and don’t damage the environment when they are thrown away.

One day Rebekah and I learnt how to weave a basket. It was pretty easy to do, although I would still need a bit of supervision and guidance if I were to make one again.

This is Rebekah and Joyce working on a basket:

This is the basket that I made:

Some baskets drying in the sun. The one I made is at the far right.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gas stove = easy cooking

When we returned to the village on 29 October, we had our gas stove with us because it was in the crate that we shipped to Buka and unpacked during our three night visit to Buka. We have cooked using it every night since we returned to the village and I am really enjoying it.

Here’s a photo of me on the first night we used it:

What do we cook? Well we bought a lot of tinned products in Buka and took them to the village and we use them mostly as well as whatever fresh vegies we can buy at the market or have been given to us. Some of the meals we have been cooking are: vegetarian korma curry, tuna spaghetti bolognaise and vegetarian creamy pesto pasta. The remaining meals don’t have very interesting names.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our friendly village dogs

We have two dogs that live in our village and both are very friendly and come running up to us for pats. I’m pleased that they are not afraid of people like many other village dogs are.

Meet Sasaki. He is my favourite of the two. He is really cute and makes some interesting noises sometimes when you pat him. Sometimes he’s a bit naughty and jumps up on us for pats.

This is Bill. He is the older dog and is the dominant one. If he sees me patting Sasaki, he gets jealous and runs up to me to get patted too. Sometimes there is a bit of growling and the occasional fight between Bill and Sasaki.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Language learning - showing photos

The following are some photos of me showing my photos to the local people. I practice speaking in Teop by showing my photos to people and talking about them in Teop. People also ask us questions about our photos which gives us good exposure to the language and also the opportunity to talk some more.

This is me showing my photos at the beach in our village. We’re all laughing about something.

A close-up of me having a good laugh at something when showing my photos.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teop Island

Teop Island is where we are hoping to live eventually, as it has a large population, which is great for language learning. It is a pretty small island, and if you know where to look on Google Earth, you could see the size.

The island has a short side and a long side. From our current village, we see the narrow part, so it makes it look even smaller than it is, but if we go for a walk a few villages away, we see the island from a different angle and are looking at the long side.

I have a couple of photos to show you those sides. First, here’s the short side, the view from our current village:

This is the long side, although I think it’s hard to get a good perception of the length in this photo.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our humble toilet

When we stayed at Hiovabon village previously, we went to the mangroves to do our ‘business’ as the village didn’t have a toilet. Now since we are living with them for a while, they built us a proper village toilet. It is built near the mangroves and it has a seat for us to use. They did a good job.

Here is a picture of the toilet close up. We are comfortable with its privacy level, people would not be able to see anything because there is a curtain and wall that provide sufficient cover.

Here is a photo of the toilet in the context of its surroundings. Now you can see why it needs to have a good level of privacy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our living quarters

Rebekah and I are sharing a house with Joyce, the Teop lady who has attended translation training courses and has been working on translation. We share a small room together, and with the two beds in there, it doesn’t leave a lot of space for our personal possessions, but we have been managing well with a small corner of the floor each.

My bed is the one on the left in this picture.

The kitchen and living area is really not in the house – we don’t spend much of our time in the house at all. We just pop in and out during the day to get things, and sleep there at night. It has a tin roof with no insulation, so you really don’t want to be there in the heat of the day as it is very hot. We spend a lot of our time in the gazebo attached to the kitchen building. There is a table and some bench seats there, so that is where we eat all our meals, and where we do our language learning sessions, and where we sometimes just sit and chat. Of course we don’t spend the whole day in there either, we can sit and chat at the beach, or walk somewhere and visit people.

Our house is on the right and the general sitting area is on the left.

This is a photo of our house from the other direction, facing the sea (you might be able to see it). You can see another kitchen building with living area in the background too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Welcome to Hiovabon!

Rebekah and I went to Hiovabon village on 9 October and stayed there until 25 October, when we went back to Buka town for three nights to unpack the items we shipped over and to purchase more supplies to take to the village too. We are returning to the village tomorrow morning and will stay for three weeks, then return to Buka for only two nights to catch up on email and purchase more supplies, and then we’ll return to the village again for another three weeks.

We are staying at Hiovabon village which is opposite Teop Island, while we wait for our house to be built on the island. The village is between the sea and the road; there’s probably only about 100m from the road to the water, so both are really close. The name of the village, ‘Hiovabon’, means ‘Sit until night’ and when you see the views, you can understand why it has that name. Here are some scenes from the village.

In this photo you can see the bench that people frequently sit on and enjoy the view with chatting with others. I usually call Mum and Dad while sitting at this bench. The beach is enjoyed by all, as you can see the old man resting on the bench here, and a village dog sleeping on the sand.

And yes, here’s me!

Stay tuned to my blog while I’m away, I’ve set up a few posts to come up automatically on certain dates.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Update and some photos

Rebekah and I are off to the village on Saturday! We went shopping and bought a lot of food to take with us so that we can prepare meals for ourselves. Our shopping trip was quite a success, with us getting almost everything that we needed.

We’ve also written some plans for language learning and a list of lots of different words that we could learn. I hope that we will be able to find people who are willing to really help us learn the language.

We have 9 weeks that we could be in the village, but we won’t stay for 9 weeks straight – we will stay for maybe 3 or 4 weeks, then return to Buka to restock on some food items, and probably do email, as we won’t have our computers in the village with us.

Rebekah and I have filled a crate and are shipping it to Buka. It has a lot of supplies that we would like to use in the village, so we want to return to Buka when it arrives, to unpack it and get some of those supplies. Then we will go back out to the village again. We don’t know when the crate will arrive in Buka, so that’s why we’re not sure when we will return to Buka, but if it hasn’t come in about 3 to 4 weeks, we will probably still go to Buka after 4 weeks in the village, just for a short break.

No more blog posts until I’m back in Buka for that short break!

Here are some photos of some kids that we saw as we were walking along the beach on the weekend.

Making sand-balls:

Having a good laugh:

Looking like a warrior:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Went to the beach today

Although the ocean is right in front of us, we can’t just walk out to the beach because there’s a big cliff there too! So we can look at the lovely view a lot but we can’t just go out and enjoy the water or the beach. It’s a short walk to where there are some trails that lead down to the beach.

Some friends and I went along a trail and walked along the beach today. Here are some photos:

The waves can be quite rough if you’re in there swimming.

I tried to take an artistic photo of my foot, but I don’t think it would win any acclaim other than me being called a ‘try-hard’!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random photos

I don’t have a lot to write about, but they say that a picture is worth 1000 words, so here’s 3000 words for you, with 3 pictures. The thing they have in common is that they were all taken on the same day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

PNG Independence Day

Today was PNG Independence day. They have been independent for 35 years now. I went across the road to where there is a large grassy area and a small market. My main motivation for going was to visit the market, but I also wondered if there was any Independence Day celebrations happening – and there was!

I bought something to eat at the small market, and I stayed on to watch the dances and entertainment.

Here are some school girls doing a dance to music on a CD.

This is the bamboo band – bamboo and PVC pipes!

The crowd watching the dances.

If you scroll down and look at the side of my blog, you will see a link to New Dawn on Bougainville, it is a news website, and they have put up some photos of the Independence Day celebrations too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Second hand shopping

I went second hand clothes shopping recently. There are a few second hand shops in town. This one (pictured) is really hot as the building has metal walls and roof. Here’s what it looks like inside:

The latest self-portrait photo:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I’m in Buka now!

I arrived in Buka on Thursday and have been settling in. The people who were taking me down to Lae for my flight to Buka cancelled due to sickness the day before, so I had a bit of stress to arrange new transport! I ended up chartering a bus.

On Thursday morning I was up early and we left Ukarumpa at 6.15am, arriving at Lae Airport at about 8.30am. I was a little bit concerned when they had told me that they would be getting petrol at Kainantu, near the start of the trip, but when we got there, the petrol station was closed, so I was wondering if we would have enough to make it, but they bought petrol at a roadside market that was selling it in large containers.

I arrived in Buka at around 1.40pm on Thursday. Yesterday I went into town and to the market. I was happy that they are selling cooked food again at the market, but they didn’t have my favourite – banana chips, so maybe they still aren’t allowed to sell them (the ban on cooked food was to prevent cholera).

It was rainy overnight last night and now it is very windy and not very hot. It’s 25 degrees in the house and the ceiling fans are making me cold, so I have my jacket on. I’d like to turn the fans off, but we have to have them on all the time, to prevent mould from the humidity.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Preparing to leave

Well, it’s only 3 more sleeps till I leave for Buka! I’ve packed up everything that I want to ship to Buka, and today I’m going to pack some of the things I’m leaving in Ukarumpa, and the things I am going to take to Buka with me in my luggage.

I’m also getting rid of some things. I’m sure it’s impossible to time your food purchases so that your cupboard is bare on the day that you leave, so I have some food that I have to give away. Tonight I am having the other singles over to my house and I will ‘auction’ off my leftover food and some other things I don’t need. The way it works, is I hold up each item, and if it’s a popular thing, people’s hands shoot up to claim it. If it’s something no-one really wants, it is given to the first person who says something about it. We call it an ‘auction’, but everything is given away for free.

Here’s a photo of some of the food I am giving away. I know that it looks like a lot, but I’ve done my best to whittle it down, and I did sell a few unopened items. I have benefited a lot from other people’s auctions though too, especially by getting lots of sunscreen that I am shipping to Buka. Sunscreen is so expensive here, so it has been very exciting to get it for free – great value! I have enough to last me for ages now.

Yesterday in the church service we had a commissioning for Rebekah and I now that we are going to work with the Teop language. We shared a bit about the history of language work in Teop, and how we decided to work there. We showed a Powerpoint slideshow with nice pictures of people and the area. I wish I could show it to you, but it is 6MB – a bit hard to send! After the slideshow, one of the directors invited people to come up the front and surround us, while he prayed for us to send us off.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pineapples growing

I have some pineapples growing in my garden! I might be leaving before they’re ready to eat though, so that’s a shame.

Here are some photos…

Wee bubby pineapple:

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I’m fighting a rat war again! One morning I found that they had eaten some of the dinner I had out on the bench defrosting. So I got into action and set up the rat trap, but the next morning, they had eaten some of the food but not set off the trap!

Last time I had rats, the poison worked for me, so I went out and bought more rat poison. I also set up the trap a second night. This time it went off, but somehow didn’t have a rat in it.

Then today – what an adventure! I was in the sitting room with my laptop and had not long started a video call with my Mum and Dad on Skype, when I saw a rat on the floor in the dining room. Mum and Dad got to hear me scream!

Well this rat was not looking in very good shape – it convulsed and flopped and then lay on its side. Of course I had to show Mum and Dad, so I carried my laptop over to it and they got to see it too, whether they wanted to or not!

After a minute or two the rat got off its side and sat in a sitting position, but didn’t move anywhere. Mum and Dad, sharing this experience over Skype, said to get a bucket and put it over it. I found the biggest bucket I had and put it over it. It was pretty scary getting that close to it, but it didn’t move.

Unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to get my camera out and take a photo of it to show everyone. It was still half alive, so I didn’t want to risk it running over my foot! It was a big rat and its eyes were the biggest eyes I’ve seen on a rat, reminded me a bit of a cuscus (they have big eyes too). It also had a long tail.

After connection problems stopped us from chatting on Skype, I needed a bit of a ‘hire a hubby’ service to get rid of the rat as I still wasn’t brave enough to deal with a half living rat. After 3 phone calls, I finally managed to get hold of a man who lives nearby and he came with some cardboard to slide under the bucket, took the rat outside and disposed of it. He said that he could feel the rat moving a little, so I’m glad that he did it, although it’s not his favourite job in the world either!

My next door neighbour (same building) said that it sounded like the rats were having a party up in the roof one night, so there are probably a few more rats to die still. I hope they don’t decide to spend their dying moments inside the house where I can see them and have to dispose of them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Anuki dedication of Mark and Genesis 1-11

You may remember that in February I told you that I was working with the Anuki team at the VITAL course, helping them as they translated some of Acts. In previous courses, they had worked on Mark and portions of Genesis. They completed the whole checking process for Mark and Genesis 1-11, so it could then be published and distributed. They had a big day of celebration to dedicate and sell the books. Click on the title or copy and paste the link below into your web browser to read a news report about the special day. (The 'insert link' feature isn't working for me, so I have to do it this way).

Here’s a photo of me working with the Anuki team in February:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Football matters

Melbourne Storm is Melbourne’s claim to fame in PNG. Whenever I tell someone I’m from Melbourne, they say, “Oh, Melbourne Storm”.

NRL is really popular with Papua New Guineans and since I’m from Australia they want to know who I support in both the normal games and the State of Origin. Being a Victorian I’m more into Aussie Rules Football and I don’t really care much about the NRL. However, I tell them I support Melbourne Storm.

The State of Origin is of even less interest to me because Victoria doesn’t compete in it. But people ask and I tell them I like Queensland. I’ve chosen them because I lived in Queensland for two years, so I have more of a connection with Queensland than NSW.

When we were on the survey trip at Buka, in one village some children sitting behind me quietly asked me whether I support NSW or Qld and when I replied they laughed and chattered among themselves. It seemed like they had been discussing amongst themselves and guessing which side I support.

The NRL is shown on the free-to-air TV here, so for people from NSW and Qld who live here and enjoy the NRL, they have it good. I wish that the AFL had taken off rather than the rugby, so then I could see the football that I like (if I had a TV that is). The AFL games are shown on a couple of the satellite TV channels and on the rare occasion I’ve been staying somewhere that has satellite TV and I’ve been able to watch some of my footy live, rather than several weeks later when I receive a DVD of the game.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shopping in Ukarumpa

Well, there's not a whole lot of choice in terms of shops in Ukarumpa. If you want computer related items, you go to the computer department, for fresh fruit and vegies, you go to the market (3 times a week and early in the morning) and for about everything else, you go to "The Store". The Store sells food as well as a variety of other things such as plates, wool, bath mats, stationery, cleaning products and toiletries.

A lot of products are brought in from Australia and the USA, but there are also locally produced PNG products and some cheap Indonesian and Malaysian products. There are even apples in The Store occasionally which are imported from Australia. They cost about 60c each.

Of course sometimes they are out of stock, like recently when there was no onions in the store for a few weeks, and the past couple times I’ve been there, there’s not been any eggs.

One day I went to The Store and wanted to buy macaroni and some other type of pasta, and I walked down the aisle that has the pasta and all I saw was Black and Gold pasta spirals. I thought, "Is that all they've got? Just spirals? I guess I'll have to wait and get macaroni another time." Then it dawned on me that I had just completely overlooked a whole section of pasta that was an American brand. There was all sorts of different types of pasta in the American brand, so I was able to get macaroni (elbows). It is funny how I am so used to familiar brands that I just did not see what was right there in front of me in a different brand!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teop people

Rebekah and I have decided that we would like to work with the Teop people to help them translate the Bible into their own language. All of Bougainville is wonderful and very beautiful, including the Teop area and people. I have put a few photos of the Teop people up on the internet for you to see some of the beautiful people that I will be getting to know in the future. Click on the title of this post to see the photos. I have also put the link on the panel at the side, so you will be able to click to look at the photos any time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Photos of kids at Buka

Here’s a selection of photos of children that I took in the west Buka area. Remember if you want to see a photo a bit better, you can click on the photo and you will see a slightly larger version.

First few photos are of kids at Hitau Island.

It’s common for fairly young children to carry babies around.

Man! What a huge, toothy smile!!

The people of Hitau Island gave each of us one of these huge shells.

This is Priscilla, who was my little friend at Petats Island. She really took to me and followed me around, and sometimes held my hand while walking somewhere. She hardly spoke a word to me. I think maybe she didn’t know Tok Pisin yet and only knew the local language.

These final three photos were taken at Matsungan Island a few minutes apart. Some of these kids were from the highlands.

An older boy with a younger boy.

A bunch of kids.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Glorious sunsets

It always seems to be my luck that I am on the east coast and don’t get to see the sun set over the sea and since I am not a morning person, I don’t get up early enough to see the nice sunrise over the sea on the east coast. So I was happy that for once I was on the west coast on this survey trip at Buka and had the opportunity to see nice sunsets over the water. Here are a few of the sunset photos I took.