Friday, November 2, 2012

Two weeks until I leave

I must apologise to any of my blog fans who have been faithfully checking my blog for the past few weeks to see if there is a new post - sorry for disappointing you!

I was really busy while Rebekah was visiting, and I’ve continued to be pretty busy since then, as I do lots of little minor things that need to be done before I leave – as well as the important work of preparing the advisor check of Mark 11-16. The chapters I’m working on are 12, 14 and 16. Chapter 14 is a massive chapter with 72 verses! I’ve finished looking at chapters 12 and 14 now, and just have the 20 verses in chapter 16 to look at, so I’m glad that’s nearly finished.

Rebekah and I had a good time while she was here, so here are some pictures of some of the things we did together.

Feeding wallabies:

Pat a koala:

Ride on Puffing Billy:

Speaking at meetings:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unpacking stored items

One of the first things that I’ll be doing when I get to Buka is taking things out of storage and repacking them for going back to the village. There are my own personal belongings as well as the things that Rebekah and I share, such as pots and plates, etc.

It will be interesting to see how it goes – we put everything in the metal shipping container back in December last year – that was a long time ago! The main challenge will be to see if I can find everything that belongs to me/us. I’m not sure if the contents of the container have been rearranged since we left, and if that’s the case, it will be REALLY interesting to see where our things are, but even if they’re where we left them, it’s still going to be a challenge, because the container is full of other people’s stored items too, and our boxes were just packed in various spots around the container, not just all in one corner.

The shipping container is all metal, so on a hot, sunny day, it’s like an oven in there (and most people would think it is hot enough outside)! So as you can imagine, you don’t want to be in there too long, but because I don’t know how many boxes to look for and where exactly they all are, I will have to spend some time standing in there, scanning around to see if something jumps out at me as belonging to us. Some things will be easy to find, others may be a bit more of a challenge.

I also wonder how the heat and humidity has treated my clothes – will they be covered in mould and falling apart? Will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Minor differences

I’ve been thinking recently about a few of the minor things that will be different when I go back to Bougainville, and things that I’ll need to try and remember. Here are some below:

Grass seeds: Firstly, try to remember to pay attention to the length of the grass, so that I don’t walk through it and get seeds all through my skirt. Failing that, I will have the leisurely activity of picking grass seeds out of my skirt. It’s a great slow pace of life activity.

Head torch: I need to remember that if I have my torch switched on, try not to look at people, as wherever my head turns, there the torch shines also, and people don’t appreciated being blinded by the light. I have a terrible habit of doing that!

Leg cramps: Quite often in the morning I get cramps in my calves just as I am waking up in the village. It’s rather annoying. I don’t know why it happens, but maybe my body gets dehydrated during the night which might trigger it.

Exact change: I’ve been used to paying for things however I like here in Australia, using my bank card, or just handing over a note. In Buka however, it’s best to pay with the exact change, because there’s always a shortage of change in the register at the shops, or at the market the sellers often don’t have enough change either. Of course, when you pay the exact amount for a lot of things, you end up running out of change yourself!

Sunscreen: I don’t like putting sunscreen on, but if I know I’m going to be out in the sun for a while, I’d better put it on.

Crabs: Sometimes when you’re sitting at the beach, you see these tiny crabs scurrying along the sand. It’s not hugely fascinating or exciting or anything, but your eye just takes it in, and I remembered about it today when I saw a crab on TV.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making postaono

I have tried making village foods a few times while I’ve been in Australia, with varying degrees of success, but until now I hadn’t tried making postaono, mainly due to not being able to buy cassava.

I found some frozen grated cassava in a shop recently and bought it, saving me the work of having to grate the cassava myself too, but since I can’t find fresh cassava I can’t do that anyway.

I have helped with the various stages of postaono in the village, but I’ve never made it from start to finish, so I wasn’t quite sure on a few things and asked some of our village aunts on the phone for their advice over the last week or so.

So today was the day for making postaono. I got my ingredients together as shown below: frozen grated cassava (defrosted), tinned coconut cream (because fresh coconuts in Australia are rubbish) and a couple of bananas.

I cut open the packets of grated cassava and put them in the bowl.

Then I put in the coconut cream. This was the part that I felt most uncertain about. The coconut cream to cassava ratio is usually judged by eye, and I haven’t seen it often enough to judge the right consistency for myself. I decided to use the whole tin. This is the cassava with the cream mixed in:

Next I spread it onto a tray and spread mashed banana onto half of it.

Then I put more cassava on top of the banana and filled the tray.

Covered in aluminium foil and put it in the oven.

When it started to dry up on the top I took it out of the oven (maybe it needed more coconut cream, or maybe the covering should have been touching the cassava.

And here are two pieces of postaono – banana postaono on the left and postaono without banana on the right. Now you know what postaono is too!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change and transition

I have a big change coming up in my life again: leaving Australia and returning to PNG on 16 November. With change comes transition, and although the change doesn’t happen yet for a couple of months, my mind has entered the transition phase – I know there is a big change coming up, and it is on my mind a lot. I’m at the stage where I’m feeling a bit uneasy and apprehensive, even though I’ve been looking forward to going back for a long time and I’m still keen to be back there.

Many things and ways of doing things (like shopping even) will be different. It is a really huge change. Nearly everything will be different: environment, climate, people, food, lifestyle. The good thing is that I am not going into the unknown – I know the changes that I am facing, so hopefully that will help.

Since it is only 2 months until I go, I’m also feeling the time pressure – so much to do, yet so little time to do it in! But sometimes I have difficulty identifying what the ‘so much’ is that I have to do.

It is the same with returning to Australia. Even though I am familiar with Australia, when I return after having lived in Bougainville, PNG, I go through a transition process before and after arriving.

I think that the transition back to Australia this time lasted about 4-6 months before I started feeling more comfortable. The first month I was down a lot (a lot of grief), then in the following months it was a mixture of feeling up and down. After about 4 months I started feeling happy more often and feeling down less often, and my contentment with being in Australia continued to gradually increase over the months. Saying that however, I have never stopped looking forward to going back to the village either.

I don’t find transition easy – I don’t know if anyone does, but with this explanation in mind, perhaps you can now better understand and pray about what I will be going through in the months ahead.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The hidden cactus garden at Singapore Airport

I had heard that Singapore airport has some outdoor garden areas within the airport grounds, and last time I went through Singapore airport (12 years ago) I didn’t see any trace of one, although I was aware of them. So this time I was determined to find one.

I went on one of the free internet computers there and I found out that the terminal I was in has a garden, and it is called the cactus garden. Then I went searching for it. I found a map which showed that it is upstairs, so I went upstairs and couldn’t find anything that looked like an outside garden. I asked a lady at a desk and she said that I needed to go back downstairs and find another upstairs section. I followed her directions and found myself in another upstairs area that still didn’t have a garden. I asked another person that was working in a restaurant there, but I couldn’t understand his English very well.

I went back downstairs and was beginning to think that maybe the cactus garden would continue to elude me. Then I saw a sign for a smoking area. It’s not a place I would normally seek out, but I thought that it would have to be an outdoor area, so maybe that’s where the garden is. I went upstairs again and finally found it! They only allow smoking in a small part of the garden, so I was able to wander through it without having to put up with nasty fumes.

I probably spent about half an hour searching for the garden, and only five minutes wandering through it! I would have liked to have spent more time there, but I needed to go back to the gate for boarding my plane. Anyway, after I went to all that effort, I hope you enjoy these photos I took there.

Me! Yes, I made it there and this is the proof!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scenic photos

Here are some of my favourite scenic photos that I took in Scotland. I’ll let you enjoy them without further comment.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Waterfalls look great. Here are a few photos of waterfalls that I took in Scotland.

The series of falls here form a part of a salmon leap. The salmon leap up these falls as they travel upstream.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scottish village life in the old days

At the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, there is a replica of what a highlands village would have been like in around 1700. I really enjoyed seeing similarities between it and village life in PNG.

Village houses:

A straw broom:

A woven basket:

Some seats and a fireplace:

Firewood and a basket with stones (o vasu tao bau!).

Temporary camp accommodation for when people were travelling:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flowers of Scotland

As I travelled through Scotland, I really enjoyed seeing the flowers that were in bloom at the time and took the occasional photo. Here are some of them for you to enjoy too.

This is a rhododendron bush. It reminded me of Bougainvillea plants. The flower is completely different really, but when you see it from a distance, and while flying past it in a bus, it looks a bit like a Bougainvillea, so that made me happy because Bougainvillea plants remind me of Bougainville as they grow well there (although the plant originated in South America).

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Neolithic sites – or in other words: really old places

It was really interesting to see some Neolithic (very old) sites at Orkney and to imagine what it would have been like to live back then.

Skara Brae is probably the best preserved Neolithic village. You can see what their houses were like, and I’d love to be able to go back in time and just see people going about their daily life in that era, although I’m glad that I didn’t live then – I like our modern comforts.

The Broch of Gurness is actually from the Iron Age (thanks Wikipedia for telling me that!), so it’s not Neolithic, it’s a bit more recent – about 2000 years old. Again it’s just fascinating to see these places and to think that 2000 years ago there was people here in the same place as me, seeing and touching the same stones.

These standing stones are a part of the Ring of Brodgar, a big circle of standing stones. They are also from the Neolithic area, before there was any machinery and it makes you wonder how they managed to move these stones about and put them in place. Theories about, but no-one really knows.

This huge stone really dwarfs me and must weigh a ton!