Thursday, July 3, 2014

The less pretty sights of Arawa

What can we say? Bougainville is still recovering from a civil war, and Arawa took a bit of a beating.

Here are some of the buildings that are looking a bit worse for wear.

Looks like Arawa even had a squash court! I don’t know if there’s anywhere in PNG at present that has a squash court! (Maybe Port Moresby does, but I wouldn’t know).

Lastly, here’s a road that’s not in quite as good a shape as the ones I posted earlier.

Ok, now after reading this post, go back and look at the previous post of the nice sights and rejoice that this town is slowly building itself back up again. Arawa is a nice town with a lot of potential, and it’s going places.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The nice sights of Arawa

As well as some pretty roads, there are some other nice sights in Arawa. Here is their beautiful river, which is right in the centre of town. You pass it, going over a bridge, just after the market (or just before the market if you’re going the other direction!).

How cool is this sculpture of the world? which, ironically is missing PNG. Apparently it used to be even cooler, as it used to be a bit of a fountain with water flowing over the world. Sounds great.

This is a lovely mural on the side of a building in the middle of ‘Beautiful Arawa.’

This technically isn’t a ‘sight’ because it is inside a building, but I was so excited by it that I had to share it anyway. It is the inside of the relatively new supermarket. Look at it! It’s so bright and shiny and clean and spacious!! And it has a lot of stock – things you can’t get in Buka. I even took photos of the food on the shelves, but I’ll spare you them, as I’m sure you know what good supermarkets look like.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nice Arawa roads

I went to Arawa for the first time a couple of months ago. It used to be a big modern town in the early 80’s. The streets in some areas looked like roads that you would see in Australia. I thought they were very nice with the median strip in the middle. Looking at these photos, you could be mistaken for thinking that they are of a small country town in Australia.

And here’s an intersection. It may not look very exciting to you. In fact it may just look like a normal intersection. That is what I found so exciting about it. I haven’t seen an intersection quite like this one in PNG before. It even has a slip lane for turning left! It felt really strange – ‘surreal’ is maybe what you would call it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More progress on the house

Here are the latest photos on the progress of my village house. I took these photos before coming to Buka, but I’ve been told that since then, they have put the frame up.

If you compare with the previous blog post, you will see that the supporting struts and protective fence are no longer there, as the cement has dried and the posts can stand by themselves. The bearers are also on top of the posts here, and the window frames have been made and are under the roofing iron.

A closer photo of the window frames, with some other frames in the background, and the stockpile of timber behind them.

And just to give you a bit more perspective, here is the house from a different angle. If you look closely you can see the road in the background (it is white).

I’m in Buka for a few weeks, so can’t get new photos of the progress until I go back, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it has changed. It will be great to see the frame that’s up now.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Village house construction progress

This is how I found my village house when I came back to the village after having two weeks away at Petats Island!

Before I went to Petats, no work had been started on my house, and I was surprised to find the house looking like this when I got to the village.

On the day I arrived, the men were working on cementing the posts in. I don’t know how it is done in Australia, but here they put some stones in the hole first.

Then they put the cement in the holes. The mix the cement with water and with sand that they get from the beach just 50 metres away!

Lastly, here is some of the timber that is ready to be used for the house.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Catch of the day and gutting fish

Look at this big catch of fish!!

I got involved in gutting the fish:

Here’s Mirriam holding a swordfish:

Several baskets were filled with fish:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Getting food from the ocean is a part of life for the local people, and stingray is something that they occasionally catch from the sea. It tastes really nice when it has been smoked. This is a stingray that they caught one morning:

Here it is after been butchered a little – there is a lot more flesh than I would have thought!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cooking fish

After a big catch of fish that you can’t eat all at once, you need to smoke the fish so that they don’t go bad. I helped put the fish on to the smoking rack:

Here is the rack full of fish:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tie your donkey to a grape vine? Wash your clothes in wine?

What would you think if someone suggested that you tie your donkey to the branch of a grape vine? That is, if you had a donkey and a grape vine nearby to tie him to.

I don’t know much about donkeys and grape vines, but my thought is that the branches of grape vines aren’t very strong, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to tie your donkey to one, as if he wanted to escape, he could probably pull and the branch would break off, or he would uproot the plant.

In his blessing for Judah, Jacob says: “He ties his foal to a grapevine, the colt of his donkey to a choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.” Gen 49:11 (NLT)

What does this mean? Why would you want to wash your clothes in red wine? Do we want our white shirts to have a red tinge to them?

I’ve been checking the Teop draft of Genesis 49 recently and I did some research on this verse. I learnt that tying a young donkey to a grape vine is not normally a good idea, but the reason isn’t because it might break the branch and run away – the reason is because it will eat the leaves and fruit.

What Jacob is saying here is that Judah’s land is going to be so fertile that grape vines will grow really well, and he won’t even worry about the fact that a young donkey might eat some, because he will have such an abundance of them.

The bit about washing clothes in wine is also referring to how wine will be plentiful. It will be so plentiful that you could use it like you could use water. Even if we were talking about white wine, you wouldn’t wash your clothes in it because it is expensive and you wouldn’t want to waste it like that. However Jacob is saying that wine is going be as abundant as water. He doesn’t mean that people will actually wash their clothes in it; rather he is using the image to illustrate how fertile the land will be.

I’ve tried to edit Genesis 49:11 in Teop so that the meaning of the verse is clear. If I didn’t, people wouldn’t understand the verse, it would just sound like nonsense. What’s the point of translating if the translation doesn’t communicate the intended meaning?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Huge sea cucumbers

We have a lot of sea cucumbers in the sea near us. My estimate is that most of the ones I see are about 5cm wide by 22cm long, but there are some really big ones too. One day the kids got a couple of these really big ones out of the sea and we looked at and held them. Afterwards they were returned to the sea and weren’t injured.

Here are some photos:
Two sea cucumbers on a log, me touching one of them.

Holding one:

Mirriam with a sea cucumber – and that’s Emily in the background, also touching it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Broken Japanese bridge

There was a lot of rain and the rivers flooded and were flowing strong, so strong that they caused one of the new bridges that the Japanese built, to fall.

It didn’t completely collapse into the water. As you drive past, now going through the river, it doesn’t look like it is broken at all:

We had to walk along the bridge to see it properly. Here is the bit that broke:

Today, cars have to drive through the shallow water to go to the other side, but if you are going by foot and don’t want to get wet, this is the precarious way that you have to cross – on the edge of the concrete that is on a sloping angle down to the water.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Aussie tourists

The Aussie surf tour blokes had an afternoon free and wanted to see a bit of culture, so the local people put on a cultural dance with music. They had been preparing for an upcoming event, so it was handy that they already had something prepared up their sleeve.

It was happening at the next village along the beach from us, so a bunch of us walked over to watch too. It was just the weirdest thing having all these tourists here! It was quite the novelty to me, so I took photos of the tourists…

I also took photos and videos of the dances too, like a local tourist.

And here they are on their little boat heading back to the big boat. I love this photo – click on it to see it bigger – it just has so much in it, especially the traditional (canoes) and the modern (small boat and fancy big boat in the distance), with the ocean and Teop island as the backdrop.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boat in harbour and Australia Day

It was a surprise one afternoon to come back to the village after a trip to the bush, and find a nice, white shiny boat in the harbour! It’s not often that there’s a boat anchored there.

It was a charter for surfer tourists. They stayed for a few days, travelled south and anchored again for a couple of nights on their way back north. I met the guys and the boat captain invited me over for dinner with them all on Australia Day. It was so amazing – who would have imagined that I would have an Australia Day BBQ with a bunch of Aussie blokes (and one woman, the captain’s wife) while out in the village! It was a great meal too – not your sausage and hamburger BBQ, rather steaks, fish and lobster tails!! Wasn’t the timing great!

It also looked really pretty at night with the boat lights reflecting on the sea. It’s hard to get a good photo at night, but I thought this one wasn’t too bad (taken from the beach).

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tiny island

Just behind Teop Island, there is a very small, uninhabited island. There’s not much there other than some trees and the rocky, coral ground.

The rough coral ground:

When the tide is low, it is possible to walk/wade there from Teop Island. Here are a series of photos showing the little island as we progressively got closer to it:

Finally, as we arrived at the island, we could look back and see Teop Island with the larger Bougainville island and mountains in the background. Nice view.