Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our last visitors have gone and now, after about 5 weeks of constant visitors, the house feels rather too quiet. We have had a great time all round. It’s been wonderful to show family the work we do here in Lae. As Andrew’s Mum commented, “we knew there were potholes in Lae, but until you actually feel them you have no idea how bad they are.” Or as Andrew’s Dad said, “I knew there was poverty in Lae, but I did not realise how bad it was.” I guess that summarises the sentiments felt, that you need to experience everything first-hand to get a real sense of it!
I had hoped to blog a bit more often while Mum and Dad were here, but we spent our time just enjoying having their company, and I did not really want to sit behind the computer. So I am doing it now. So here’s what’s been happening....along with some pictures:
Last week Monday, Andrew went for his usual daily walking after lunch (in the hottest part of the day!!), but he could not take his usual route. He was stopped by police who were in the process of removing the body of a woman found badly decomposed – apparently the body had been thrown down the mountainside, just near where we live. Over the next few days we heard many varying stories on who the woman was, and what had happened to her (the stories spread and changed amazingly!) But eventually the paper reported the story: it was a part German, part New Ireland woman who had been reported missing by her husband (I think of Asian descent), but was not found until sometime later. Apparently she had been dancing at a local night-spot before talking heatedly on her mobile phone to someone. She left behind a young child too! What a sad story.
Last week Saturday we organised a “Church picnic” for our church. Really, it was a kind of church “sports day”. One of the main reasons for doing so was that Dad and Mum had brought money (well actually they did not physically bring it, but rather it was sent through the right channels....) which was collected by the women’s fellowships in our churches Tasmania, specifically for youth work! So we went out and bought a new volleyball net (our old one had completely disintegrated), some good quality table tennis balls, some new volleyballs and soccer balls, a ball pump and a bocce ball set. These were presented to the church along with a card from the women in Tasmania. What a day we had!! Of course we shared a meal together, or the day would not have been complete. But this time we decided that everything would be cooked at home (as opposed to spending the day cooking at church), and then brought along and eaten later. This way all the ladies could join in with the games. And what fun they all had. We first split up into four teams (we had bought coloured ribbons to mark the teams), with a mixture of young and old and then we had fun competition in volleyball, soccer and the like (including playing the table tennis and sjoelbak (shuffleboard) that previous visitors had made!) I think the most fun of all was had with a game of tunnel ball. What a job organising it. Andrew was saving his voice for preaching the next day (after having used it a lot already in opening the day and then umpiring/organising/talking) so it was my task to try and organise them all into rows with equal amounts of people!! What a job! Every time I would start to count, someone would move off and I would be back to square one. And then the playing was just something else. A total shemozzle, but oh so much fun and laughter! Check out these pictures of our fun day:

Augustina and Cynthia (in the background) having a ball

Frank full of smiles

Andrew doing a great job umpiring

Rumenasen viewing the fun

Grace playing soccer

Mrs Makuba even gets in with the fun did Dad

volleyball fun

...and again

...and that fun volleyball game

And then Shiana finally got to present her Science Fair project at school. We had spent weeks doing back ground research, writing a hypothesis, creating and conducting an experiment and then writing a research paper and a display board. Here you see her proudly displaying her work. She one a prize for the most interctive display board.

Shiana and her prize

And lastly a couple of cute pics of two of our girls: