Weekend Happenings

We went on a walk/hike on Saturday afternoon to a
village called New Camp. It took us about 1 hour and 15
minutes to get there, and then we stayed and talked with
the villagers and played with the kids for about 20
minutes. There was an old man making Tapiok (a root) over
fire and a woman who very well could have been his wife
shelling coconut and mashing it in with kaukau (sweet
potatoe, pronounced “cow-cow”) and water for dinner. Many
younger women (ok, only about 5) were out and about
tending to the children and babies. It’s interesting to
watch the village sort-of “come alive” as we stay. At
first there was just the old couple and maybe one or two
children. Then, before we knew it, there were about 35
children of all ages and their mothers. There were only a
couple of older men, and culturally, our girls are not
really supposed to talk to them, so I’m not really sure
what they were doing. After a while we proceeded further
down the road about for about 20 more minutes and just
romped through the grass to an overlook to more hills and
valleys. Our legs got pretty scratched up because we
didn’t follow a trail or anything, and there is a native
grass out here that is as sharp as razor blades if felt
just right. We sat out on top of the hill for about 30
minutes and then headed back. It was so neat just to take
in God’s creation and fellowship with one another. A few
of the New Camp children followed us there, and we had a
blast taking pictures with them and then showing them on
the digital cameras. That is potentially their favorite
thing to do. It’s cute.

On Sunday afternoon after church I went on a Bena village
visit. There were about 12 of us who went, which is pretty
small compared to our size group. It was nice, though, to
go more low profile. We split into 2 groups and my group
went first to the Gitigifagu (pronounced
“git-ee-g-fah-goo”) village. Our friend Brian (a national)
lives there, and he told us about a certain ceremony that
was going on in their village at the time. He actually
told Doug, our leader, about it, and Doug told us.
Heather, Andrea and I were invited to take a look at what
was going on. There is one hut in the village that is set
up for the celebration of a girl’s “first time” (for lack
of a better term and potential of awkwardness). If you’re
not a girl, don’t feel like you have to read on. It was
just neat because we can so easily relate to it. 🙂
Anyway, the girl being celebrated has to stay in this hut
for 2 weeks total, she actually has to stay in a little
fabric covering that is about 8’x8′ wide. She can have 2
friends stay with her, and her mother as well as older
women in the village come and go. They bring her food and
she is allowed to leave this only to use the bathroom. No
men are allowed to see into the fabric covering but small
boys are allowed in the hut. The fabric they use is
absolutely beautiful, so bright and flowery and tropical.
They also hang flowers and other plants off of it. She has
blankets and pillows to lay on and there is a lot of
giggling with her friends as they play games and just
chat. Additionally, the older women in the village take
this time to instruct her about what makes a good woman in
their culture. Then at the end of two weeks (she still had
a week to go when we saw her), her family hosts a “Mumu”
(pronounced “moo-moo”), which is our equivalent of a
feast, for the entire village. She is celebrated as a
woman for an entire evening. I think that’s the end of it.
Man! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be
confined in there for 2 weeks! It really seems like it
would be luxury to them.

Yesterday (Sunday) in the afternoon we played a rousing
game of soccer. One of our German interns, Willi, who left
this morning loves playing soccer. Since there usually
aren’t enough young folk around to play, we set up a
specific time to get together. There were 3 teams, and
mine won the championship. So fun!! I was one of three
girls who played (one on each of the teams), so the
competition was brought to a whole new level. 🙂

Let’s see…I think that’s all for now. I can understand
Tok Pisin fairly well and even carry somewhat of a
conversation! It’s pretty fun. I was just writing to Tat
that it’s coming along a lot easier than I thought it
might, especially compared to the Greek that I was taking
just a year ago. But sometimes I let a Spanish word slip
in there and confuse all the kids. They laugh and it’s all
good.

I miss you guys a lot, but know that I am having a great
time–learning a ton of new stuff, having SUCH GOOD
conversation, and looking forward to what God has in
store.

A lot of the girls are sick with stomach stuff. Some think
that it was the hotdogs last night (it’s the 1st thing of
processed meat we’ve had in 2 weeks–the rest has all been
fresh) or something that was for breakfast today.
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced it yet. They’re in good
hands–the staff here really knows how to deal with those
adjustments. Please pray that it passes soon!

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