This Is The Day

Please overlook the delay in getting an update
posted. Tamsen (my sister who is taking care of these
posts for me) had surgery on both of her feet Monday (CA
time) and is steadily recovering. Additionally, I have
been busy here in PNG! I went to write emails yesterday
afternoon and the Internet was down, and there are
constant opportunities for ministry among my teammates and
the other missionaries that are sometimes more important
than blogging or emailing. Thanks for your understanding!

The days here have been one in the same and similar to
previous days. It’s all great and good, but does not
provide much new information for y’all. Except for Tuesday
when we went into town. We drove for an hour into Garoka
and experienced what the typical PNG tribal person might
do with an afternoon in town. We were broken into smaller
groups as to keep a low profile. I was actually led in a
group by a local PNG girl, Shara, who is a believer and
lives just outside of Garoka. She visits the Interface
campus frequently and is a really neat girl. Another guy
in our group is one of the German interns, so he is also
town-savvy. So having the two of them was pretty cool.
Shara knew all the safe shortcuts and hotspots and Simple
kept us on time.

We started first at the Veggie Mart where anyone and
everyone comes to sell their produce. There were many
varieties of fruits and vegetables for sale–pineapple,
carrots, lettuce, kaukau (sweet potato), coconuts, tapiok
(a root they eat here), sugar cane–along with traditional
clothing and children’s toys. It was extremely busy and
due to a high caution of fights breaking out and/or
pick-pockets being around, we went more or less to look
than to shop. No one was stolen from and there were no
fights, but it was still pretty interesting to experience.

After the Veggie Mart we drove a little ways to tour a
history museum of PNG. It was a little run-down museum
compared to our immaculate and dust-free ones in America,
but informative nonetheless. The two main sections were
about the tribal customs of the highlands (the “old ways”)
and then the WWII era that PNG experienced. It was
definitely something that history buffs would be into, and
I was thankful to learn more about this country.

After the museum we visited the big coffee factory here in
PNG. Coffee is the cash crop in the highlands where we are
currently at, and it was neat to be able to see coffee as
I know it in America from the plant to the bag. It smelled
incredible and was even interesting to watch the men work
as sanitation here is not what we are typically used to.
When one of the workers was pulling a batch out of the
roasting barrell, someone asked how long each roast took
(mild, medium and dark). His simple reply was, “I don’t
really know. We just do it by sight.” Fascinating that it
turns out good every time…

After the coffee plant we visited New Tribes Mission
Aviation’s (NTMA) base in PNG. It was so cool! We got a
tour of their offices, workshop, airstrip and the like.
They even have a little simulation room that two men were
working in. Aviation is one of the many support ministries
I have learned about that make tribal missions happen, and
it was so neat to be able to watch the support happen
first-hand. There is so much need in NTMA for different
roles–pilots, mechanics, admin, etc.–that it’s difficult
not to think of people I know who could fulfill those
roles out here on the mission field. (And I’m sure you are
reading this, you whom I’m thinking of. We’ll have a nice
chat when I get home.) 🙂 We had a picnic lunch at NTMA
and then headed into the main part of Garoka.

The majority of the day was spent just wandering and
shopping around downtown Garoka. There are different parts
and the first place we went is called the Artifact Market.
It’s just where anyone and everyone plops down on the
sidewalk and sells things. Again, it reminded me a lot of
when i have visited Ensenada, Mexico. There was also the
“wall of bilums” (bee-lums). They are hand-sewn purses of
all shapes, sizes and colors that the nationals use to
carrying things in–everything from personal items to
their own liklik (leek-leek) pikininis
(pick-ee-knee-knees), their babies. There were literally
hundreds of bilums hung up along the fence line waiting
for a customer.

After that we just walked around town to the places that
Shara and Simple thought we would enjoy the most–mainly
knick-knack stores and the like. There are a couple of
places that sell anything you could ever want, from bush
knives and machetes to material and ribbon by the yard.
One of the stores even sold live baby chicks. The groups
all met up at the Bird of Paradise hotel in Garoka (the
tourist hot-spot) for some snacks and time in the shade.
Then we left Garoka to come back to the Interface campus.

This morning (Friday) we had a language helper session and
my language helper, Doris, took me to her garden to teach
me how to plant kaukau (cow-cow), sweet potato and do
other things. It’s a rather simple process: make a little
mountain of dirt, then pick three kaukau leaves and put
the ends together in the middle of the mound. That’s all!
It takes 2-3 weeks for the root to grow big enough to eat,
depending on the rain. After we all (3 of us) took a whack
at planting kaukau, Doris taught us how to weed. Pretty
much anything that grows but is not edible is considered a
weed. We rooted many a weed and just threw them in the
ditches between the rows of planted food. I asked her if
they ever take the weed and burn it, but she said no
because it is essentially compost for the soil (not her
exact words, but that’s what she meant). So interesting! I
would think it silly because then the weeds just plant
more seedlings of themselves, causing even more weeds to
sprout and have to pull. But that is what is good for
their soil, and what they have been doing for generations.
The 4 of us worked in her garden for about 45 minutes and
then rested in the shade. She told us that our 45 minutes
of work saved her about 3 hours that she would have had to
do on her own. Praise the Lord!

As we were sitting in the shade resting and being
relational, Monica (one of the girls in our group) asked
Doris what kind of music she likes. Doris replied that she
only likes “gospel music” and Monica asked her to teach us
a song. Doris taught us the Pidgin words to “This is the
Day.” It was stuck in my head all day, and I pray that you
find wisdom and encouragement in meditating on such simple
words:

This is the day
This is the day that the Lord has made
That the Lord has made
This is the day
This is the day that the Lord has made
That the Lord has made
This is the day that the Lord has made
I will be glad and rejoice in it
This is the day that the Lord has made.

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1 Comment

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One response to “This Is The Day

  1. beccaboone

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, KATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

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