Time to Talk

This picture is of a new friend para-gliding over the valley. The collection of white buildings in the background is the center on which we live.

We were asked to be the first to share about "how we got here" at evening church tonight. There is a group of new arrivals who are scheduled to speak over the next two weeks, and we were asked by virtue of having small children who might not be as fresh after an hour of sitting on a pew. We had ten minutes, and we shared in a very comfortable, and fun fashion about how God brought us here. It was enjoyable to listen to the testimonies of others, and to laugh at jokes that two years ago we would not have understood. There is a common bond that comes with going through similar experiences of cultural adaptation. So not knowing everyone yet, we still share a bond that brings us closer together and let's us laugh and cry together.

My son, earlier today on hearing that we were to speak, said "I would like to introduce myself on the microphone." My daughter said "I don't want to stand up there on the stage." She is not shy on a stage, last week she was in a school play, it is jsut that she is embarrassed to hear her name while people stare at her. SO, we decided she could stand, and then sit down. She was fine with that.

My son spent the hours before the evening service saying things like
"Mom if you're a grown-up can you change your name?"
-her "why?"
-son "I'm jsut wondering"
-her "do you want to change your name?"
-son "no."

So I got involved.
"Son, if you could change your name what would you change it to?"
-son "I don't know."
"You know your name is a special name, a good name, do you know why?"
-son "no."
"Because men who have had that name before had good characters and they did good things and made the name good. You have a good character and do good things, and so your name is good."

At this he smiled as if he had found a new appreciation for his name. At seeing his smile I thanked God that at least once in a while as a parent I say something wise. The words must've come from him.

"You know son, a name is either good or bad because of what the people who have that name do with their lives. If you do good things, and have a good character, then other people will like your name for many years to come."

He smiled really big and that was the end of that. He then proceeded to say

"Well tonight I'm going to introduce myself, I think I'll say : My name is Calvin and I am 5 years old and I have made 19 friends here, one of them is named Freddy, do you know him?"

my wife and I laughed but suddenly we feared giving him the microphone.
"Son, how about jsut your name and age."
son - "no, I want to say that I'm almost 6."
"son remember how we talked about bragging?"
son - "yes it's okay to brag if you're bragging about God."
"right, how is saying you have 19 friend bragging about God?"
he thought for a while....
son - "okay maybe I'll jsut say I'm Calvin and I'm 5."

So we walked up to the microphone, and I lifted him up and he whispered "I don't want to talk anymore!" So while I was holding him I said "This is my son...." and then lifted up my daughter to play along and said "and this is my daughter."

Folks clapped at that!

It was a good evening, good sharing, God was glorified in the testimonies and the energy in the room showed a true camaraderie and enthusiasm for the task set before us.

Aiyura Ridge Boys

What an incredible Saturday!

I started off by working a few hours, and around lunch time I wondered "what do people do here on the weekends?"

Around 12:30 we got an email to everyone "we're going hang gliding if you'd like to come, it would be good if you had a quad 4x4" So me and my son decided impromptu to jump on the 4x4 which I think today earned a name, and headed out.

We went off center, WAY off center. Outside the gates, down the road, then veer off the road, through bumpy, brushy jungle, then up a very rutted hill, and to the top of a hill, THEN across the ridge blazing a trail as we went. I very quickly realized this wasn't going to be a quick trip and perhaps we should have packed better.

Cutting through the brush, over rocks, through ditches, passed crazed dogs, and found a clearing. Two dirt bikes, 2 quads, and 3 para-gliders. We then were introduced to para-gliding by an Australian gentlemen. It was a gorgeous view! I could see the entire Aiyura valley, all over and it was excellent for getting my bearings and realizing where everything was. My feet are destined to stay firmly on solid ground, but we enjoyed watching them. I personally lost my daredevil gene the year I had children.

My son was having a blast riding the rough trails with me as I was with him. Then, they flew away! WOW! It was amazing, and the nationals thought so too as they gathered around. I took it upon myself to offer one of them a ride up the hill, which as a different more challenging narrow ridge trail. I went RIGHT down the mountain, and then, I had no idea if my little Polaris 325 would make it up the hill with 2 guys and a para-gliding pack on it.

IT did. It was steep, and rocky, hard to see through the tall kunai grass, and at times I had no weight on the front and had to throw my weight around to get it up, but we got up and we were pretty impressed. I even surprised myself because I have no quad driving experience and this was perhaps the toughest terrain (sans mud) that I could have taken it on.

Like I said, today I think it earned a name. It definitely became a tool today instead of a toy. I'm not one to name vehicles but I may make an exception in this case.

I was really needing some adventure and to soak in the beauty that is this place. It is incredible how gorgeous it is to look down over the valley and see all the villages and their distances from each other. I don't know about you, but the thing that inspires me most to worship the greatness of God is viewing His creation. As I looked down on the valley my heart was filled with how marvelous God is. I can remember a handful of truly wonderful worship experiences and they all involved me in the middle of God's majestic creation.


The Week

The kids are getting popular over here. We spent the weekend taking them to play dates last week, and right now we have some kids over here for play date today. After about the fifteenth rendition of chopsticks on the piano I'm heading to work (-;.

On Friday I was asked to install sql on a server down in Aviation but half way through the server crashed. SO.. I decided to schedule some time on a Saturday (today) to go into work and finish the job so that it didn't interrupt anyone's work.

We spent the first three days of the week in orientation to the center. They taught us all about how things here work and what department does what. It really is an impressive machine. How things stay afloat here with all the people coming and going is remarkable. It requires a lot of flexibility. They have people who came here to do one thing and are now doing 6 things or doing something completely different than what they were originally doing.

The good news is that you can branch out and do a lot of challenging new things. The bad news is that if you're not careful you can get stretched too thin. So we're being wise in our commitments thus far, but truly everyone here is very committed to the work of translation.

Thursday and Friday were normal work days. We got caught up on chores at home. My wife made pretzels, bread, cake and cookies that we later shared with others.

We found out a brand of tuna we don't like. Diana brand. It was kind of funny as we found another new couple who had a similar experience with the tuna as we did.

It is good to have the people back from POC so there are other NEW people who we can relate to as far as our adaptation process.

For me this week has been a long realization of how nothing is instant here.
I didn't recognize how much I had adapted to the instant gratification of the culture in the bay area, CA.

I couldn't go get a burrito at midnight. If I wanted a snack, it would take preparation.

I couldn't pick up and drive to the barber. I had to find someone who cut hair and make an appointment for 2 weeks from now. My hair will be very long by then.

There isn't a lot of immediacy here. If you want to get something done, you have to plan for it, and then wait.

I think that personally for a few days here I was getting a little tired of all the waiting. The process of detoxifying my personality from impatience is at times uncomfortable.

I like to get things done, now. I like to write a list of things to do, and knock them off several in a day. I dislike when that list grows more than it shrinks.

The process has been the last 5 days:
-fits of impatience.... "why can't they jsut!!!!..."
-sudden realization that you can't do something you used to
-calm acceptance
-quiet sighs

I've got to figure out how to remain driven when faced with a culture that doesn't achieve as quickly as I'm used to.

The pleasant upside is the environment is a lot less stressful. In a way this is my adjustment. My wife's adjustment is very much in the home for now. She will adjust more as she begins teaching later.

For me, inside the home is less adjustment.
Outside the home I have to figure out how to function without the constant threat of immediacy and high priority.

It's a change I'll welcome.


Mud Hike to the Village


Today we went on a leisurely hike to the Ukarumpa Village. The center we stay on is called "ukarumpa center" or SIL PNG center, because it is located near Ukarumpa village. So today, there was an organized hike and all four of us went on it with several others whom we got to know. The couple that led the hike are support workers here and have been since 1985.

The village is the closest village to our center and is over a bridge, across the river and up the hill a way. The hike was very muddy as it has recently rained a lot, and we all got our fair share of mud, especially my daughter who had to hike in a long skirt.

It was a blast. At first I thought I might not enjoy a simple walk, and while my feet do have blisters from loose fitting army boots, I had a great amount of fun. We walked right through the village, saw many Papua New Guineans, interacted, blew bubbles, talked for a bit, and were told of the history of the place.

We took pictures.

They'll show the bridge, we crossed, which was the "scariest" part of the hike according to the kids, but they did a GREAT job. At one time you could drive over this bridge, but as the river shifted and eroded the ground, the bridge gave way. The metal you see was originally used here during WWII for immediate landing strips. They would lay down this heavy metal on relatively flat areas and it would create places for the planes to land. After the war, the country had a lot of it left over. I think in total we walked a little over a mile and half (1.64 miles or 2.66 km)

We started at our house with GPS coords of: (for google earth fans)
Our House
S06 20.294
E145 53.186

the furthest point away was the top of the Ukarumpa Village:
S 06 19.572
E145 53.465

and then back.

My son made a new friend on the way, the son of one of the translator families. Short version of the story is that he was born with a cleft pallet and his parents couldn't nurse him, they left him in a bilum for ten weeks, unfed. They adopted him and nursed him to health. Calvin and him had a fun time on the hike.

We saw a church being built. Notice the picture of the pews. Across the road was the grave site of the former pastor.

We saw some pigs, apparently pigs are valuable because they help settle disputes and pay for costs. In areas where the seventh day adventists have populated, pigs aren't allowed so they use goats.

We walked through some coffee trees. That is the cash crop here. They'll make from 200 to 1000 kina from their coffee (which Starbucks now sells at $12.00 p/lb when they buy from here at under a dollar p/lb.) They use that money to pay for school fees, medical fees etc.

A visiting financial missionary who came here years ago said that the PNG people are rich compared to folks in Africa. They don't have money, but the ground here is fertile so they can live off their gardens (albeit not much variety in their diet) and the way the clan system works, they always have space to build homes. They can harvest materials to build homes from their land, and so they have food, and a house and family, but no cash. Which in comparison makes them more rich than some people. Unfortunately, PNG two years ago was dropped from the status of being a "developing country". Infrastructure is the largest challenge here. (roads, buildings, etc). We recently met the U.S. ambassador to PNG who explained this.

One thing we learned was that the traditional house is a round house for the Highlands people here. But you'll notice in some of the pictures that there are rectangular houses. As western culture creeps in here slowly, building homes has taken on a more free-style, and people will make houses out of whatever they find. But typically, what looks like a disorganized mess to the untrained eye (like mine) is actually a clever design in some cases. They will take older grass and weave it with newer grass for their house walls and get a checkered pattern. Or sometimes spell words, or make designs.

It is very important that as you look around to not consider the people here as unintelligent. Rather the opposite, they are very smart, they learn fast, they are very capable, and resourceful. I've been amazed at how functional society is here. They may not be as savvy about medical issues and hygiene, but they are very intelligent people, and very friendly.

We had a great time on the hike. To be honest I thought "hike and fun sound like an oxymoron" but we really enjoyed it.

if you would like to look at the pictures in a slideshow format here is how you do it:
-goto the album of choice
-on the left under "Actions" is a link at the bottom titled "view slideshow" click that.
-set the delay as you'd like but put the size on the maximum "no limit"
-the slideshow will begin

We hope you enjoy reading/viewing our hike as much as we enjoyed going on it!

We continually thank God for the wonderful newness of it all. Our kids love it here, we are enjoying the different opportunities that have arisen thus far. We are very excited to see what God is going to do here, and relying on Him is a daily survival skill out here.

Thank you for your continued interest and support!



We are settling in. We've got a little bit of a groove going on.
We understand to run out and grab the laundry off the clothesline should the rain begin. We have trained the kids to walk home from school, which is very safe for them as during that time a lot of grown ups are on the road and they tend to keep an eye on the kids.

We've got the yard thing down, today Kendal spent lunch with the yard meris (the women who tend the garden/yard) and talked a bit with them.

We've had dinner at a few houses and have had folks over to play games etc.

The kids are loved by everyone. They are loved by the national neighbors, and by other missionaries on center. They have sort of adopted aunts and uncles here. You don't really call people "mister" and "misses" it's all aunt and uncle around here, everyone is family.

The freedoms that this place offers far outweigh the loss of liberty. Compared to city living, being in the hills is much more peaceful and liberating.

There are some lovely things about this place, and some not-as-lovely things. I'm neither declaring this place as a paradise, nor complaining. We really do enjoy it here, but in the interest of full disclosure, I'll share a few not-as-lovelies.

For example, I love that you need to learn to accept a certain amount of dirt here. Kids go shoeless and they will have mud in their toenails until they move back to America. (-; It's a way of life.

Your clothes will never completely be perfectly white and soft from fabric softener, but I love it, it's a more manly feeling to have sun-dried clothes. For years my we air dried my shirts because I like that (plus I fear shrinking) (-;.

The one thing I didn't expect was the constant feeling of your skin crawling. I'll get used to it. You know how if you find an ant or something on you, how you feel it moving, and then shake it off, but then for minutes later you still feel the creeping of it? It doesn't bother me, but I soon learned to not ignore that feeling because odds are, something is on you. (-;

The other day I felt a twinge on my leg and thought "ah it's in your head" and I brushed it to get rid of the feeling, and grabbed a spider instead. Not a large one, no worries.

And then there's the head bonking. I bonk my head almost daily here. They have door closers that jut out from the ceiling three feet from a door, to catch the door and cause it to snap back. Dust and rain are concerns and so doors don't stay open much, although we leave ours open all day and use the screen door, because the climate is such that you can leave windows open all day and the temp will be perfect.

A cool tropical breeze at the right moment.....ahhhhh.

So we're settling into a bit of a groove. We do a lot of reading, we have a lot of family time.

Tonight my daughter said, "so do you think we can arrange a family game time tonight?"

If the kids finish their supper and their chores, and homework and get ready for bed, there is usually a good half hour where we can play Uno or some such.

Things close between 4 and 5 here. You do need to plan ahead if you need something at the store. Which is part of the lower stress, there isn't a whole lot to do after 5pm besides socialize. No one really works after 5pm unless they are in one of the unique 24x7 positions (such as a hostel parent).

There aren't a lot of "can you do this on the way home."
you can't pick up fast food after 5pm, you can't do errands, get gas, or do practically anything. The place shuts down for getting stuff done.

That means you take breaks from work from time to time to get it done.
So far we're still in the honeymoon stage with food. We're experimenting and enjoying it. I'll let you know when the romance wears off.

Work-wise, I have a TON to learn. But I'm glad that almost daily I'm able to contribute some small thing to improve things here. We're told that the internet speed improvement is the number one best enhancement to living here on center. It has opened computer services up to a large number of new issues which thankfully, I have a lot of experience in having worked in large network areas.

Issues such as, how do they handle spam? How to they handle phishing, do they block cracking sites, how do we educate parents to watch their kids and what they try to view on the net, what do we block from the net?

There are all kinds of issues but we have a creative bunch and a good mix of resourcefulness and skills.

I can tell already it's going to be a good place to live, and an exciting place to work.


Licenses and lists

We went into Kainantu today, it's a town about ten minutes away now that they paved a large portion of the road. Lucky for us, the department of motor vehicles equivalent was open, and had film in the camera, and we walked away with our driver's licenses.

All you need is a U.S. license and 60kina.

Which is to say, they let you drive there with absolutely no experience driving on the LEFT side of the road and the RIGHT side of the car.

But we don't have a car yet so we don't have to worry about that too much.
Vehicle wise, every 6 months you need a safety inspection sticker, and every year you pay for registration which also includes insurance.

In June we hope to acquire a 1994 Isuzu Trooper when the current owners move.

Had a big win at work this week! There was an issue with the network, which currently is a flat network, and they had installed 2 dhcp servers on it. Machines were getting ip addresses from servers geographically located elsewhere and it was creating a problem. They wanted a way to block dhcp packets from one to the other but had no firewall in the middle and no routing. I was able to employ my cisco knowledge and write an access list (acl) and implement it on one of the ports of the switch. Soon the network was doing what it was supposed to, and I realized soon that one of the values I can add here is my networking knowledge (such that it is). God allowed me to be confirmed today as I finally did something right, and fixed a long standing problem here.

Part of the younger, new missionary role, as I see it, is to be passionate, and communicate excitement and vision. As is true anywhere, whenever you work in the same position for a while, you can easily fall into a certain way of thinking, and new blood usually brings in a vitality and challenges you to think new again. I've been on both ends of the spectrum, and right now I'm enjoying being the new guy, learning, respecting those who have come before me and what they have done, and then contributing helpfully where I can.

I have great idea on how this network can be secured and tuned better. One of the major problems they currently have with the network is viruses. I can already see how with very little cost, we can implement simple changes that would help reduce that problem significantly.


Rocky Start

Today was a very discouraging day in some respects, and encouraging in others.. As one of the two "new" guys here on center the desire is to improve support and instill trust in the members here that the network will be reliable and online so that they can do their work and communicate with each other.

My first week here we were told there would be a power outage due to construction and that we should take advantage of that time to doe some maintenance.

We did a solid 9 hours of work, and the servers were looking better, although we were nervous that we didn't have more than 2 work days to plan for the large project (which normally took a month's time back in the corporate world). Both of us new guys, being detail oriented felt that there were a LOT of unknowns going into this project and we would try our best to get the work done.

After 9 hours, we were satisfied that it wasn't our best work, but it was the best we could do given the circumstances of our situation, namely, that we couldn't run to a store and pick up parts that we needed, nor did we have an extraordinary time to plan.

It was time to turn on the servers.

THIS is when things went bad. We knew, if things would fail, it would be now.

The disk array would not power on. This disk array held all of the exchange information (newsgroups, email, etc) and all of the corporate data.

To set the scene, CTS does not support workstation backups, everyone is encouraged to put their data onto the network device. So when it is down, they can't work. But it gets backed up twice nightly. Plus, the entire center's communication takes place via email and newsgroups. Hardly any events can happen without an announcement on the boards.

The short version of the story is that we couldn't fix the problem and there was no one around to help us, and so now, the network is down.

One thing I had not anticipated was the utter feeling of letting everyone down. At best all of my neighbors and everyone I serve, are inconvenienced but understanding, at worst, they are all angry and confused because there is no way to notify everyone since we don't have the knowledge on how to post on the web site the announcement.

So, everyone knows it's down, by now they know it's our doing, and they don't know when it'll come back online.

I have had outages before, some costing the customer millions of dollars, but I have never felt so closely attached to an outage as I do now. My first impression could not have been worse if I personally took a hammer to each person's modem. And yet, it isn't the dent in my reputation that stings so much as the fact that I have let down all my neighbors when I was trying to lift them up.

God is on the throne. He is in command. I will learn my lessons from this set back, and proceed forth with more humility than I had before.

Well, it is now Sunday night. The systems are up and running after a good effort this weekend and the fact that our manager returned and was very helpful. What I was not expecting was that the community here would not only be understanding but would be sympathetic that we had to work the whole weekend.

I have been told that people here to not easily get upset at things like this. I was very encouraged to know that outside my door weren't hundreds of neighbors wanting my head on a pike, but instead they were gracious. I have a lot learn about living in a community like this, but it definitely is not what I was expecting. Perhaps I'm gunshy. I am used to a manager coming down hard, asking a ton of questions, and customers being irate. Here, people seemed gracious, sympathetic, and apologetic that we had to work the weekend, and our manager prayed we would have peace and told us not to worry about the situation.


Crashes happen, it's part of the job, it's how you handle yourself during them, and how you recover from them that define your capabilities in this job.
WE had no way to recover.... we had no information on how the backups worked, and we didn't have the passwords to the servers we needed.

Saturday we worked a 13 hour day, and gave up. Sunday a manager returned from out of town and helped us and we worked 4 hours on a sunday.
During the entire weekend the network was down.

Here is the amazing part.
-the first reaction of everyone was to pray. We prayed when the server crashed, we prayed each time we went to fix something. I've never worked in that environment before.

-I was expecting that everyone would be mad, but instead people came by with cookies, and after the ordeal was over, people were emailing us thanking us for working the weekend, apologetic that we had to work sunday and saturday, and thanking us for the hard work....

I am honestly stunned.
We are receiving praise for having worked through the problem, which could easily have been avoided. I'm not sure that everyone realizes it could have been avoided.

But I am simply amazed at the way people are reacting to this. There is a lot of grace here. Honestly it is not like working in any place I have ever worked before. I have yet to be chewed out, repromanded, or asked to determine root cause. I haven't been called into meetings on how this can be avoided in the future, and I don't have a swarm of managers hounding me.

In fact what I do have is people asking me what my favorite "treat" is to thank me, and my manager telling them it's "chocolate" (he doesn't know me well enough to know I am not the largest chocolate fan but still the sentiment is appreciated).

It makes me feel very loved, sort of how I feel when I consider that Christ loved us knowing full well our sin. The people here have welcomed us, not shamed us or belittled us.

THAT is perhaps the biggest culture shock I've felt yet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fairly certain people are perturbed. You can't please everyone all the time, but I'm very delighted to see that the majority of responses have been more positive than negative, which, to a man used to the negativity, it is a delightful change of pace.



Tomorrow I (chad) will be working most of the Saturday on server issues. They are doing construction here on a new music building and need the power shut off. We are using that opportunity to bring down a rack of servers and do maintenance on them.

One of the pieces of maintenance is to blow the dust out of the machine. Dust is a large problem here for the longevity of electronic equipment. It seems odd to me because it rains here so much, but there is dust everywhere and it builds up quickly.

That is only one of the many things we'll be doing tomorrow. When I say "we" I mean me and the other "new guy" who started about 2 months ago. The experienced guys are off center this weekend, so it'll be a real trial by fire.

But, we're not freshman, we know what we're doing. It seemed a little funny to me that they turned over the keys so quickly to the new guy, but then again in a few weeks the two of us will be alone for quite a while as the experienced people head home for break.

So if you think about it, pray that things go well, as new guys, we strongly desire to serve people and do our best here so that everyone gains a level of trust in us. They have had the same support personnel for so long that we'll have our work cut out for us in building relationships.

God is great this is such a fun and adventurous job. I'll blog more on that later!


Tomorrow I (chad) will be working most of the Saturday on server issues. They are doing construction here on a new music building and need the power shut off. We are using that opportunity to bring down a rack of servers and do maintenance on them.

One of the pieces of maintenance is to blow the dust out of the machine. Dust is a large problem here for the longevity of electronic equipment. It seems odd to me because it rains here so much, but there is dust everywhere and it builds up quickly.

That is only one of the many things we'll be doing tomorrow. When I say "we" I mean me and the other "new guy" who started about 2 months ago. The experienced guys are off center this weekend, so it'll be a real trial by fire.

But, we're not freshman, we know what we're doing. It seemed a little funny to me that they turned over the keys so quickly to the new guy, but then again in a few weeks the two of us will be alone for quite a while as the experienced people head home for break.

So if you think about it, pray that things go well, as new guys, we strongly desire to serve people and do our best here so that everyone gains a level of trust in us. They have had the same support personnel for so long that we'll have our work cut out for us in building relationships.

God is great this is such a fun and adventurous job. I'll blog more on that later!



My apologies to the animal lovers out there, or to the squeamish. Don't read this posting.

One of the things we were warned about was creepy crawlies. For the most part you can keep them at bay here in the main center. Using roach bait, rat poison and traps, and ant spray you can keep much of the critters from showing themselves very often.

We do have a gecko that lives in our walls, that makes little chirping noises often. But he eats bugs so we like him.

And from time to time, we hear the pitter patter of rats in the attic. I'm told they come and go and it isn't a huge thing, but to keep it under control with traps.

So I set a trap up there a week ago.

I'm a very light sleeper. The entrance to the attic is in our bedroom.

So last night around midnight I was awakened by a SNAP..THUD..SCREAM... FLOP... and silence.

I had caught a RAT!

This morning I went to check the trap, ready to discard my prey, when I found he had escaped. There was a puddle of blood around the trap, no bigger than a silver dollar, and a blood streak off towards a whole in the attic screen.

In my head I imagined an injured rat, crawling to freedom, and years later, as a limping old rat with a cane, telling his great grandchildren about the time he escaped the TRAP!



We have celebrated Easter!
here are some pictures.

We celebrated by attending a Good Friday service and on Sunday morning, a Pidgin service. We took communion there. Then we had an easter egg hunt, and lunch with friends!

Oddly enough, it didn't feel odd not wearing a tie on easter. (-;

Christ is Risen!

We spent a lot of time talking to the kids about the Easter story, and it is such an encouraging thing when your kids respond to you understanding more than you had anticipated. In fact they knew the story so well, we added another level of detail, including the names of the high priest, of the roman authority, etc, to make the story still seem new.

There is something incredible about talking to your children when you realize they truly understand something. And to understand the things of the Lord is above all.

They know that Christ is RISEN!




We had communion this morning and attended a service that was a very good study laying a foundation explaining why Christ had to bear what he bore.

Afterwards we all went home, and from the beautiful veranda in back I began to tell the kids the story of Christ on good friday. They had heard it before but I tell it different each time.

Today I took the perspective of wood. They sat on wooden chairs, and wood comes from trees, and the cross was made of wood.

As we spoke, I saw a few men with axes approach the grove of bamboo trees beyond the fence in our back yard. They were many meters away, but I knew they intended to cut down a tree.

The owner of the house specifically mentioned to refuse to allow people to do this. So I watched and they left.

After the story was over, and after we ate lunch, they returned.. with the axe.

It is at these moments that I truly desire to understand Tok Pisin better. It's my own fault, I bucked convention and came here prior to attending POC which is where most folks learn the language well.

Today I had to fend off a strawberry salesman, with very limited pidgin, and also I had to talk some men out of chopping down the bamboo trees that are jsut beyond our back yard.

My pidgin is so bad, but I got the idea across.... DON'T CUT THOSE DOWN!
After much debating, they said something I didn't understand, but hand motions indicated he wanted to chop down one, I kept saying no... no...
and he left after tearing down a single branch...
now that I look at it, it very well might have been he was after sugar cane. I can't tell.

That's twice today I had to tell a national he couldn't do something. And to be honest I'm not exactly sure what they're trying to do. It is a challenge to figure out the right thing to do, but I'm confident that we'll learn the language and figure things out soon.

Good Friday

Good friday is a national holiday here. Today I went into town to get my driver's license but they were closed because it was the day BEFORE a holiday and they left early. (-;

So we walked through a thrift shop and I again was looked at and laughed at. I'm feeling a lot less "white" and more like a GIANT than anything here. It's sort of fun, sort of comical. I am used to folks acknowledging my size I'm jsut not used to them giggling. I saw a few people do that "hey... come here, LOOK AT THIS GUY!" thing to their friends.

I bought my second newspaper to learn what is going on in the country, and finally we found a place that would sell a Pidgin Bible.

SO.. here it is, fresh from Kainantu (the nearest town)

Jon 3:16
"God i gat wanpela Pikinini tasol i stap. Tasol God i laikim tumas olgeta manmeri bilong graun, olsem na em i givin dispela wanpela Pikinini long ol. Em i mekim olsem bilong olgeta manmeri i bilip long em ol i no ken lus. Nogat. Bai ol i kisim laip i stap gut oltaim oltaim."

i sounds like "ee"
o sounds like "oh"
a sounds like "ah"
ai sounds like "I"

For more you can go to



My daughter and I had the afternoon at home together today and I was hoping for some good father daughter time. We went outside to climb a tree (I would watch, lift, and catch according to her plan) when I noticed about 7 school age Papua New Guinean children sitting very near our front yard.

I asked my daughter "would you like to see if they want to play? Why don't you go get the basketball."

Part of my desire for my kids to learn Tok Pisin is that they spend time with non-english speaking national children, and make friends.

Before long they were very quietly and haphazardly playing basketball. So I wandered over, got them in line, and each one got a turn. They were really good! Everyone got at least 5 baskets each, and before too long there were smiles and people were starting to get comfortable.

So I decided to step back and disappear (read - watch from indoors).

Soon my daughter felt comfortable enough to invite them to the sandbox, and the swing.

I knew it wouldn't take long before she was organizing them and they were all chattering and having fun.

She ran in a moment ago to get snacks for them (in the form of bananas).

As I look out now, I hear them all talking, and my daughter instructing them as they sit inside the sandbox together. I think she has assigned them all numbers and they are taking turns building things. I'm not sure. But they seem to be having fun, and my daughter seems to have shed her momentary shyness.