Ren i kam

It is hard to photograph rain.

Folks in No. California can appreciate this, the rain came today. 
Well it came a few days ago, but today was the first time it rained during the day, and finished filling up the water tanks of many who have not had water.
This year we went a record amount of time before seeing rain.  In fact, since returning from furlough we hadn't seen it, until a few days ago.

This place comes alive with Rain.  The dust settles, the grass starts getting green again, people breath a sigh of relief because it truly affects the food supply in the country.  Because of this year's record breaking drought, there are several who are having difficulties in this country.  Imagine hiking miles to find drinkable water, or having large portions of your food supply being eaten by bugs.

But the rain came.
Every week a few times a week I have been talking to my PNG friends and asking how they are doing, how is their food supply.  I want to share with you one story.

One friend, each week would say 'God is good to us, we are okay.'  And each week things were getting worse.
Last week she told me 'our children don't like the food we have to eat, because it is not their favorite, but I tell them, God is good to us, He gave us food, so we will not starve.  And he will send the rain because He is a God who hears the prayers of those who love him.'

Each week it got harder for her to say this.  As a family we would help when we can, but wisely, so as not to cause cultural problems.  We conserve water heavily.  My kids know what a 1 min. shower is and how to take one.  But our food supply was never at risk because we don't rely solely on gardens. Well, perhaps our fresh fruits and vegetable supply was.

Truly, this drought has brought many closer together as we reach out to show love, and care, and concern, and offer help.

Today, when the rain came, the people around me, at work, rejoiced.  Having rain means so much in a tropical country.  The ground is like a sponge, soaking it up.  The same way our spirits are soaking up the encouragement that it brings.


Now and then

The govt systems have made progress in then last 4/years. The top license I got in 2011. The bottom one, today.  They are making a go at cleaning up traffic regulations as well. 

Renewing Our Licenses

In 2007 we got our Driver's license in Kainantu, they last for 3 years.  Right after renewal, the Traffic Offices burned down.  They relocated some time after with new policies that involve multiple steps now.  Which today we went through.  Thankfully one of the ideas I helped engineer was a sort of local 'wikipedia' in which friends contributed hints towards going through the steps successfully.

Please don't see this as a complaint, in fact, the entire process went very smoothly for us today (comparatively)  AND we all came home with licenses in under 4 hours! Praise and thanks to God for answering prayer!

Step 1: Pray.
Step 2: Call ahead at 8am to see if all the offices are open.  I did that, and was told they were open, and they would have receipt paper, and card stock for printing licenses.
Step 3: Drive to town with a truck load of people, as many as can fit.
Step 4: Go to the Bank, stand in line in the hot sun while they are an hour and 15 minutes late to open.  (Heard a PNG man lecture the guards about opening on time, to which the guard replied "You're thinking like a white man! This is PNG! Time is different here."  But it was funny to see the two men arguing.)

We got there early, and though we had to wait for it to open, we did not have to wait in this line, we were at the front of it! Total bank time, 30 minutes (that's FAST!)

Step 5: Pay at the bank, get a receipt then go to the receipt office (5 minute drive).  We did, it was closed, they were installing new computers.  We were told it would be online soon.  Ironically, when it opened, they didn't use a single computer to process our payment, it was all done with a paper ledger book.

Step 6: Realize the Traffic Office is closed, though I was told it was open on the phone... try to call again, no answer, decide to wait for an hour while doing some in town shopping.  While shopping, find canned snails, and snap a photo.  Interesting little item collecting dust.  No thank you.

Step 7: Finally ring through on a cell phone number (Thank you Ukapedia!) and reach a lady who, after some debate, decided to agree to come open the office.

Step 8: Arrive back at the receipt office, computers are installed, and we hand our bank receipt for which, they return us with another receipt.

Step 9: The lady arrives at the traffic office, opens it up, and we hand her the receipts, as well as get our license printed out.  YAY!!!  Funny thing was, I was too tall for the camera setup, so I had to stand on my knees and they put the camera on some thick books.  Improvising, it all worked out.  (I was last in line so I didn't get a photo of this, but imagine me where Kendal is, standing on my knees)  The PNG woman in the pic below, came from Goroka, which is 2.5 hours away.  When she told me this morning the dept. was open, she meant it WOULD be open when she got there.  We arrived before her, and so once she showed and opened the offices, I made sure to express my thanks.  Getting this all done in close to 3 hours and in 1 trip, is a huge success, and we were thankful for her answering her cell phone.  We were thankful for cell phones, and we were thankful for community contributed information that gave us the number!  Today was a success in many ways, and I'm glad it worked out well in the end!

Step 10: Return home praising God that even though there were a few bumps, we came home with licenses!!!

Nice Smile!!!!


Waxing Poetic

so I've been learning 3d modelling with my son using the software "Blender" with the intention of printing it out on a 3d printer.

Only none of our designs have printed out properly.  

Two days ago my son committed himself to a homework assignment in which he seals a letter he wrote with his own custom signet in wax.

Yesterday he offers me a design to print out on the printer.  I was proud of him for doing that, except that as of yet, I have not been able to figure out how to print out my designs.  

The learning curve was steep and I saw no straight forward process to learn, so as usual, I learned using google, forums, and a whole lot of intuition.

Well, after a few hours of reading I discovered there is software out there to help you find the errors in your design.  It took a while to download, but once I did, I instantly saw the problems in Calvin's design, we fixed them together, and then, about 15 minutes later, he was holding it in his hands.

I had an old piece of wood lying around, I glued the signet to the wood to make a nice peg handle.

We then melted crayons to provide the wax, pressed the signet stamp to the wax and.... viola... blob.

We tried again after coating the stamp with a little oil, and waiting longer for it to cool... and bingo!

One personalized, totally unique, high tech but low tech, creative homework assignment completed.

And, we both learned a ton of things that will make future designs go well.

I think we turned a corner today, and my confidence in our ability to design and print our own stuff has soared!

Today is a holiday in this country.  And this is one of the things we chose to do for fun.


Fixing power

The CAM team hard at work to remedy the electric problems we've been having. Hoping to have an end to the outages and low voltage low in November!  



Power surges today killed the washing machine. I took apart the control panel and found the culprit on the logic board and am utilizing the services at CTS to repair. 


My wife

I dropped in in my wife at her new desk. 



The Weekend

Well, what did we do this weekend?
It was completely about the kids.

Friday - we set up a test for outdoor movie night, using an old beat up projector and a white sheet, we prepped for next week.  We also had the 2 kids of friends staying over for the week while their parents were in a remote location.

Saturday - being that water is tight, my son and his guest, and I setup a water pump with hoses to move water from one tank to another to give us more drinking water for the next few weeks.  Then we found some sticks and whittled them down for roasting over the bonfire.  We took our bonfire setup and moved it (the bottom half of an old 55 gallon drum with a wheel hub in it.  The benches I made years ago out of a tree that fell during the wet season on our property.  Kendal made home made marshmallows (none in the store at the moment) for smores!!! YES, HOME MADE MARSHMALLOWS!.  I printed up a few small trickets for prizes on the 3d printer, fixed a shower head.  We had over the high schoolers  for a 'hang out' night.  And also several adults.   Oh yes, I made a gigantic bubble wand and some home made bubble juice for big giant bubbles!  Trying to resolve ALL leaks in the house because water is short, I printed out a small plastic gasket/washer for the shower head and fixed that as well.  (turned out it didn't work, so I ended up using a store bought one, but hey, it was worth a try)

Sunday - we had friends over with little kids, so we blew bubbles.  I had to print some bubble wands out on the 3d printer for the little ones to play with.  Did a few magic tricks, etc.

Overall, this weekend has been really busy with fun stuff.  My 3d printer I brought was a small kit (the QU two up) that I had to build myself.  Today I had a few kids over who had been learning how to use Blender and showed them the printer.

I bought a few inexpensive tech gadgetty things on furlough and brought them back.  Why?  Because when I saw how the kids were using the arduinos, the 3d printers, the drones, the robotics at the maker faire on furlough... my first thought was 'the people at Ukarumpa have GOT to see this.'

Sometimes by living here, the kids grow up not knowing what they want to do.  There isn't much tv or movies, there isn't much outside contact, (there is some but not as much exposure as in the U.S.) .... and the kids aren't always sure what they want to do.

So show them robotics, show them 3d design, show them 3d printing, show them quadrotor drones.... and maybe some of them will get an inkling of what they want to learn in college!

And plus it is fun for me to learn and play with too!  Still, all in all, with all these gadgets, I have under $500 invested.  I wasn't going to spend a thousands so I got the 'missionary' version of these things.

For me, when I was a youngster, someone showed me something that affected the path of the rest of my life.  And I've been forever thankful to that person.  If I could do that for one other kid here, it would be something I'd enjoy.