Thursday, December 6, 2012


Last Sunday was graduation here at the seminary.  It was quite the event!  I had not thought through how complicated a gathering like this is when you there are no motels or restaurants in the area.  Many details were planned out by committees.  For example, the feeding and housing of the honored guests.  These were church officials from the headquarters in Lae and a couple of District Presidents (the equivalent of bishops in the ELCA).  There is a guest house that a few could stay in, but the rest were put in a vacant faculty house.  This meant that people had to clean the house and buy mattresses for the beds.  Since there is no dining hall here, groups of faculty wives were assigned to provide each meal at the houses.  Projects like buying mattresses are complicated by the fact that no national teachers can afford to have cars.  So, the seminary bus made many trips up and down the hill.  Meanwhile family members of the graduates were arriving by ferry and speed boat, so many pickups had to be arranged.

One family, the Tamus, had a gathering for three seminarians from their same District. They had a "mumu" which is a pig roast over hot rocks.  They let me watch much of the preparations, including the butchering of the pigs, the digging of the pig, and the layering of the food and banana leaves.  About 50 people attended, the student housing must have been very crowded.  Most of the guests had never been to the campus before, so everyone was quite excited.  Many of the seminarians come from rural areas that are mainly subsistence farming. Therefore, it is quite an major undertaking for a congregation or circuit (a group of congregations) to pay the school fees.  The students will now go back to serve in the areas they come from.

The service itself was very nice. It was held on in a building that is mainly open air sides (the walls go up about 3 feet). It was a hot day so it was lovely to get the breezes.  The worship service and passing out of diplomas were similar to what I have seen in the U.S.  Afterward they invited honored guest to come up and make speeches.  I was hot and  the speeches were in Pigin (which I am not the good at yet).. I fell asleep but, thankfully, no one seemed to notice.

It is quiet on campus now.  I enjoyed the first few days, but am now getting bored.  I am going to ask around and find a Pigin tutor I can work with on a daily basis.  I am also hoping to spend a week in a village, however, the date has not been set.

Time to get house cleaning - having a friend over for lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Ann, I am enjoying reading about your experience so much! Thank you for opening the world to me!