Monday, October 20, 2014

Rain, Rain go away

I am sitting on my couch, drinking some hot tea and listening to the rain pour down.  Since we have tin roofs, rain can be a noisy presence.  In someways this could be a scene in the United States.  However, as I look at the window (made of glass louvers), everything is a verdant green, quite a difference than the October colors in the United States.  Here leaves never change color and don't drop at one time.  This long, late rain is a concern to food supply of the students.  First of all they can't always get to their gardens to dig their crops.  Second there is more occurrence of mold type plant diseases.

I have the morning off, which is normally unusual for a Tuesday.  However, this term my classes are clumped on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  So that leaves open time on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I have spent quite a bit of time working on the small school bookstore I have taken over.  It needed some repainting and other work, so I have been keeping things in boxes, and selling out of them during the Thursday afternoon hours the last couple of weeks.  However, everything is now ready to go, so I am setting it up.  It is interesting to look at the stock we carry in an area where few other stores are around.  We carry the expected pens (biros) pencils, notebooks and school books.  However we also carry guitar strings as they all have guitar lessons as part of their music classes.  Since churches do not have pianos or organs, learning the keyboard and guitar can be very useful for leading worship.  We also carry supplies that are used by our congregation and the congregations in the area.  This includes altar wine, communion wafers, and Sunday School books.  I have added in a few English language reference books the students can buy, such as the Book of Concord and theological dictionaries.  It would be nice if these were available in Tok Pisin also, but they are not.  The church press has closed down, so the schools work to make sure the Tok Pisin texts, such as Sios Histori (church history) are reprinted.

My other new adventure this term is being on the OPAC-IC committee.  OPAC (Overseas Partner Churches) includes the churches that send missionaries and this committee looks at administrative issues such as housing and insurance.  I am currently the English speaking rep. (most of the missionaries are German speaking)  We met in September and then met with the bosses who were in PNG for their annual meeting.  It all ended up being more exciting than I had expected.  The big issue was that the road to Goroka, where we were to meet, was blockaded by protestors for several days.  So, there was a lot of discussion as to whether to move the meetings or not.  There was also more fighting in the meeting than I had expected.  In retrospect I should have known that many people together would have disagreements.  However, I had previously remained blissfully ignorant of missionary politics.  Thankfully things seem to have worked out in the end.  We have another meeting on Monday and Tuesday next week.

A fun event this month has been an "Amamas" night.  This is a night we get together to eat a big meal together, have singing and other entertainments.  It is usually done at the end of the year.  But, this year we moved it up so we could say goodby to some colleagues also.  They leave this weekend to return to Germany.  They have been in Papua New Guinea for 14 years.  Christa has been a doctor at Butaweng, the local hospital.  Wolfgang has been a mainstay on the faculty here at Senior Flierl.  During my second semester here he was Academic Dean, Treasurer, Bookstore manager and taught 18 credits.  Needless to say he is hard to replace..

Time to wrap this entry up and go attend the daily staff meeting.  Have a wonderful autumn (those in the northern hemisphere)_ or a wonderful spring (those in the southern hemisphere).  Here we are just hoping the dry season returns.

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