Sunday, February 14, 2016

End of the old year

I have been lax in writing, so thought I would do some quick catch up on the end of 2015.

I spent the first half of December on vacation in Brisbane AUS.  I stayed in small apartment and enjoyed the city life.  I did shopping and did a lot of doctor/ dental appointments.  OK, I didn't really enjoy the medical / dental work, but was glad to get it done.  I was relieved that I got a bridge and no longer have a gap near the front of my mouth from where I had a tooth pulled around the time of my Dad's funeral.  Gaps are common in PNG, but I felt self-conscious about it.  I also got to the bottom of my vision problems.  My vision had been getting blurrier.  I had thought about waiting until I was in the US for treatment but it was bothering me too much.  I found out it was garden variety cataracts so scheduled surgery in Brisbane in February.

I spent the second half of December relaxing back home at Logaweng.  Most of the students go home, so it is very quiet on campus.  Christmas Eve we had a campus wide worship and party.  On Christmas Day a few of us went swimming and had a picnic on the beach.  Pleasant and SO different from the elaborate Christmases I grew up with. .Christmas tends to be low key in PNG. At first I missed all the decorations and bustle around Christmas, but have learned to appreciate the peace also.

I gave a sermon during the New Years Eve worship (in Tok Pisin so lots of work for me) and then we welcomed in the New Year by burning all the church decorations from Christmas.  Since the decorations are all fresh flowers and branches, they are dry by New Years.  Bon fires are a lot of fun!.  There was extra flames this year as our former principal, who will be moving,  burned his "haus win".  These are  detached from the houses and sort of like covered porches that many families use to relax and enjoy the breeze.  They have wood floors and walls about waist high.They often eat there and mainly go inside to go to bed.  Each family usually builds their own out of "bush materials" which includes local logs, branches and reeds.  After about 10 years they fall apart and you build a new one.  Traditionally a man did not get married until he knew how to build his own house.  Houses are provided for staff on campus but they are very small.  Most have extensive benches and haus win areas.. They also grow almost all their own food.  Quite a different set of skills than most American faculty have!

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