Week Beginning 17.08.09
Arrived to a warm welcome again at Doliba School to be given a different teacher's house. The 3 of us soon realised that there were only two single beds so Ben had one and we had to share the other - which took us back to college days. We sorted ourselves out and Alison visited the outside loo which was absolutely revolting (without going into details) and unusable. Mike - our hero - and in the absence of Jim s*** (Barry) got buckets of water, a stick with a rag attached and a Swiss Army knife and within half an hour it was clean and flushing! What a man. Later we spread the butter with the Swiss Army knife (No we didn't Mike) (OK Ali - just gives a good image though)
We took in-service training from 3.00 p.m. - 5.00 p.m. and then 7.00 p.m. - 9 p.m. and then quickly got into bed before the generator went off. It was freezing. The trouble with the dry season is the nights are cold and clear. We could not get warm. We had socks, T shirts etc. and snuggled up but we were still frozen. A trip to the loo at 1.00 a.m. with Alison stepping into a squelchy marsh as she missed a strategically placed stepping stone so had to wear Mike's socks in bed. After a long night we were greeted with the 6.00 a.m. bell for the boarders and a cold and cloudy morning. Alison taught a demonstration Maths lesson then we carried out more in-service training and then came back on the school truck to the luxury of Kundiawa only to find no water and no electricity! The bread had gone mouldy in the fridge, the freezer section had completely defrosted.
As we left Doliba we had a few texts that the Prime Minister had died. There is no internet, radio or TV and so we weren't sure if the rumours were true. We texted Jake to find out but had no reception on the phone. We knew that if it were true there would be uproar and we would be unwise to travel but it was still only a rumour. On the radio later we heard that this national rumour of the death of the Grand Chief Michael Somare was untrue.
On Wednesday we worked at Kerowagi School and while in class heard some threatening chanting which was disturbing. We then went to briefing to hear that a tribal fight was brewing. The day before a 12 year old had been knocked down by an ambulance driver. The driver then was beaten up by the boy's tribe so the driver's tribe burnt down 2 houses belonging to the child's tribe and took three of their people as hostages, threatening to kill them. The child's tribe then took two hostages and threatened to kill them. The noise we heard was all gearing up for the violence when it transpired that the child and the ambulance driver were recovering so they let the hostages go and it all settled down. Volatile or what!
We hear more stories of crime and we are trying to be as careful as possible. We heard that Rascals lie in wait for PMVs and stop them, and take all the valuables off of the passengers. We often travel on PMV so Mike has taken his watch off and Alison has taken off her eternity and engagement rings. We travel with as little money as we can get away with and just one camera and one bank card. That way, if we get stopped, we won't lose anything too upsetting.
Alison is going to the women's group on Tuesday morning to show them how to make lemon curd. She made a jarful and it was delicious. Lemons are cheap, plentiful and tasty here. Alison even made a jar of chutney today with the bountiful supply of tomatoes. We brought a packet of Ritz crackers in Oz and with cheese from Goroka and home made chutney we thought we'd have a tasty treat. The crackers were unopened, inside a plastic bag and tied with an elastic band. Inside were two sealed silver foil packets. Somehow the bloody ants had got in and the crackers were crawling with them. The chickens had a nice treat.
This afternoon we sat on the veranda and cut each others hair. It has been 7 or 8 weeks since our last haircut and we were looking a bit unkempt. If only the water would come on we could wash our hair too!
The power is playing games at the moment. We heard two enormous cracks (three actually but we think the 3rd was a gunshot) on Tuesday night and since then the power has been weak. Rather strangely we have juice from the sockets so we can use the laptop and other appliances - though with disappointing results i.e. the toaster won't toast, the kettle won't boil, the TV is black & white with interference noise, the fridge is barely cool, the food in the freezer is soft and the fridge light is ever-so dim. However the lights won't work!! We think its because they are fluorescent tubes, so need a good surge to activate the starter - which won't happen so long as the supply is so feeble.
Anyway, love to all
Ali & Mike