Last time we wrote, we said how the work had slowed down for us. Now we're back on the carousel which will make our last few weeks pass by very quickly.
We've had two school visits - both of which we stayed at for a few days to carry out staff training and both of which involve incessant bone-shaking journeys lasting about 3½ hours each way. Alison says its like having a baby - by the time the next visit comes, we've forgotten just how bad the journey is, foolishly agreeing to go again. Bruised and battered we still manage to launch into the training with a certain aplomb.
Our visit last week was to Mount Wilhelm School. You can see a photo of the truck on the blog - at least of the door on Alison's side, which couldn't be opened from the inside and could only be shut to from the outside, if you happened to have the knack. Whilst bumping along, the driver's door swung open several times - for the catch hung by a thread. On the final opening, the top part of the door just fell off, hanging by the rubber seal. Not stopping, the driver grabbed the dragging frame whilst negotiating boulders and deep ruts, pulled at the rubber seal to disconnect it and passed the frame to Mike - being the nearest on the back of the truck!
Being our last visit to the school, the staff put on a cooked lunch - which was very tasty and presented us with a box of vegetables each, two large cabbages each, bunches of everlasting flowers and a bilum each + a hat for Alison.
The students tend the school's vegetable gardens and their English potatoes were delicious.
The downside of staying at Mount Wilhelm is the temperature during the night. Getting up in the morning results in instant goose bumps from head to toe. This is not helped by a less than tepid shower and a cold breakfast (two men in the kitchen manage to cook up and cool down egg, beans,fried spam and toast in just under one hour)
So that was our last school visit and makes our work here seem almost at an end. Almost....
Next week we are running a three day phonics course, then on Thursday we help to run the new graduates conference. The following week we run a two day phonics course and attend a grade 10 graduation. Our penultimate week is spent reviewing the year's work and planning for the coming year. So time is running out (Thank goodness says Alison).
Our weekly 'You couldn't make it up' slot:
Now a twin-tub (remember those?) is not an easy thing to shift, but Jake came to do his washing and realised his had been stolen! It's kept in an out house below the house, where the landlord's family live, so thankfully it wasn't actually inside Jake's house. The house is situated in a steep dip which is difficult to negotiate even when carrying nothing. How someone (it must have been at least 2) managed to get it over the precariously placed slippery log over the ditch, up the steep incline and through an awkward gate, beggars belief. Apart from which it is an old machine with the lid missing. Anyway, in true PNG style, a culprit was soon identified (perhaps he was looking cleaner and smarter than usual), caught by a friend of the family and duly taken to the police station.
You may remember we mentioned about tribal fighting near a school we visit (and which we haven't been able to visit since for fear of trouble) - an on-going dispute from the 1970's exacerbated by a recent accident with an ambulance triggering immediate retribution - shootings and house burnings. Following yet another fatal shooting, police reinforcements were sent in to round up the leaders of both tribes - around 45 men. Taken to the police station here in Kundiawa, they filled the cells to brimming. The upshot being that there was no room to apprehend the Twin-Tub Thief (TTT).
The police suggested that TTT should go off to find his receiver-of-stolen-goods, retrieve the machine and return it to its rightful owner. If after 3 days he couldn't come up with the goods, he was to return, by which time they might have a space for him in the cells! If he did return the machine, then that would likely be the end of the matter. The three days have passed and guess what - he's disappeared.
Anyway, love to all
Alison & Mike