2nd - 15th November
A Very Happy Birthday Paul and Bob
So we waited and waited and waited.... The school truck was to pick us up at 8.30 a.m. By 9.30 we realised that there may be a problem - though in PNG
1 hour late is nothing unusual. Eventually, having tried numerous times to contact the school we received a phone call from the head of dept who had requested us to run a 3 day phonics course. The senior management team told her on Sunday evening that they would no longer keep to the agreement and that the dept would not be able to go (no reasons given). She had no reception on her phone so had to travel to the training venue that morning to contact us. So no 3 day course - which got our goat.
Alison had done all her homework and preparation, Mike preparing for the afternoon sessions - and since neither of us had taught phonics before, we planned thoroughly. Folders were produced - not an easy task here.
The saving grace is that we had already arranged to run the course again the following week for other schools - as it seems to be quite a popular need/request. So all is not wasted. We were looking forward to running the course though, partly because it would have been satisfying but mainly because we prefer to be busy than not. With a few weeks to go and being in countdown mode, we don't want time to drag.
Queenie, the daughter of Janet - a friend of Alison's, enjoyed playing at the sink in the washing-up water even though she is nine years old. To have soapy water was novel enough. To have hot, soapy water was an experience not encountered before. It reminded Alison of when our boys were 2-3 years old with their plastic aprons and containers pouring water from one to the other and the inevitable puddle on the floor.
The thunderbolt and lightning were instant and came unexpectedly. The curtains bellowed out at 90 degrees and the rain was blown in through the open louvres and through insect mesh. Before we could get to close all the louvres, the quilt on our bed was soaked, the floors were swimming and all our papers which were ready for the next day's conference were saturated. 'Twas a real cracker!
Weekly 'You couldn't make it up' slot 1
Sorcery on the rise.
Police commander said that he commended his policemen for successfully bringing to the courts a number of sorcerers to be prosecuted.
This week alone police apprehended three sorcerers after villagers reported continuous suspicious deaths in the area. In another area villages were peaceful after several suspected sorcerers were ambushed and executed by villagers.
Weekly 'You couldn't make it up' slot 2
Below in italics is the actual wording taken from an advert in the national paper (non-italics are our asides)
The Funeral Home
To all our valued clients
especially those not long for this world
This is to inform the general public that from November 16th to 20th all late loved ones brought to the funeral home for full funeral preparations will be given a 30% discount. If fortuitous enough 2 for the price of 1!
Bring out ya dead, bring out ya dead!
The kittens are coming on a treat. They are 4 weeks old now and very playful. We wished we could bring them home with us. The locals take very little notice of them - no cooing and petting - and one of the Saturday girls even gave a hefty push to one of the kittens to get it out the way.
Alison and Ben went to a grade 10 graduation on Friday. The school truck was organised to pick us up at 8.15a.m. for a 10.00a.m. start to the graduation - with an hour's drive to the school. They eventually arrived at
9.45 a.m. and then said they had to pick up the cake. At the bakery the cake was still being decorated so we had a ½ hour wait. Cake eventually ready then the driver mentioned he needed fuel - why didn't we fill up with fuel while the cake was being decorated?! We got to the school about 12 and the formal proceedings started about 1.00p.m. (only three hours late). We followed the programme to the minute + three hours. We were really pleased to see that some girls won some prizes in this school. Then there was the feast with pork - huge slabs - half chicken pieces - etc. and then came the cutting of the cake. As they took the lid off the box most of the decoration and icing was stuck to the lid. It had travelled on a really bad road for 30 minutes and been bounced around so I suppose it wasn't surprising but disappointing none the less.
We have been busy sorting out the house. We have decided to leave most of our clothes here as they have been worn to death. We put them out on the bed and invited the Saturday club to take things. They were in heaven and grabbed stuff as quickly as they could. We also had 3 pairs of flip flops/ thongs and we asked who wanted them and they showed us their broken ones or explained they were wearing their mum's etc. The three pairs were quickly dispatched. One of the girls came back later to say she hadn't got any thongs and we felt a bit bad because we hadn't got any more left.
We are arranging a leaving party next Saturday for the girls, our neighbours and our friends. The girls are going to help prepare the food in the morning.
The second - but actually the first phonics course - went really well.
20 teachers attended and participated fully. They are very aware that their pronunciation can be incorrect. Mike did a session on homophones and they felt that 'heel, heal, hill, eel, ill' all sounded the same when said aloud. They have particular difficulty with v/w and Alison saw a whole lesson on werbs where the students and teachers identified all the werbs in a passage. It was a bit Monty Pythonish. There is no letter f in tok pisin so they use the p so pinis is finish etc.
We were awoken by a strong earth tremor last Monday night. It shook the house so much that we were wondering whether to crawl under the desk. In another volunteers' house things came off the shelves. Even the locals commented on it so it must have been bad.
Anyway, love to all
Alison & Mike