Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I thought I would tell you a little more about my friend who taught me how to make this meal of greens and saksak.
She was one of the first people I met when we came to the village and my missionary friend told me that she was just a young teenager when they first moved in. Now she is a grown woman with a family of her own. She is a strong believer who is raising her 3 kids in light of her relationship with Christ. She loves them, teaches them his Word, and is physically affectionate with them (sadly most children here suffer from abuse and neglect.) She is also, a great example to the other ladies in the village. I sat in a ladies Bible Study meeting and listened as she spoke the truth of God's word into the life of other women. And I was very impressed.
I just think about how different her life would have been had these four missionaries had not come to this village. I think about how different the lives of her kids would have been as well.
You see missionaries get bashed a lot for "changing the culture" of tribal people. But the truth is, the missionaries really try not to change anything themselves. They let God's word and the work of the Holy Spirit do the changing. And I bet these children are glad they did.
Now, they are not being raised in fear. You see before the people came to know the truth of God's word, they lived in fear of the spirits and the world around them. Most media sources like to portray tribal groups as living in harmony with their environment, but the reality is they are controlled by and live in fear of evil spirits in it. This fear controls what they eat, where they sleep, where they walk, the way they talk, and how they raise their families. For example, They won't eat certain foods (even if it means their children starve) for fear it will anger a spirit and then bring sickness and even death onto the family.
But that is no longer the case for this family. They have been set free by the Truth. They are free to live their lives with joy and hope, and most of all love.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Here is the process of me learning how to make "hat wara". Basically it is just boiling some leafy greens and sago. Here we go:
Tools needed- a couple of bowls, half a coconut shell for scooping and a "hap diwai" (a piece of wood) for stirring...
You start by making a fire in your "stove". She has two stoves. This is the smaller of the two...
This is the larger one...
Put your pot on the stove...
Put your greens in (and press and stir and press and stir for like an hour)...
Teach your friend how to use your digital camera (after all she is teaching you something- this is an exchange of knowledge and cultures)...
She is a fast learner, much faster than myself...
And now you serve this "soup" to your family and friends and the white lady who you tried to teach, but she dumped half the pot into the fire. Needless to say we were feeding fewer family and friends than previously expected.(it wasn't bad- I have definitely eaten much grosser things than this)...
There. Now you know I did at least try to learn some stuff in bush orientation. And now you have pictures to prove it.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
I also wanted to update on what our needs are. Because of the overwhelming response on packages, we are set for the next 20 years here on certain things (and are very happy about that) Here is a list of the things that we no longer need:
1. Deodorant. We will never be stinky again.
2. Note Cards. I have received lots and lots of these and it is so nice to be able to write encouraging notes to all my co-workers here in PNG.
3. Coloring books, crayons and markers. My kids LOVE these, and will be able to color for the rest of their lives.
4. Spices. I would love to still get these again later, but I have so many now that I am afraid they are going to go bad before I can use them all. My freezer is very very tiny.
With that said, here are some things we are still in need (ok, maybe want to) of:
1. Baby Wipes. They cost $10 USD for a regular package of wipes. Not kidding or exaggerating.
2. We LOVE getting Instant Pudding in a variety of flavors, keep it coming!! (3-N-1 would like for everyone to know that "cheesecake pudding" has been his favorite so far)
3. FIESTA Ranch dressing packets. We got one packet of this and it was life changing.
4. Other salad dressing packets...especially Italian.
5. AA and AAA batteries.
5. Scented candles. Things stink around here.
6. Any kind of junk food from the US. Everything here is weird and tastes a little different. I would love to taste what "real" Cheetos taste like again. Also, I would like to say a big thanks to everyone who has sent chocolate!! It has all made it here fine and was eaten very rapidly.
7. Kid DVDs. We could never have enough of these.
8. Cereal, any kind. Some awesome friends sent us some Fruit Loops, and there was much rejoicing and eating.
8. Kool-Aid and Crystal light mixes. Any kind.
9. Magazines. "Real Simple" is my favorite along with "Southern Living". But you could also send "People" and "US weekly"...not for me...for a friend of course.
10. Notes from YOU! We love it when there is a note in the box. :)
Feel free to get creative as well. Some sweet ladies sent us a box of birthday party stuff for the girls and it was so great! I didn't have anything like that and now I will have all I need to decorate for fun birthday parties!
Just let me say "thanks again" because it really means so much to know that you went to the trouble of shopping for these things, packing them up, and paying the $13,000,000 that the USPS charges to send things to PNG. We have loved every single item we have received!!!
Friday, November 25, 2011
I just felt the need to confess to you that the previous post about me being very cool with being 30 has all gone straight down the toilet. Yesterday I found spider veins all over my thighs, and I am now freaking out. Is this what 30 means????
I guess they have been there for a while, but we only have florescent lights so it is really hard to see all the flaws you have. (it makes plucking you eyebrows very hard)
Anyway, so now I am feeling old and gross, and like there is no turning back. I am thinking of "leaning into it" and getting some mom jeans and really outdated haircut...but I guess mom jeans would be too hot...and no one would see the haircut because my hair is always in a ponytail.
I guess the Lord knew what He was doing by sending me to this hot place where I have to wear long baggy shorts, and ponytails all the time. And for that, I am very very thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And a very merry Black Friday to you all.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Anyway, it was great. I am not bummed at all about being 30. My 20s could be summed up with college, marriage, and babies, and I am hoping that 30 will be summed up with marriage, raising those babies, and planting a church in the Jungles of Papua New Guinea.
It has the potential to be a great decade...even though it will be very hot.
Happy Birthday to me,
Saturday, November 12, 2011
This is my friend B. We did a lot of stuff together- here she was teaching me how to fish (I didn't tell her that I was a Southern girl who has been fishing since she could walk). She taught me a lot and made me laugh a lot. She is very funny and now one of my favorite people here in PNG...
Here I am taking a Pidgin test. Looks a lot different than 7 years ago sitting in a college classroom writing essays in a blue book...
This is my friend T. She taught me how to make this sleeping mat. I then bought it just to show people that I made it (ok, so I only did like 3 inches of it, but I did it, ok)...
This is a picture of us with some sweet friends who volunteered to dress up for my friend Lauren's birthday. She came to visit our tribe while they were in bush orientation in another tribe...
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. Why put your smokes behind your ear when you can put them in your ear...
These last two are a preview to my new website concept. Think along the lines of "people of wal-mart" or "awkward family photos". This one will be called "babies with knives" and anyone who has been to a majority world country (that is the new PC term for third world, just so you know) can submit their pictures of babies with knives. Every. Single. Country. I have been to outside of the Western world, I have seen a baby with a knife. I am sure all my other traveling friends out there will agree. From now on friends, take pictures. Take lots and lots of pictures..
The bad news is that someone is here to fix our internet, but they really have no idea what the problem is- just that it hates everyone on this mission base. I am not sure why, though. We have never done anything to offend it. We love it. We love it probably more than most people love their internt since it is our only connection to life outside of this island. And the only way to see the faces of our dear loved ones back in the US, Canada, Australia, etc.
Dear dear interweb,
Oh please don't go! We'll eat you up we love you so!!!
Anyway, just letting you know, that I am still here. Still alive and still in the process of becoming a Tribal Wife. My dear husband, the man formerly known as JMG is soon having his last Pidgin test (hopefully) and I hope to be finished by Christmas. By the way, JMG is "former" because our tribal friend gave him a new name..."3-N-1" and yes they are making fun of the fact that he has 3 first names. I guess some things do cross cultural barriers. They have an instant coffee mix here with coffee, cream, and sugar in it called "3-N-1", so that is where they got it. It was lots of fun to hear them refer to him as "3-N-1" in church and a formal ceremony for Independence Day. The also constantly referred to us all as "3-N-1 family". We pretty much loved it.
That is it for now. I am still holding out hope that the web will be fixed one day and I can post pictures and great stories about our time in the bush. That is if I can remember them by then. I am turning 30 next week, so that is questionable.
Goodbye to the 4 people who are still reading this blog!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
This is a picture of me learning how to make "hat wara" or basically just soup. All that is in here is A LOT of greens called "tu lip" and a little bit of sago to thicken it up. But it takes a very long time to cook over a fire. It took several tries to get this picture as I had to educate my friend who was teaching me how to cook, how to take a picture. She took several pictures of my forehead and some without my head completely, but finally got this nice shot. Don't worry, I was a very patient teacher.
She was a very patient teacher as well considering I dumped about half of the contents of the pot into the fire while trying to stir it. It almost put the fire out and she had to work very hard to get it going strong again.
I had many experiences like this one while hanging out with these people. They may not know how to use my digital camera, but they have many skills that I do not posses. If they were to get lost in the middle of the jungle…well they wouldn't be lost because they know their way around the place like I know my way around Target. What I mean is, they have no use for Bear Grylls (is that how you spell his name? I can't google it to find out). They have hard core survival skills.
There were many times this made me feel very incompetent and inferior. Sure, I know where babies come from and how the internet works (sort of) but without all the modern conveniences that I am so used to, I would definitely die in no time.
I think this is the way it should be though. It keeps me humble and protects me from having a paternalistic attitude toward them (treating them like they are totally dependant on me). In fact, I do not want them to be dependent on me at all. I want them to need the Gospel and the Bible translated into their language and that is all. I want them to feel like they are taking care of me and my family while we are in their world giving them the one thing that they truly need. They don't need my wealth and all my junk. They don't even really need my access to health care even though I really want to help in that area. The truth is, I can give them all the materialistic crap I have and the best medicine that money can buy…but they will still die one day.
In reality I am very, very rich. I have the most valuable thing in the world, and I am responsible to share it. It is going to take a lot of hard work. Living in harsh conditions, learning a whole new language, translating the Bible. But the Lord says that to whom much is given much is required, and I got to experience the joy of a group of people who reaped the benefit of some other rich people who took that command very seriously. And it was the coolest thing I have ever experienced in my life.