While I was there, I left my two survey companions at a village called Bula and grabbed the only available transport, an Indonesian Chinese trader’s motorboat, for the village of Jarai right on the edge of our survey area. I had no way of communicating with the rest of my team and I thought I’d be back in 24 hours so that we could head back to our final village location and catch our flight out of there.
Heh heh… think again boy.
I spent the last two days of the survey writing a song about it. The recording’s a bit rubbish and I’m afraid it’s a wma file (so Windows only) but you’ll get the idea. Click to download the Jarai Song (wma file @ 5.3Mb) and/or the lyrics (Word doc @ 87Kb).
About time we put something here about where "here" currently is. We live in Ukarumpa, SIL International’s Pacific headquarters which is about a 20 min drive from Kainantu on the Highlands Highway in Eastern Highlands Province (yes, that’s what the EHP on our address stands for) in Papua New Guinea.
Now Ukarumpa isn’t your normal Highlands PNG settlement. Over 50 years ago when the Summer Institute of Linguistics was looking for a place to set up shop, the government leased this land to them for 99 years. Thus began an influx of ex-pat expertise and house-building skill that has continued unabated ever since. Almost all the houses here are wooden framed and set among what are usually lovely gardens. Ours is a bit overgrown as we’re the first long-term tenants the owners have had for ages. Slowly, we’re doing up the flowerbeds and enjoying every moment in the first garden we’ve ever had.
Why have we started off with a view of the back and not the front? Well, we don’t use the front door as it opens straight into the living room. In fact, there’s a bookcase across it so you wouldn’t get far if you tried. A few notes about this view:
If you were to walk right in the top pic, through the hedge and over the road onto the grass and look back, you’d see the view in pic 2. We live on the Upper Oval as it’s called. Sometimes we play volleyball here and it’s a very popular part of Ukarumpa for joggers, walkers and kids to play. If you walk to the top end of the Oval and turn right, you’ll come immediately to the Primary School where Sheena works about 3 mins walk from our house.
If you were to walk straight ahead towards the green house in pic 2, you’d come to this road junction. It’s one of the busiest corners in Ukarumpa. We must get a car every 15 minutes here… on a busy day. The front door is here and the road on the right leads to the centre of Ukarumpa. A few minutes’ walk down there will take you to the tennis courts, the post office, finance, the meeting house, the Secondary School and where John works in the survey office. So, we’re in a pretty good location right in the middle of our two workplaces. None of the roads in Ukarumpa are paved which means they can get pretty muddy when it rains. They’re quite rocky too although you can’t see it from this pic. You need proper flip-flops, not the Everything’s a £ shop kind.
This is the view John gets every time he walks back from work. You’re looking towards the shed in the distance with our patch of banana trees just to the right of it. A few notes about this view:
Once inside, here’s what half the house looks like. We’ve an open-plan dining/kitchen/living area and behind me as I took the pics is a dark hallway with three small bedrooms and an office off it. It’s not a big house compared to some but it’s the perfect size for us. We love the wooden floors. Not so keen about the office carpet and see-through ‘curtains’ though but we’re making it home as best we can. In fact, the patter of tiny feet may be heard in a matter of weeks – a friend of ours has a cat that has just had two gorgeous kittens!
So, who’s going to be the first to warm our guest bedroom?
Yes, it’s official, we’ve received the most items of post in one day by a couple named John & Sheena in the history of Papua New Guinea. Pretty impressive I’m sure you’ll agree.
The new world record is 12 (twelve).
Here’s the evidence:
We’d like to take a moment to thank each of those concerned publically.
In actual fact, almost all of this consisted of Christmas stuff and a few things for Sheena’s birthday. It all arrived late because a) the post office is shut here for two weeks over Christmas and New Year and b) because then aviation has to deal with a huge backlog of mail in Port Moresby and get it up to Ukarumpa.
Anyway, we were very blessed when we opened our little post box today and saw such a pile. Wonderful people, truly wonderful!