A New Home

Trip Start Feb 06, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Papua New Guinea  ,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

Since typing the last letter we have moved to Bogia.  It was a 4 hour
journey along the north coast on a fairly good road.  Daniel, drives
faster than we would but he does know the road quite well.
Our new home is a teachers' house in the grounds of Holy Spirit
School, Bogia.  When we arrived we unpacked and were then driven
around the village to meet some of the locals:  the policeman,
education inspector, priest, headmaster of the primary school, and the
co-ordinator of the health centre, all very important in this
community.

Daniel left us with John, the headmaster and we were introduced to his
wife Mildred and their 3 daughters,   Leonie, Margarita and Faucina.
They are real characters and love to sing so when Bob is playing
Beatles they compete by singing hymns loudly, from their verandah.
 After unpacking it was obvious we had a few jobs to do.  Bob put
safety chains on the doors as the back door lock is on the outside
which means someone with a screw driver can take it off.
The calor gas cooker had not been connected properly so that needed
urgent attention.  The green flash from the back when I first lit up
was rather alarming.

Then the lights failed.  Luckily we had candles and wind up torches
that friends had kindly supplied, a very important part of the kit.
Thank you all!  Jan the Polish DIY man came and sorted out the wiring.
 Water had got into the security lighting which caused it to fuse.  He
checked the cooker and we were all set to relax!  The neighbours dogs
have taken up residence on the verandah so we are well looked after at
night.

We are becoming accustomed to the new sounds around us.  Cocks
crowing, dogs barking, frogs croaking, cicadas chattering, lorries
trundling/roaring and many other knon and unknown noises.  When you
think you will sleep at last the church bell tolls, 9 10, 11, 12, 13,
times.  It is five thirty and time to rise, if you miss that it is
repeated 10 minutes later and failing that the school siren goes off
at 6.00am!

Electricity is switched on from 7.00am - 12.30pm then comes on again
at 6.00pm until 9.00pm when we are all tucked up in bed,  no long
nights working here!  We are gradually getting our heads around the
new regime.  Teachers just say 'well we couldn't do it, there was no
electricity.' Valid point!

Washing and boiling water has to be done before work if possible or
last thing at night.  By the time the evening arrives it is just
enough time to prepare a meal and get ready for bed.  Time seems to
fly.

People have been very kind and we have received many gifts of food
(tomatoes, beans, Chinese cabbage, pineapple, paupau) to supplement
the 'staple' diet of tin fish and rice!  We have both shed a few
pounds.  Doctor Pinnock will be pleased.  Can't see this lasting, as
we do seem to be eating, rather large quantities, of carbohydrate.
The local store sells flour and yeast and I have discovered coconut
milk.  It makes a delicious stock for stew.I have made bread, scones, risotto, ratatouille, stews and soup!  We
came armed with a basic kit of food and goods many of which we can buy
in the village so our trip to Madang will mean we can buy a few treats
to make the weekly cuisine more interesting.

We hope to be in Madang about once a month but hope volunteers will be
this way with goodies in the mean time.  We have three bedrooms,
although rather sparsely furnished at the moment. There is definitely
room for visitors.  We have shower and toilet indoors and although not
up to western standards it is better than camping.

 We are very close to the sea and have found that people love to stop
and talk.  It is all very friendly.  There is always something new to
experience.  Baby's in bilums, students who leave their village at 5
am to walk to school, women who walk for days to bring their goods to
market, convectional storms that rock the ground.............we are
finding new things every day, PNG the land of the unexpected!
We have started work but we are still at the early stages and now
have, one weeks holiday!!!!

Communication is almost non existent.  We will write aerogrammes but
can only post them in Madang so we will send them with some kind
person or post them ourselves once a month.  There is no land line
that works here in Bogia, and internet, forget it.  The visits to
Madang will be fraught trying to catch up.  We bought digicel phones
because we were told they picked up a signal here but found this is
very unreliable.  It sometimes works under the tree about 100 yards
along the road.  One day we walked a mile into the village and picked
up a signal, the next day, nothing!  We will do our best to keep in
touch.
Keep sending mail by which ever means you prefer, miss you all.
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