(Below are my thoughts about the time we spent with the tribal believers in Simbari earlier this month. I wrote down way too much to post it all at once, so there will be a few more blogs about our time in the bush to follow. We went in with missionaries who have been there for over twenty years; they are currently working on getting the Bible translated into the Simbari language. Meanwhile, the believers are beginning outreaches to neighboring villages who share the same language. Overall, it was a great introduction to life in a remote tribe.)
We made it to the end of the earth – or at least one of the ends. This morning we all crammed into a Cessna 206 at about 9am in Goroka and we arrived at Narombi airstrip (pictured above) in the Simbari tribe about a half an hour later. The kids did great…up until the last ten minutes or so. I’m not sure what happened but Luke and Kimi both started screaming at the end. It was kinda nice that the engine was so loud – I couldn’t hear a thing.
It’s hotter here than I expected. We are so high in the mountains; I expected it to be colder. But when there are no clouds to obstruct the sun, it’s HOT. And you can burn after being in the sun for less than 5 minutes. Not good for the little ones and I think I forgot our sunscreen. Whoops.
The house we are in is made of pitpit, which is like a skinny bamboo-type reed that the people flatten out and then weave together. Pitpit walls means lots of bugs and lots of weather. Today it’s been raining all day and water has even been getting in in some places. We do have a copper roof, so the leaks aren’t too bad, but it also makes the sound of the rain nearly deafening.
I’m figuring out the kitchen, the stove and oven are interesting, you have to light a match to light the stove and there is a grill feature on this thing that scares me. This grill sits between the stovetop and the oven and you have to turn the gas on high and then stick a lit match inside and wave it across the top where the gas is coming out. This probably isn’t a big deal, except for you’re reading this from a girl that MAYBE lit five matches in her entire life before coming to PNG. I don’t like them. And now, I have to light one and wave it under a gas flooded grill? Who would have thought that making toast could be such an adrenaline rush?
The water pump that runs anytime we use water is something to get used to. It sounds like the whole house is revving up to race away…we won’t be running any water at night. But overall it’s a nice place for being so far removed from civilization. As soon as I get over my fear of stepping on cockroaches in the middle of the night, it’ll be smooth sailing as far as the accomodations go.
It’s Christmas. It’s Christmas but it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Probably because we already celebrated as a family back at our house before coming here. Everyone is at the Simbari church right now except for me and Luke. We were planning on going but then Luke turned into…well, Luke the Incredible Hulk, and I decided he needed sleep instead. So while he sleeps, I swept the floor (an impossible task, by the way, because as you sweep the dust laying between the wood slats just comes up and makes a bigger mess) and washed dishes. Now I can hear the music at the church and it makes my heart happy to hear the sound of people praising God in a language that 25 years ago, didn’t have the gospel. Pretty awesome reminder of why we live in Papua New Guinea.
Anyways, after church we ate lunch and then the Simbari pastor and his family came over. We sat around in the mud outside chatting while a bunch of Simbari kids and Beau ran around with a ball. I wish I had gotten a picture but sometimes pulling a camera out in the middle of a moment like that, kills it. But Pastor Raymond’s twelve year old son really wants to be a pilot and “fly for God” when he gets older. Brent got a lot of Pidgin practice in as he shared his testimony of God getting him prepared to come and fly here for the missionaries. It was a good talk.
So I have something that if I were an avid Facebooker and hashtagger I would label #tribaldrama. I realized last night while changing Luke that I don’t think I brought enough diapers. This morning I counted so that we could ration and sure enough, we only have enough for two a day! Talk about feeling stupid. Brent heard that an MAF flight will be coming in on Monday, so this morning I called some friends who are just about ready to move into the bush themselves, to see if they could get a bag of diapers to MAF for us. They were really excited to help – because they love us but also because they will probably be needing similar assistance from us in the future. Sanders: 1, Haberchaks: 0. Anyways, it was so nice to hear their voices; it really feels remote out here, especially since the internet is so spotty. There will be no Facebook or Google. Email seems to work okay…IF you stand out in the yard and hold really still for fifteen minutes while it tries to receive/send. It’s ridiculous the amount of time I stand in the yard holding this huge Samsung tablet up in the air, as if those few extra inches closer to the cell tower will make it go faster. Ridiculous. I wonder what the Simbaris think…