New #tribaldrama: Have I mentioned our refrigerator here is not very cold? No, I haven’t because I’ve been ignoring that fact and hoping it will go away or fix itself. Well, this morning, I went to pour some milk for the kids and instead of milk coming out it was a chunk of…curdled milk? What do you call that stuff? Whatever. The point is, our refrigerator is not cold enough to keep milk good that was mixed two days ago! When I saw that, I had this vision of a week from now, with all our cheese and eggs and bread spoiled from lack of refrigeration. Sigh. I put some extra stuff in the Ogg’s freezer (our freezer space is negligible) and we ate eggs with cheese and milk this morning (not the curdled stuff). It might be kaukau (a staple for PNG people, similar to a yam or sweet potato) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner by the time we leave.
Brent has been trying to spend a lot of time out and about with the people so he can continue to progress in his Pidgin. After being out for a while today, he came and got us and we went to the village across the airstrip. We visited with Pastor Raymond and his family again as well as with a family from Aziana (a neighboring tribe, about a two day hike from here) who is here visiting. It was good. The kids caught a tree frog and a huge caterpillar for Beau. He loved it. Of course.
Brent left this morning for a four hour hike down to another airstrip here in Simbari. He will be gone until tomorrow afternoon. We’ll see how this goes. He really gets to “bush it” for a couple days.
For myself, I lost a WHOLE bag of mozzarella cheese to mold today due to my refrigerator that is not friging anything. Along with that casualty was a quarter bag of shredded chicken. I had a moment of self-pity for the loss and then cut up four cucumbers for lunch. If Brent is not home, there is no way I am defrosting anything of substance! So the kids and I ate cucumber salad for lunch consisting of cucumbers with some oil and vinegar, salt and sugar. Would you like to guess what we ate for dinner? Well, first of all I have to preface this by saying, ladies are bringing bags of cucumbers, kaukau, green beans, and green onions to sell. Those seem to be the only items really available in their gardens right now. So this morning I bought all that and without a refrigerator, it really needs to be eaten. OK, so for dinner I chopped up the rest of the cucumber salad even smaller and put it in tortillas with a little cheese and then cooked up some green beans. Yummy huh? I’m so glad my kids are too young to realize that is a really strange dinner. They ate it, I ate it, it worked.
Oh, and I got our diapers this morning! I am so thankful; my mind was seriously heading down the track of dish towels and duct tape as a solution for when we ran out. When I saw the MAF flight come in (we all ran to the airstrip because what else is there to do?), I got all teary-eyed, just like I do every time I see a missionary plane. I was reminded of why we are here and what an awesome ministry our pilots have, especially now, having a taste of the perspective of the bush missionaries. It sure is nice to get a “touch” from the outside world when you are this remote. It’s even better to have someone provide a solution to your diaper crisis. I really wanted to hug the pilot, I was so happy to see him with a bag of diapers. But I didn’t know him and I remembered at the last minute that that would have been extremely inappropriate.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
So Digicel, PNG’s cell service, is out again today. That’s fun. Talk about feeling even more isolated…not that I’ve been keeping in touch with all that many people but it’s always nice to feel like someone might contact us. And not that everything is going through when the tower IS working, but still there is a chance and when there is a chance, there’s hope.
I did laundry today, for the second time out here. I don’t even know if I can properly describe the process but I’ll try. When you are out in a remote location, electricity is scarce because you operate everything off a battery that is powered by the sun. That said, the appliances here are EXTREMELY energy efficient, and by energy efficient, I mean half solar-energized, half human-energized. Meet the twin tub washing machine. You put the clothes in on one side of the machine, with water and soap and let them whirl viciously for 6ish minutes. Then you take them out of the water and put them in the other side of the machine that spins them, probably as fast as an airplane propeller, for 2 minutes. It’s scary. Then you take them out of the spinny part and put them in the sink that you’ve filled with fresh, non-soapy water to “rinse” them. Once you’ve sloshed them around in the fresh water a bit, you put them back into the spinner. They spin for 2 minutes again and then you are ready to hang them…in the house. Because of the likelyhood of rain. And theft. Our house now has damp clothes hanging over its entirety (there are lines strung throughout). “Don’t mind my skirt there, just hanging right in front of the bathroom door as you come out. And the underwear over the kitchen is a nice touch.” Who needs decorations to make your house feel homey when you can have your freshly laundered clothing displayed? Oh, and by the way, you use the same water for all ten loads of clothes. It looks similar to churned-up ocean water, complete with dirty bubbles, by the time you’re finished. So I’ve learned the trick is to put the LEAST dirty clothes in first and save the stuff covered in mud or kid-pee until last.
Now call me crazy, and those of you who know me probably won’t be surprised, but I actually really enjoy doing laundry this way. I feel so accomplished at the end!
It is now officially 2015. We spent last night with the Oggs to welcome in this New Year. I promptly fell asleep on their couch at 830 and slept until 10, when I finally convinced Brent to let me come home and sleep in our own bed. Something about the damp, dark jungle makes me sleepy. We’ve been going to bed at 8ish every night because there’s simply nothing else to do when it’s so dark and cold. We have very few lights in the house due to the solar-battery-energy thing I mentioned above and without light our bodies just shut down. Apparently mine has been enjoying this “early shut down” because I couldn’t even rouse it to welcome in a new year. (No comments about being old, please.)