PNG report #3

July 8

No bilum lesson today but I finished making rope of the available yarn. My hand is tired from the actions of the ropemaking and string stitch!

A bit of a walkabout this morning – it was muddy from yesterday’s thunderstorm. I’m not sure how they could ever get dust with all the moisture here! Miri had a slip in the mud while jumping over a small stream – much concern on everyone else’s part, but it looked natural on Miri! <g>

Miri also became a ‘monster’ for a moment: we were following a large umbrella with two little feet under it. Both of us were thinking of taking a picture, but before the shot could be taken, the little one must’ve heard us coming up behind her, turned around and…. Lo and behold the vision she saw was of a huge white person with white hair and large black eyes (sunglasses). The tyke did the only thing reasonable – she screamed! It took much consolation in the protective arms of her bigger sister before she calmed down.

We visited the second and first grades today – just to say hello to Srs Maria and Anna. Big classes of kids – probably close to 40 in each class. The first grade had two new students – twins from the coast. Also visited the mission clinic where HIV treatment is a high priority and met Sr Rose (an admirable woman who is getting her higher education via home courses and is a fierce fighter for grants and funding for the clinic).

July 9

Martine, Doris and I drove to Ekari to visit the mission there. Several FSMs were there and were giving a workshop to ecumenical ministers in the area. The road was something to experience! I don’t think it has seen a piece of equipment since it was first bulldozed – most likely since the end of WWII ! Boulders and mud pits the whole way. Good thing it didn’t rain while we were there! Four wheel drive is a necessity, as well as a hard hat for inside the vehicle! (I miss my chiropractor!)

While in Ekari we saw the lake (round water) and greeted all the ministers (including one whose name is Judith!) as they finished their workshop. Lunch with the nuns and then back to Mendi.

This evening Miri and I were presented with our own bilums and mari blouses (the standard style of blouse/dress worn by the women here) by the local mothers’ club toady. Very special. “Mari” is the pidgin word for woman. We are planning on being away over the weekend so the women came to the house today instead of waiting for a formal presentation at church on Sunday.

I finished a small bilum from start to finish by myself! Didn’t do a regular handle, though, but put in a drawstring. Made it very open so I could better see the stitch. I’ve impressed the women!

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