Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Let Me Entertain You

We knew before coming to Papua New Guinea that we should not expect the same level of service and services that we were comfortable with back home.  After all, PNG is a third-world country.  If planting yams and telling stories over coffee in the dark is not your natural inclination, being here might take some getting used to.  (Understatement of the year, I know.)
I had a comment on my last post (Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow) suggesting that some people simply could not, or should not, as the case may be, give up professional hair services.  I suppose that’s true.  I’ve seen my share of “frumpy” missionaries.  Why, I may even aspire to become one someday!  (Okay, maybe not.)  But seriously … does it really matter?  In our Western thinking, in our resource-rich, idyllic Shangri-Las, yes, it does.  But here?  Not so much.  It’s all a matter of priorities and context.
Those that come here expecting too much, either from themselves or from the community, are setting themselves up for a great fall.  Expectations that are set too high are nothing but rich deposits of stress ore.
You do what you can with what you have and then you have to let the rest of it go, you know?
Some would look at our little hamlet and think that entertainment, in particular, is a rare commodity.  There are no movie theaters, no restaurants, no bowling alleys.  No malls, no department stores, no book stores.  No miniature golf, no state parks, no Starbucks. 
No fun, right?
I think the best justice I could do to the situation here would be to say, fun and leisure and entertainment is what you make it. 
Many people have others over for dinner.  (Of course, dinner might take two and a half hours to prepare, but that’s another post.)   Board and card games are all the rage.  DVDs are swapped around like germs. 
Every weekend you can see kids walking to each other’s houses carrying pillows and sleeping bags.  These are the same kids who play outside, explore, create, dig, and build, and otherwise make their own fun.  Think 1950s America.
In the great tradition of adolescent pranks, some (yes, generally teenagers) take it upon themselves to decorate people’s yards (see photo of our yard above.)  This is not your traditional TP-job.  No, sir. Toilet paper is too expensive.  This is old video tapes.  (Please tell me, why didn’t we think of doing this with eight tracks?)
So, other than planting yams and engaging in “vandalism lite” with reels of magnetic media, what is there to do here in the highlands of Papua New Guinea?
Well, I’m glad you asked.  Stay tuned.   :)

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We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

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(Updated 13 April 2013)