Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week in Review, April 14-21

"There cannot be a crisis next week; my schedule is already full.”  ~Henry Kissinger

“Our whole life is solving puzzles.”  ~Erno Rubik

I mentioned in passing last week that Paul had worked on a medical evacuation as part of the training for his new job.  Well, someone must have thought he needed more practice.  Between Friday and Friday, our clinic and aviation department conducted a total of four medevacs, two of them in one day.  Interestingly enough, medevacs tend to “come in threes” (four is a bit surprising), but usually they are spread a bit further apart.  This has been a stretch for our aviation department, especially, as one of our planes was recently damaged on a bush runway and is currently out of commission.

So I wouldn’t feel left out by not having my own personal crisis, I discovered early this week that the network testing environment for our computer-based standardised testing had been completely lost in the recent “Catastrophic Network Crash of (March) 2013.”  A gentleman from our computer services department graciously worked with me to establish the proper folders and permissions so that I could re-download and re-create the necessary files. 

All was well until Thursday when we discovered that about half of our lab computers would not connect to the test taker interface.

Testing starts this coming Tuesday.  (Insert another frantic call to the network guy.)

Fortunately this problem turned out to be an easy enough fix – something we had skipped over (because it didn’t make sense) when re-creating the testing environment.  It still doesn’t make sense, but adding two lines of code on the server was easier than changing the pointers on at least 12 individual computers.

When I wasn’t handling crises at school (yes, there was more than one), I was running quickly through a 10kg bag of flour.  I am constantly amazed how the basic ingredients of baking consume such a significant volume of my pantry.  White flour, wheat flour, white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, eggs …. I am not sure I went through even five pounds of flour while we were settled for three months in Washington last year, but here, between crescent rolls, French bread, muffins, pizza crust, tortillas, croutons, hamburger buns, cookies, pancakes, and waffles, we go through 10kg (22 pounds) every couple of weeks.

We’re especially thrilled when bags and their contents are found to be free of bugs.

Last night, I went to a ladies’ “puzzle night” (because I had not dealt with enough puzzles this week, of course) with a friend.  At the gathering, a long-time (since 1977) member of our organisation gave her testimony.  She has served here in translation and literacy, taught PNGns English as a Second Language, and taught Sunday School for the expat children for many years.  She taught “maths” at the high school, and claims at least two of our current adult community members as her former students.  She has faithfully coordinated our monthly “Mornings in Prayer” and has even been honoured by the queen (of England, her home country) for her service here in PNG (though she doesn’t remember wearing a hat to Buckingham Palace.)  Soon, she will be leaving PNG for good and returning to the UK to help care for her mother. 

Thirty-six years.  Wow.

When we were set loose on the table full of puzzles, our gang chose an adorable pair of collie puppies as our first project.  A mere thirty minutes later, everyone was appropriately awestruck when the four of us cheered our completion of the picture.  I proudly held up the box for all to see and admire.

“Junior puzzle, 100 pieces.”

My friend looked over at me from another table and said, “Sorry … I didn’t see any wooden ones … you know, the ones with the big knobs?”

Heh heh.

Yeah, well we don’t have to prove anything.

We completed two more hundred-piece puzzles, and with a sense of accomplishment firmly in place, sat back and chatted over coffee and finger foods while other tables slaved diligently over their 500-piecers.

Because the person in charge was medevaced on Friday, the middle school activity night scheduled for Saturday evening had been cancelled.  At the last minute, friends had invited our family over for a bonfire.  When I arrived home from the puzzle night at nearly 10pm and found the house abandoned, I leashed up our (fierce watch-) dog, grabbed and cocked the pepper spray, and briskly walked the four-house distance to join them.  The fire was still mightily ablaze, mostly consuming an endless number of hardwood scraps from the construction project that the family (of five) is currently undertaking - adding three much-needed rooms to their two-bedroom home. 

As I have done every Sunday since returning to PNG, this morning I trucked my way down the hill to help with Tok Pisin Sunday School.  This ministry to national children is conducted weekly in conjunction with the Tok Pisin church service that meets on our centre.  Despite what I am certain were grammatical errors, I managed to convey the "talk picture" (parable) comparing the kingdom of heaven to a man inviting people to a feast.  For the second week in a row, we floundered slightly as the person who directs the ministry was also medevaced last week.  (Are you sensing a theme?)  We’re hopeful she will be back this week.

As I type, Paul is out playing his weekly Ultimate Frisbee game with other die-hards who refuse to be put off by a little rain.  Or by a lot of rain, as the case may be.  Stacey has gone off to practice for an upcoming talent show, and major, minor, harmonic, and melodic clarinet scales are emanating from Andie’s room.  Evan has settled down with the Wii remote and Sonic the hedghog, and the dog has taken up residence with me on the bed. 

With the pitter-patter of rain on our tin roof, I feel a nap coming on.

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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)