Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week in Review: April 22-28

"I don't want to be stinky poo poo girl, I want to be happy flower child." - Drew Barrymore

“Somewhere there’s a landfill of unopened hot sauce.” ~ from the movie, “Kim Possible: The Secret Files” (2003)

“What I love about this course is how it takes barefoot guys from the bush and turns them into Bible translators.” ~ Kate King (link at bottom)

Each evening, a security guard is locked within our school’s perimeter fence for the purpose of deterring overnight crime.  Every once in a while a trained dog spends the night inside the fence with him.  Ideally, I would hope the guard would pick up behind said dog, but that is not always the case.  That, my friends, is why smart supervisors include “other duties as assigned” on their subordinates’ job descriptions.

This week I was called upon to pick up guard dog poo during recess.  “Because the basketballs keep landing in it,” said the eleven-year-old informant.

Well, why didn’t you tell me before the basketball became plural?

So, I picked it up … rather, I scraped most of it up with a plastic bag.  Happy flower child, I was not.

Dog poo prevention is one reason why we have a gate on the fence at the school, and it is one of my self-assumed duties that I try to train the students to keep the fence closed (to keep out the neighborhood dogs).  This week, however, I discovered another reason to close the gates.

Those of you who have been with me a while will remember that I am not all that fond of roosters.  Fortunately, there are not too many on our centre that roam free, yet I approached the school on Monday morning only to discover a rather colourful specimen hanging around the gate.  He was most definitely looking for a way in.

Speaking of annoying creatures, in response to my blogging about them last week, fruit flies are now trying to take over the house.  Not only are they in the bathroom, but in the living room, bedrooms, and laundry room as well.   I am getting my comeuppance.

Paul was on-call as the clinic van (i.e. ambulance) driver this week.  After such a medevac-heavy week last week, we were hoping it wouldn’t be too crazy.  As it turned out, he only had one evening that he had to spend at the clinic, and we're grateful that did not result in a medevac.

Stacey has participated in track this term, and Monday she went off for an early morning run with some of her teammates.  Apparently, however, she had left her running shoes at school, so she made the very reasonable decision just to run in flip-flops.  Now while I could never do it, that actually isn’t so outrageous here - a step up, I suppose, from running barefoot which she and most PNGns could probably do without flinching.  Yes, the team was in the final stages of preparing for a tournament on Friday, but still I found her determination so impressive that I hung around the front of the house hoping to catch her on film as she ran by.

Paul went to Goroka on Tuesday with a group who were needing to renew their PNG drivers’ licenses.  The licensing office located in our closest town burned down about a year ago, so now one has to drive to Goroka (90 minutes) or Lae (3 hours) to take care of this task. Of course, you never know what you’ll find (or not find) when you get there; office hours are not consistent, and if they do happen to be open, they may or may not have everything they need to issue a license to you. 

You know, like maybe they don’t have film? 

Such was the case on Tuesday.  The upside was that the person working was still willing to issue licenses, and Paul came home with a random piece of paper that supposedly gives him rights to drive for the next three years.  In addition, they were willing to add a motorcycle endorsement based only on his word that he knows how to ride.  (This, too, you can’t count on happening, as a road test is usually required … but don’t forget to bring your own motorcycle.)  

In addition to successfully renewing his PNG driver's license, Paul came home with these unique cookies that speak for themselves (except for the misleading reference to bourbon ...)

As one who likes to walk (and ride) on the wild side, Paul is the only one in our home who regularly enjoys a healthy dose of hot sauce.  Actually, he’s the only one who enjoys any dose of hot sauce.  But on Wednesday (after we had all finished our tacos) the kids decided that they would see what all the fuss was about.  One by one, all three of them put several drops of Tobasco on their plates and proceeded to lick it up.  Andie summed up the experience quite nicely:

“That’s not bad … oh, wait - my tongue is numb.”

These words were followed by a substantial sour cream chaser for each of the girls, and Evan trying to grab every cup of water remaining on the table whether or not it was his.

More than a week ago, a tree fell on a power line between our centre and the closest town.  Repair priorities in this country being what they are, our centre has been forced to use exclusively generator power ever since.

Wednesday night we received word that the maintenance department would be shutting down the generators for a while on Thursday morning for refueling.  Now I understand why this is necessary - it’s better than the generators running out of fuel and the power going out unexpectedly.  But as we had scheduled computer-based standardised testing with our youngest students, and setting up for them includes testing the audio on every machine, it meant I had to cancel the first session of testing for Thursday morning. They told me the generators would be back up and running before our 8:30 start time, but that didn’t take into account the hour that it would take me to set up the lab.

I rescheduled the 8:30 session for 1pm.

Then, since Thursday wasn’t crazy enough, I ran over to the Secondary campus from 10:30 to 11:30 in order to help out with the Grade 8 drama class rehearsals.  When I returned to the primary campus, I was met by my principal.

“Hey … wanna guess what you missed?”

Rooster invasion?

“We had a flood.”

Now, one of our campus water pumps had been dying a painful death for several weeks, and finally passed on to the great reservoir in the sky.  Our maintenance department installed a “new” pump (read: new to us) and departed claiming all was well.  The next morning, however, no (tank) water was making its way through the system. 

That pump, too, was no more.

Some time that morning, one of the third graders tried to turn on the water in the classroom sink.  When it didn’t come on, he walked away, forgetting to re-close the valve.  During the 20-minute morning recess, when the water supply lines were switched (so we could flush toilets, thank you) and (river) water suddenly surged through the pipes, the sink filled quickly.  By the time it was discovered at the end of recess, the water was more than ankle-deep throughout the grade 3 classroom.

I guess that’s better than a rooster invasion, which would have just left me picking up more poo.

Friday, as the first glimmer of light attempted to disperse the daily morning fog, Stacey left with the rest of the track team for the tournament in Goroka.  Fortunately, she remembered her shoes, and proceeded to place first in both of her events, the 400m and the 4x100m. In order to accumulate more points for the meet, the team decided to enter some additional events that they had not necessarily trained for.  Stacey and three other girls ran the 4x400m and took first.  Stacey also gave the triple jump a go and placed third.

In the end, our team won the tournament, beating out another mission school and several PNG schools for a rather large trophy and an even bigger swell of personal and team pride.

Now, despite all the craziness encountered in my everyday life this week, the work of Bible translation goes on.  On Thursday the 2013 Translator’s Training Course began.  For the next five weeks, these national men and women from around the country will be acquiring and/or practicing the basics of study methods, computer skills, and translation principles.  They will learn what they need to translate God’s talk into their own mother tongues.

My friend Kate has written a beautiful post about this training course and what it means for those involved.   

Since she writes from first-hand experience, and because she is much more eloquent than I am (never writing about poo), I highly recommend reading her account.  :)

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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)