POC is all that we expected, and yet for none of the reasons we expected.
The site, on top of Mount Nobnob, is amazing. You have to stop and absorb the view every time you walk from the haus slip (sleeping quarters) to the haus kuk (kitchen / dining area). Yet it has a dark side.
Prior to leaving for PNG, many friends questioned whether it was a safe place to live – obviously with the reports of violent people in mind.
The people couldn’t be nicer – it’s the environment that is out to kill you!
We have had numerous lectures on avoiding germs and disease carrying parasites, poisonous marine creatures, and creepy-crawlies that bite or sting. Even some of the plants can result in nasty looking blisters if you touch them.
Yet POC leaves you no choice but to put these issues in their right and proper place. The coastline is beautiful; the water warm and crystal clear; the bush fresh and full of life; and the local people welcoming and helpful. To succumb to fears of the bad would also limit our ability to experience all that is amazing about PNG.
We expected to find much beauty in PNG. What surprised us, will be no surprise to many who have served, or continue to serve here. The true beauty is in the people.
People like our Tok Pisin tisa (teacher), who walks up the mountain every day to spend mornings with us. Tisa Bat patiently corrects our mistakes, and encourages us to keep trying, keep learning. He knows that it is only through wantok (common language) that real relationships can be built. Wantok is a core value of PNG culture, maintaining ties within the village, clan, and nation.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Romans 15:5-6
• for safety and good health during POC, for staff, students and families
• thanking God for the PNG Nationals that feed us, do our laundry, maintain the property, and find time to guide us in our language learning
• that we be able to grasp Tok Pisin, so as to relate to Nationals in meaningful ways