First Day Back in Papua New Guinea

We are back in Papua New Guinea.

The flight went well, immigration was smooth, and we had the honor of dinner with our friends and coworkers.  We were able to catch Donna the night before she returned to the United States for good.  We will miss her.

The next morning we put our things into our red Land Cruiser (aka “The Cranberry”- Maggie is thoroughly embarrassed by our blatantly obvious “Psych” tribute).  We picked up meat and groceries.  With a completely loaded down car, we ate a quick lunch at the Hagen Club and hit the road.

The CD in the stereo was the same as when we’d left – The Best of Annie Lennox.  I wonder if Anton liked it, or just kept the stereo off.  With “Sweet Dreams are Made of This,” we climbed into the mountains, down and up the long-windy-sometimes-paved-sometimes-not PNG Highlands Highway.  The drive was our chief concern because of Jeff’s back, but everything seemed to be going okay.  We stopped at the mountaintop market to get cabbage, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots.  “Here Comes the Rain Again” literally did usher in the afternoon rainstorm.

We arrived at the gate feeling better than we anticipated.  Our dog, Uffda, was chained to the house and her tail was wagging happily as she yipped her greeting.  We also saw Cinder, in all her blackness, slink into the yard toward the back door.  She’d get her greetings soon.

In the house, everything was in its place, and beautifully clean.  God bless Nancy.  She helped us unload the car and gave us the news – some good, some bad.

Everyone had been praying for us and are very happy we are back.

The power went out not long before we got home (it stayed out for the next 24 hours).

The water tanks were overflowing because of all the rain.

Uffda killed three of the kittens.  There is one left.  Nancy buried them in the back yard, because that’s what Maggie would’ve wanted.

During a sports competition, some guys from a neighboring village stole our puppy, Callie.  Nancy, absolutely livid, went to the community court and got us compensation – 40 kina (less than 20 US dollars, but twice the value of a dog in PNG).  This made us sad.  We liked Callie, and since she was born here, she knew this was home, unlike her mother, Uffda, who keeps trying to go back to Nancy’s and who has a propensity toward killing small animals – not a good trait around here.  We are going to have to figure out what to do about her, quickly.

Birip was sad, too, though.  This was more than a theft.  It was an insult.  The guests stole from the honored guests of their host.  But we are blessed to be in a peace-loving village, so they sought compensation because they would not get the dog back, and there will be other dogs.  There are plenty.  But the seminary is always sad when bad things happen, which have happened in a continual, stream, because they fear we will leave and who knows when the LCMS will send another pastor/teacher?  They have seen so many missionaries come and go.  Every time we have had to leave and came back we could see the relief.

Nancy left and we made a pot of tea and caught our breath on the porch.  Then, we petted animals, assessed the propane situation, and set about preparing dinner – Pork chops, broccoli, and rice (I burned the rice.  Jeff said “Now we know we are home.”  The one downside of a truly powerful stove and an ADHD cook).

With the power out, it was dinner by candlelight, devotions and hymns, and an early bedtime. The air was cold, the bed was warm, and the night was just as dark with our eyes open as when they were shut.

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