We have gotten very used to our routine back in Goroka (where we have been living since we arrived.) It was nice having an arrangement with Hoax and Margaret to meet twice a week and it was helpful to know many of the people living around us so we could easily find someone to practice our Pidgin with. Here it is different.
Many of the people here–especially the believers–are friendly, eager to meet us and willing to help out, but starting all over with relationships, and language learning relationships in particular, is challenging. Today, for example, I hiked down to the closer of the two villages (about 30 minutes) and came upon a small group of people sitting around. I stopped to talk, not really sure what I was interrupting, and entered into some sort of alternative dimension where time almost stood still and was filled with lots of staring and awkward silence. After a short exchange that took a long time, one of the men said, “I’ll go get you an orange and then you can go back up the mountain.” Yikes.
Thankfully, the plan changed and I ended up sitting in their house having a longer conversation. As you can see above, I got out my camera. In addition to being a great tool for communicating our experiences to you, the camera is an ideal ice-breaker which has saved me numerous times. As I showed them the pictures I was taking, they laughed and began to loosen up. In the end I was able to stick around just long enough to have to hike up the mountain in the rain. Success!