Today I took Ginalyn (above) to the clinic again with Hoax (they skipped her previous appointment while we were in Mibu so Ginalyn is doing quite poorly.) We were at the clinic for more than five hours while the staff administered IV fluid and medicine giving Hoax and me plenty of quality time together. During this time we had a conversation that highlights one of the challenges we face as Americans in PNG.

Hoax talked about Digicel, the main cellular provider here, and complained that we consistently give Digicel money, but never receive any in return. In case you are bewildered at this point, let me clarify with this: Hoax suggested that Digicel should occasionally send him a kina* or two. Why, you might ask? Because that is how relationships in PNG work. Reciprocity is mandatory. I asked Hoax if he would like it if Digicel started to charge 4 kina for a 3 kina “top-up” card so that they could then send him 1 kina every time he purchased one. He said that, yes, that would make him happier.

I must be learning because, remarkably, I was not at all surprised by Hoax’s answer.

*a kina is the base PNG currency

4 Comments
  1. The Glover Family

    Thanks for taking Ginalyn to the clinic. We continue to pray for her health and her family. Blessings to you all for your service. On another note, we live near the areas devastated by tornadoes on Friday. We’re safe but lots of damage in the surrounding towns. Then I woke up to a dusting of snow today. Prayers welcomed for all those involved.

  2. That’s really interesting. Do you think that could be connected to some questions / struggles he has with Christianity? That is, maybe he doesn’t like the idea of grace being a free gift? Just a thought.

    • Joseph

      I’m not sure yet, but definitely a good thought. I think his biggest struggle right now is never having heard a clear explanation of the gospel.

  3. Molly

    I am trying to wrap my brain around this concept. Is reciprocity the same as trading? are there any PNG examples of someone doing something/giving something without expecting anything in return? or with at least the consciousness of choosing not to expect something?

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