Wati’s Garden Revisited

Back in September, Wati* and I visited the garden he was clearing which, at the time, looked like this: Three months later, it looks like this: They are growing sweet potatoes, corn, beans, cucumbers, a smokable leaf, and lots of weeds. Today we did some weeding. How would you like to grow your veggies on…

Car Repair

Among the most popular toys in Menya are these remote control cars: The wheels are cut from worn out flip-flop soles. The chassis and axels are fashioned from sticks. The body is built with disks extracted from discarded D-Cell batteries. The remote is tethered, not wireless. Like all vehicles–or toys–these occasionally require maintenance or repair. Today’s task:…

It’s Christmas Season

We like to kick off the Christmas season on Thanksgiving night. Perhaps thats cheating a bit, but I think we give Thanksgiving plenty of attention, so I let it slide. This year, we had a wonderful time singing Christmas carols with the Chappells and then after they left, in keeping with tradition, we gave our…

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Reading books to the kids about Thanksgiving this year, I had a new appreciation for what the pilgrims went through. I certainly wouldn’t put my own experience on the level of theirs, but I have a better lens through which to view their experience having lived here. As I looked at the pictures of Wampanoag…

Dinner Party

Dinner parties look a little different here. Actually, the people don’t really have friends over to eat, but we decided to start doing this as a way for our whole family to get to know people and learn some language. Tonight we had our neighbors over and cooked up some kaukau and kumu (sweet potatoes…

Contagions

This is Edwin, Mari, their kids and their bush knives who live about fifty feet from us. Their oldest son got measles a couple weeks ago. The other three have had measles more recently. As Edwin and I discussed this today, he told me this illness is a new kind. In the olden days disease did…

Rain Flies

Here’s something you may not know about Menya–or about all of PNG and possibly all rain forrest areas around the world: when it rains, the rain flies hatch.* And even with our sort-of-well-sealled house, we get swarmed by them. (I think some queen rain flies must have laid eggs in our walls during construction while…