I think we’re on plan E at this point. The plan had been to go into Kovol on Friday to start cutting down trees and milling them into lumber for our houses. We need to move in 400L of petrol, 200L of bar oil, 3 chainsaws and about 200kg of assorted other tools for the job. 

Problem is that the NTM chopper is down again; well still down. It’s having engine troubles and the maintenance guys are having to wait for spare parts constantly and now even need to send the engine off to the manufacturer for repairs. 

Other helicopter operators aren’t able to pick us up this time so we’re in for a wait, maybe until August, which will push our house build back from August to September or October most likely. 

Our flights this week are cancelled and the only way to Kovol is our legs. We could visit Kovol, but there is no way to get the tools that we need in. 

We had people coming from the States coming to help us mill and it’s too late for them to cancel and so they’ll be here to see the sights, but not to mill. Other teams that were to come help us build are likewise having to rethink tickets but we can’t say for when to rearrange for – the heli will be fixed sometime but we don’t know when. 

We’re a little tired of feeling our plans every other week!

It’s not all on hold though. Our plan had been to get our trees cut and then go to town to buy the rest of our building materials. The thinking being that if we were short on wood we could buy timber in town and have it flown in. We’ve decided to but our building materials now instead. It’s a job that needs to be done and we may as well do it while there’s no chopper.  

Yesterday we flew down to Madang (Oscars 8th or 9th flight now, we lose count!), Oscar not enjoying the flight, not enjoying the 35 degree temperatures yet. 

Poor baby waiting nervously for the airplane

We hope that when we’re done the helicopter situation will be more certain, we don’t want to make plan F this week only to have to scuttle it a week later. In the meantime we have our shopping list

We’ve set aside 3 weeks to do it, which is a really long time for shopping, but we’ve found hardware stores to be endless sources of delay here in PNG. You want to buy those screws? Sorry the system is down – try again tomorrow. We’ll deliver it tomorrow, 2 weeks later…

The first delay of the experience was spending an hour putting together a quotation with hardware Haus, only for a power cut to delete our entire quote before it was saved in the system – meaning we started over!

Hardware stores, where patience is tested

It’s really intimidating getting quotes for materials that run into tens of thousands of kina. Are we being ripped off? Is it what we need? What happens if we spend all the money but then have to return home permanently for health reasons or a something.

We may take our 2 week holiday we were planning afterwards. We were going to stay in Madang, but now we’re here supply buying we’re thinking we might need to go somewhere else for a change of scenery. 


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