What was your first thought or impression in Kovol?
„Where did I land here“, I asked myself first. Maybe 200 hands shook mine. We felt welcomed. And we felt like pop stars. Every child, even the smallest hand, wanted to be shaken. I was baffled, everyone wanted to say hello and stood in line. A few days later another village came and then we did it all over again. After getting to know the people, we started relaxing and we could engage with them even more. The Kovol People cooked for us, looked after us and helped wherever they could.
I was overwhelmed by the reception and all the people that wanted to shake hands with us. The people had been looking forward to seeing us. It reminded me that people have been waiting now for 10 years. And we saw that relationships are very important here. It was amazing and shocking that they sometimes came from far away to see us. And if the locals had not helped, both houses would not stand yet.
What was a challenge or was it really hard for you?
Over the time the food was a challenge. We got the same thing three times a day.
Walking the trail to get to the point where we were milling was a challenge. The path went steep up and down. Maybe it was because of my footwear (it was also very muddy and slippery). My backpain made it even harder. I was glad that the locals helped with the carrying of milling equipment and lumber.
What was different than expected?
The food. I imagined it to be worse, even if it was very monotonous. It was unfamiliar and without spices. But I expected it to be worse. We looked forward to it after a long day of working.
I thought we would live between fruit trees. That was not so. (Kovol’s soil is not as fertile as in Goroka)
The people here were friendly, hospitable and helped wherever they could. They were very loving towards each other. The women walked around with each other and would sometimes hug each other. The men teased each other. And the men looked after their families.
I was surprised to see high-quality tools there that the mission station lent for the house building process. That made it fun and easier to work. And we progressed with the work fast as well.
I did not think that we would build such houses.
What was the highlight?
The first coffee in the morning was our highlight. Also, In the evening, while we were already in our sleeping bags, we had a few of our own snacks. Butchering the pig was another highlight. Another one was the pickled cucumbers from Gary.
On our last evening someone brought us a hand of bananas, that was great.
We also were excited that we were able to start Hansen’s house and build as much as we could with the lumber that was available.