On Saturday evening while out for our family walk we spot a big group of people coming back from somewhere. We thought it was a party or something and greeted them happily. The grim faces told us something was up, and sure enough they told us that a child had hurt their leg. He was being carried back by one of the adults.
By the standards of what we’re used to at home we’re living very simply, but by Kovol standards, we’re unimaginably rich.
We open the freezer to get some food and we feel guilty – we’re the only ones here with a freezer. We run the tap to wash Oscar and we feel guilty – we’re the only ones with running water.
I’m sure there have been countless misunderstandings between us and our Kovol neighbours already (and in fact now I can think of one where someone came to a team member with fresh, hot from the fire bamboo shoots they wanted to give to our team, ready right now. Our coworker misunderstood and went into their house again. The guy hung around all day long waiting for us to not be busy and finally presented us with cold bamboo after waiting for several hours!), but yesterday was the first significant one.
Where do I even start? We are living in Kovol now for about 5 days. And one thing is sure: the Kovol people are extremely generous and have been overwhelming us with food. The local food keeps just pilling up in our house. We share it then with them, and then suddenly we get even more. Also, they love to cook with us. As soon as some hear us getting up, they start walking around our houses to spend time with us. They are just waiting for us to come out.
We landed in beautiful weather, but that changed quickly. The second flight got to within hearing distance of Kovol when a wall of cloud came in and covered us over and the helicopter couldn’t land. It was forced to take the Hansen’s back to Madang. From then on the day alternated between clouds, intense rain, lightning storms and general bad weather. It looked like we might be the only team members to make it, but finally, at 5 pm the clouds cleared and the remaining two flights brought our entire team in. Our pilot had to stay the night as it was close to dark by the time the Stous family arrived!
After years of training and preparation, tomorrow is finally the day we’re moving into the tribe. We’re excited, Gerdine is nervous (having never been there before) and Oscar seems to be oblivious to things.