We left Kovol a week ago for a break, flying out to our mission centre in Goroka. We’ve learned to add an extra week to our trips out – there are always errands to run and work to do. Now our 2 week break starts. Even just being out in Goroka is so relaxing though; the intensity and expectations have dropped right down πŸ™‚

Being out also is a chance to get some perspective on life in the bush and here are 5 things that we’ve been enjoying this last week:

  1. Mattresses
    Our sleep has been transported to new levels of comfort by sleeping on a real mattress. Deeper sleep, lovely comfort πŸ™‚
    In Kovol we sleep on a 3-inch foam mattress on a plywood bed. It’s pretty good, but you do feel your hip bones against the wood if you’re a side sleeper (which I am). Mattresses are heavy and hard work to fold and we didn’t especially fancy trying to fit a double bed mattress in a helicopter !
    Our foam mattress was cheap, light and easy to transport – and it’s the Kovol thing to do; some families have them. Most sleep on a sheet of plastic (to keep the wind from coming up between their floorboards) on a hard floor.
    I’m trying to convince Gerdine to buy a second 3″ mattress so we can sleep on two sheets of foam – but currently, Gerdine views that as decadent luxury.
  2. A sturdy house
    We like our house in Kovol (check out the tour if you missed it https://reachkovol.com/2020/07/stanley-house-tour/ We designed it ourselves.
    It does wobble a bit though. Most of the time you don’t notice, but if I’m lying down reading a book and Gerdine is walking about I can feel every step jostling me about, and my book flops around in my hand.
    It feels good being in a sturdy house. Holidays are about lounging around reading books after all, and I love that I don’t feel like I’m reading on public transport as Gerdine bustles around!


  3. Fruit and Veg
    We remember the Goroka market being quite the experience when we first arrived. We were still getting used to the money. planning out the Tok Pisin we would use to interact with sellers and we were hyper-alert for thieves and criminals. It was a cultural adjustment.
    Seeing it after 4 months in the bush was a different experience, we were in awe of the amount of produce available. We went on a spending spree – melons, pineapples, sugar fruit, strawberries, passion fruit – get them all!
    Everyone was so well dressed, happy and helpful. “This is amazing, what a luxury” is what we thought – certainly not our initial reaction 4 years ago where ‘squalor’ might have summed up our thoughts. (Being dry season certainly helps here! In the wet season the mud isn’t pleasant!)
    We’re enjoying fruit salads, yoghurt with strawberries – just not taro, we’re a bit done with taro!


  4. The Lapilo Library
    Oscar loves reading books; Oscar loves reading the same books over and over – which is good because that’s what we’ve got in our home! We like a bit of variety though and the home school library at Lapilo is such a treat. New books for the holiday! New books to take into the bush when we return πŸ™‚
    Oscar loves Curious George so it was nice to find some more of those – but we notice that the older ones certainly have a different tone to the new collection we’ve been reading πŸ™‚
    The Jungle Book is a new favourite, especially as there’s a movie to go with it which Oscar loves to watch.
    Libraries are AMAZING. It took 4 months in the jungle where there are no books at all to make us realise that again.
  5. Talking to people who have been there and done that
    Lapilo and Sobega are full of missionaries who have been through exactly the same process we’re going through. Many times in Kovol I’ve thought to myself “there are probably less stressful ways to live my life”, I’ve felt stretched, tired, uncomfortable and insufficient for the task. One of the hard things is that we can’t share that with the Kovol people – they just wouldn’t understand. We live in a dream house and have all we need, after all, we’re living the dream with unbelievable levels of luxury and comfort.
    They’re comfortable in their own language, their own family and don’t know the challenges of leaving it and learning another language and culture.
    How refreshing it is to sit and chat with other bush missionaries who sympathise and support us.

We’re enjoying our break (as much as a toddler will allow) and we’ve been surprised at the things we notice and enjoy!

Oscar is also enjoying himself:


3 Comments

English Editor · 04/08/2020 at 11:19 pm

I was particularly interested to read how your time in the bush has altered your perspective on the Goroka market. How I wish I could be there with you. I would love to get some aupa, some karapua bananas and some sugar fruit.Yes, buy it all and enjoy it. Have you bought any of the Wahgi Besta kaukau? It is not a delicious as the Goroka kaukau which we could buy in the 80’s and which is no longer available there but it comes fairly close.
Is the car Oscar’s own or open which is “his” to ride during your holiday?
Gerdine, I would really encourage you to not look on 6 inches of foam as decadent luxury. It would be an investment in your health and would allow you to be more rested ready.for each of your BUSY days. I assure you that as you grow older that floor will see even harder.
I am trying to work out from the photo whether you are staying in #4 or #5. The paths are confusing me though. There must have been more put in.

Bryan · 27/08/2020 at 7:41 am

Hi Steve, Gerdine!

It’s fun reading your posts, and insightful!
The work you are doing is truly great, and important :D.
We’re (Huis van God) doing our best to pray a lot for all of you!
I’ve tried to build your CLAHub project to play around a bit, but didn’t manage to get it to work.
Neither have I had any more time to troubleshoot it.
I try to keep up on reading all of your blogs, but even these slip through from time to time, so I’ll put some more effort in it!

Seeing the state of the world, and having the knowledge that so many people are condemned without God, really makes my fire burning more and more.
I’m truly grateful for the desire He has given us, and the grace He has shown us.

Truly, God is to be praised.

Keep up the good work!
It really makes me happy to see Oscar jumping on the trampoline!
I’d love it if he will be jumping on our trampoline one day πŸ˜€ (I still do :D).

I’m looking forward to meeting all of you in person, and to see the people of Kovol, happy, and
together with the Lord!

God bless!

    SteveStanley · 08/09/2020 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for checking out CLAHub πŸ™‚ On my to-do list is to package it in a docker container, which should make installation much easier. Maybe take another look at it once I have that done? Oscar loves trampolines, so if you offer him one next time we’re in Eindhoven I’m sure he’ll jump at the chance :p

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