It is really good to be back with our Kovol friends. However they are really busy these days, cutting new gardens and digging up all the yams planted last year. So there are not many people around but they keep coming by for a little break from work or to help us with language. Philip is planning on going on a two day work trip this week. They will be cutting big trees and bushes to clear a new garden area. This is a huge job and they normally like to do it together and help each other out in that way.
We had a lovely extended break on our mission station. We had to extend it because of Philip’s teeth. Maybe it was the Kovol sugar cane that damaged 4 of his teeth? JK. I don’t know what it was. But looking back, we are thankful for the extra time we had in Goroka as it helped us in many ways to recover from the stress of the last year and also helped Louis get over the loss of his beloved friend Oscar. He never was the same after Oscar left and seemed to be down a lot. Now back in Kovol we have Freddy a German friend with us. She is willing to help with our kids, so Philip and I can get more language time in. She is such a joy and a blessing, not only to us but especially also to Louis. He is over the moon with her being here. Thankfully once she leaves in about 3 weeks, our coworkers should come to Kovol with their 4 boys. Then Louis will have western playmates again.
Some sad news we received coming back was to hear about 2 people that died. One was a baby that I had treated before with a terrible infection. Well, this infection came back while I was gone and the little one died. It is hard to see the parents suffering with that and not being able to talk much about it as it is not their custom. Another older lady died all by herself in a garden house. She used to come and see us from far away and has even brought us wild eggs to eat.
I was able to take the cast off the young guy who had broken his leg. He seemed disappointed that he wasn’t able to suddenly just walk perfectly again but has to practice and strengthen his leg now. It’s a good thing that it seems like it has grown together well.
Timon seems to struggle this time with the transition back to Kovol. He didn’t want to leave my side until yesterday. Even cooking was a challenging task. But hopefully he is adapting better again.
On the one hand it is so good to be back but on the other hand there is the realization of how hard life is in the bush and how different the people are. Sometimes it is hard to even have a normal conversation because they are afraid to say the wrong thing. And this is even after over a year of our living in Kovol. My kids find it also hard to connect realizing how differently these kids treat them. Hopefully one day they can enjoy playing better together. Maybe the Stouses’kids will work the magic =).
We don’t know if Corona has been here. But I am wondering if Typhoid is going around. We see many kids with high fever for over 2 weeks and patterns that make us think of Typhoid. But we don’t know for sure.
Another kid who was sick during our absence was thought to have become sick because ‘they hadn’t listened to us for something’. So it was heavy on their hearts to apologize to us. That is their normal thinking. Sickness has a cause. They have to find out what it is. They need to be in unity with everyone, otherwise things happen. So a good Kovol pasin (custom) is, to share buai and tobacco and try to be wanbel (at peace) with everyone. A bad Kovol pasin is to steal and sleep around. In their minds that deserves death and that is what they teach their kids.
Ugh language is a monster and without God’s grace I think we never will learn it. I am so glad that God is the one who put us here and is helping us. Also I am so thankful for our amazing team. Hopefully we’ll see the Stouses very soon.