We made it back into Kovol, and what a ride πŸ™‚ We ended up being delayed a full week because of weather and helicopter maintenance issues, but NTM Aviation managed to cram a lot of backlogged flying together and got us in.

It wasn’t an easy day as we had to be at the hangar at 5:30 am! Going to bed the night before I’d told Oscar “We have to wake up super early tomorrow. You’ll be sleepy”, to which he responded “No, I’ll just jump straight up!”. “We’ll see” is what I said to that. Sure enough though, my alarm goes off at 4:15 and before I’m out of my pyjamas Oscar is at the door. “It’s time to go!” He was quite excited!

airport terminal picnic

The plan was a 6 am flight, the Hansens in the helicopter to Kovol and us in a Kodiak to Madang airport, where we would wait for the helicopter to take us in on a 2nd run into Kovol. Early in the morning we crammed our 2 families and luggage into a single Land Cruiser and groggily went to the airport.

Both flights went well and we arrived in Madang and sat down to wait, maybe for a few hours we thought… but those few hours turned into 5! Lots of work for the helicopter to do catching up on all the bumped flying!
What did we do for 5 hours while sitting on a bench on the concrete waiting with 3 small children? I don’t remember! It was hard work though! Why is waiting so tiring? We didn’t even do anything.

watching cartoons on the phone πŸ™‚

To spice things up though, we did become an item of interest to 2 teenage thieves. We sat on a bench in an aircraft hangar, with a razor-wire fence between us and public space. These 2 guys came from behind, from airside. Initially, I thought they were passengers, but they hung around us a little too closely and were scouting out our boxes and cargo with a little too much interest.
I gave them both a direct glare and held their eyes with an “I know what you’re up to, don’t try it” look as they prowled around. Gerdine was oblivious to it all and became very confused when 2 things happened at the same time.

The first was that a cement mixer drove past on the road, and the second was that a security guard came by, noticed them and shouted “hey”. This was a trigger for them and both teens climbed up the fence, lept the razor wire and ran off as fast as they could (empty-handed). Gerdine turned and asked “Why did those guys leap the fence because a cement mixer came?”

With the excitement over we waited further hours and then got to hop on the helicopter ourselves, praying for good weather to get in. When it came time to fly, all the boxes fitted in the helicopter (definitely not a given!), and the weather was good (certainly not a given!) and we landed in Kovol.

sleepy kids for the flight

There was the usual bustle of a helicopter day, but a hidden advantage of coming in around lunchtime is that people had already had hours and hours to hang out with Philip and Natalie and so our arriving was the icing on the cake, and not the main event. We were able to sit with some friends for a bit, but we didn’t need to make a good show of ourselves for the whole community! It’s very handy when the priority is getting kids fed and down for naps πŸ™‚ The local news is surrounding all the recent deaths and who’s around and who’s in town. I tried to tell my thief story, only to find some rusty Kovol language that needs some work!

time to tidy up supplies

There was a little cleanup to be done after the big earthquake a few weeks ago, the highest job being getting a ladder out and reconnecting our gutter pipe which had shaken loose. There was a nice plunge pool next to one of our house posts where the water had been dumping out.

Otherwise, things are in good order and looking around we’re once again filled with gratitude for Graham and Carol’s help. Oscar is enjoying showing Louis and Timon his new room and there has been a lot of playing. It’s good to be home… even if we’re short on teabags having lost that 3rd flight πŸ˜€

Back to it then! The plan is to get on with language learning in the morning. Only I wake up all bunged up and sniffing back a cold, not feeling 100% and then the fact that the team server is off. We use a Raspberry Pi connected to some hard drives and a little investigating tells me that the sd card that the operating system is on is toast and we can’t get it to boot. There’s no data loss, but my first day back in Kovol has been IT admin and not language learning πŸ˜€
Lots of esoteric command line computing later and we’re almost up and running again… oops.

We use Nextcloud to share files with each other. I just installed Nextcloud version 26 and got “your database is from version 23, it’s too old”. Right install version 23 “Your data is version 26, it’s too new”. Ok let’s dig in here and restore from a backup… oops I deleted what we have – that backup better work πŸ˜€ Must remember to pin the version in my docker-compose files!

Thursday was spent reinstalling this guy

Langauge learning to start soon πŸ˜€

1 Comment

Lois Snyder · 21/04/2023 at 4:43 am

Glad you made it safely back, and the Hansens as well. So thankful for your capacity for doing IT work! Hope all goes well with refreshing your Kovol language capabilities. Hopefully the thief story will come out better next time around.

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