A flying iron bar

Sunday night around 1 pm I was woken up by the sound of voices under our houses. The only people who usually wake me are my kids and my cat, we’ve never been woken by anyone from Kovol. I went to see what all the commotion was about. It was an emergency. A 4-month old baby had a terrible head wound and was in shock. 10 or so people were stood around looking sad and worried in the cold night.

Mistakes and many meetings

A common thing in PNG culture is to be indirect. Imagine I want to tell my friend that I’d like them to give me their T-shirt; I would say “Hey, that’s a nice T-shirt!” The message comes loud and clear that I really would like to have her shirt. Imagine the potential for misunderstanding as, when we as westerners say “nice T-shirt” we intend to give a compliment and bond with our friend.

If only we could do both…

What do you want to be when you grow up? a young child was asked. “A missionary on Home assignment” he replied 🙂 I can’t remember where and when I heard that little anecdote, but it springs to mind often as we’ve now been back in the UK for 7 months.

Puzzling over verbs

Learning language in Kovol is like trying to drink form a fire hose. There’s always so much and you feel completely overwhelmed with it all. It’s kind of nice to have time to sit and pick over language data in a way you never have time for in the bush. It’s not a productive way of learning language. The fire hose of immersion is a much better way to learn to speak, but it certainly satisfies my sense of completion to be able to spend weeks poring over the data I elicited previously without a stack more arriving in my inbox.

Back in Kovol

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.

Life with twins – it’s going to take a little longer to return to PNG

Regarding the future, we’ve decided to extend our home assignment 6 months and are now aiming to return to PNG in Feb 2021. Right in the middle of our exhausting newborn phase was the deadline for deciding what to do with our rental with our choices being to move to the Netherlands in July or extend our rental for 6 months. Since we don’t have a fixed, predictable income we need to pay for our rent in advance and agree with the landlord on the duration and the minimum we could extend was 5 months. Exhausted and just about coping we couldn’t face attempting to move our family to the Netherlands navigating both the Covid restrictions and the new Brexit restrictions on me traveling to Europe.
So now the plan is to head to the Netherlands in December instead. We’re very much looking forward to spending some time there; Oscar’s grandparents haven’t seen him for about 3 years!