Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Haus Kuk

We have just completed our second haus kuk weekend.  Haus Kuk is the Tok Pisin word for kitchen.  Most of the people that live in the villages in Papua New Guinea have a separate, outdoor haus kuk.  To prepare us for life in the village, the weekends are dedicated to us cooking on our own in our own haus kuk. 

This is the final product for our haus kuk.  Well, that would be final as in at this point in time.  Tim keeps thinking of more additions and improvements- a gutter system to collect water, flooring...

Building our haus kuk was very interesting.  We watched the workmen here at POC build the example.  It took them just over an hour to build the complete haus kuk and a table.  We aren't quite as good, so it took us a bit longer.  OK, so Tim did most, ok so all, the building.  Someone (that would be me) had to make the design decisions! 

We started with a couple of hours to build one Thursday, but figured we would finish up that Saturday.  Of course that proved to be a bit of a challenge.  I had asked a very pertinent question earlier about the threat of cyclones (aka hurricanes).  Having grown up in Florida, and knowing that we are now living on an island, this was a concern for me.  I was assured that they are not typical at all, and in fact they hadn't had one.  The Saturday we were trying to finish up our haus kuk gave us a ton of wind to battle.  I commented several times, "Gee, this is just like when a hurricane is off the coast or approaching- gusting winds, but not the rain."  Apparently I was right.  We found out the next week that a cyclone did hit a neighboring island, and yes, we were getting the strong winds from it. 

Notice the blue tarp- not something good to have when you having wind gusts of 40+mph.  It literally was pulling the entire haus kuk out of the ground, so we took it off.  Tim spent most of the day shoring up our haus kuk, so it wasn't going anywhere! 

He was able to get more work done without the top!

Those trees normally stand straight and not leaning at that angle!

Look, I got to use the bush knife to cut wood for a fire!  The amazing part- there were no injuries!

Enjoying our first lunch in our haus kuk!

Not exactly the sink and dishwasher I had back home, but...

The view is amazing!!!!

My stove top- a single burner.  We are fortunate enough to be behind the school house, so we took advantage of cooking on their picnic table. 

My oven requires lots of babysitting, but it makes some good cinnamon rolls!

These were made by Bekah and some of her friends. 

We enjoy the haus kuk weekends for the relaxed atmosphere and the ability to set our own schedule as a family.  Yes, there are challenges to having to cook outside.  Saturday morning we woke up to a steady rain. It had been raining most of the night pretty hard.  Fortunately it cleared pretty soon, so we were able to make the all important coffee!

This has definitely given my culinary talent and skills a challenge.  I love to make lots of food for leftovers, but we have no way to refrigerate them.  I'm learning to make enough for our family.  I'm also learning to be quite creative with my cooking.  All rules about "I would never…" have been thrown out the window.  We've had corned beef from a can two weeks in a row.  I'm loving the challenge, though.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hike #3

On Monday we went on our third hike.  So far I think this was my favorite.  We hiked down the mountain to a local fish cannery- it was a little more than 3 miles down the mountain.  We went through the jungle, mountains, and a village.  It was pretty cool.

Our group is divided into four different hiking groups.  The school kids are all in one group, which is great! They definitely enjoy the hiking more with their friends than with us.  We enjoy it more, too because they aren't whining and fussing all the time!  I'm definitely more relaxed because I'm not worried about them and trying to make sure they keep up.

I took the camera with me, so I wanted to share some of the pictures with you.

Tim is ready for our hike.  We have been carrying our backpacks to help condition us for when we need to carry them on our upcoming 3-day hike.

The black thing is a snake we saw on our hike.  (Mom, don't look)

These are some pigs in one of the local villages we went through.    

They are in the middle of building a house for the pigs.

This is a house in the building process in one of the villages we hiked through.  I was tempted to just post the picture and tell everyone this was the house we were living in.  

One of the interesting bugs in Papua New Guinea.  It is a gorgeous turquoise color.

A red dragonfly we saw.  We have seen several different colors of dragonflies.

At the end of our hike was a small stream the kids enjoyed playing in.

Bekah after her hike.  Yes, that is mud all over her face from a fall she took during the hike.  I finally had to wipe it off myself.

It didn't take Andrew long to get down to his shorts to enjoy the stream.

Bekah was looking for tadpoles in the stream.

Andrew was jumping off the log bridge that crossed the river.

Andrew was looking for tadpoles, too.

Bekah was showing me one of the tadpoles she had found.

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew celebrated his ninth birthday in Papua New Guinea.  What that meant for him was celebrating 15 hours before he would in the States.  He loved it.

He anxiously waited for the cake and presents after lunch.

The present was hidden in the fancy white plastic wrapping paper.

POC has a tradition that when someone has a birthday, we all get to celebrate with cake!  They were even able to find cocoa to make Andrew's favorite- chocolate cake.  It was an extremely windy day, so trying to keep the candles lit long enough for him to blow them out was quite a trick.

He decided to mark his own spot on the cake.  One of those holes is not from a candle, but from a finger!

So, they cut his piece from the center of the cake.

My favorite picture of my two favorite guys!  Of course really Andrew was just trying to get closer to his present.

Like the fancy wrapping paper????  

Somehow we managed to send his birthday presents on to Ukarumpa, so they did not come with us to POC.  Tim & I had to try to find something for him on our trip to town.  That isn't as easy as it is in the States.  He and the boys have enjoyed his birthday present.

Now my baby is nine years old.  We never expected that we'd ever celebrate one of his birthdays overseas, and now we will be celebrating many of them here in PNG.

We are very grateful for the special parties he had before we left. He has enjoyed a special year, definitely one he will never forget!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Long Awaited Pictures

I know that many of you have been waiting to see pictures of our training here in Papua New Guinea.  We are in Madang, Papua New Guinea, completing our fourteen week Pacific Orientation Course.  It has been hot and humid here just 6 degrees below the equator.  Our campus is located up in the mountains, at about 1200 feet above sea level.  It is normally rainy season this time of year, but we've experienced very little rain.  Please pray for us to get the much needed rain!

Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

Our first stop in Papua New Guinea- Port Moresby International Airport

Bekah's big baby doll (being held by the Papua New Guinean) was a hit with the people in the airport.  They asked to have their picture taken with the baby doll and her, so I had to take one, too!

View from the plane as we headed to Madang.

The back of our transportation up the mountain to POC.  Andrew thought it was great to be able to ride on the luggage.  

Bekah is showing off!

The place we have our Friday night cookouts!  

The sign outside of our room welcoming us!

Bekah's "room" is just big enough for a twin bed and a little play space in the front.  Our "room" is on the other side of the 3/4 wall.  

The main part of our room- shelf, table and chairs, and of course, Andrew's bed.

Our "room"- which has just enough room around the bed to walk.

View from Andrew's bed.  Bekah's room is on the front.  That is our one closet for all four of us!

Our room is the other side of the short wall in the back.  That is Andrew's bed in back.

The courtyard at our dorm.  Those are two large water tanks that collect rain to provide us with clean drinking water.  

Someone forgot to tell Andrew that he isn't a little kid anymore...

Our first injury of the course- Andrew cut his head on a bucket shower.  (Pics to come later on that).  He wasn't too happy with his new "head gear".

This is a playhouse behind our dorm and the school area.  The kids love to play in here.

Tim & Bekah are getting ready for 

Andrew standing outside waiting for a hike.  

Tim took this incredible panorama from the area near our cookout area.  It is extremely beautiful and breathtaking! 

We'll try to post more pictures later!  We hope you enjoy.