Wednesday, June 8, 2011

PNG- first week update

Well I am here in Papua New Guinea, and even though I have only been here a few days, I have gotten to experience so many things.  I have taken many pictures, but the internet is too slow to upload them, so I will try again another time. 

First of all, the trip: I had flights from Rochester, Detroit, Los Angeles, Auckland, Brisbane, and Port Moresby.  When I was in flight between California and New Zealand it went from Wednesday night and then it was Friday morning…It killed some trying to figure out what time it felt like to me and how long I had really been in the air.  Time kind of seems to stand still! It went really smooth, though, and what a blessing my luggage made it through all the security and weight checks and arrived with me all the way to Mount Hagen!  Well…that is, almost all of my luggage.  I got paged in the Brisbane airport, to come to the transfer desk.  I went over and they said, “Are you Ashley King?”  I said, “yes.”  They said, “Oh we were expecting a man.  Do you have a chainsaw in your luggage?”  Well, to make a long story short, yes I did have Brandon’s chain saw in my luggage, and turns out a used chain saw should never have been allowed to come in the first place.  It ended up in the bomb room in Australia and they told me I needed to go there, also, but I couldn’t because my flight was boarding and I didn’t have a visa so I couldn’t have anyway.  So…my luggage all arrived minus a chain saw. 
I stayed overnight my first night in Port Moresby.  I had a wonderful couple named Pastor Holmes and Priscilla Taco meet me at the airport and show me around and then drive me to the Mapang missionary home.  I was exhausted and it was the middle of the night for me, so I tried to stay awake as long as I could, I had my first experience with kaukau (cow-cow) which is a very popular sweet potato here.  I could barely sleep because I was really excited to be in PNG and so close to seeing everyone…or maybe it was because I was sharing a room with a Japanese woman that hadn’t said a word to me and I didn’t know if my stuff was safe…either way morning finally came and I was ready for my last flight to Mt Hagen!
They gave me a window seat, and then took it away so I was crowded next to a screaming baby for my last flight.  I could not understand the Pidgin they were speaking, but no worries because they were just saying where the exits and oxygen bags were and I had heard it so many times!  When our little plane landed I saw New Guineans all over the tarmac.  Here it is a novelty to watch the planes come and go and it is even more exciting when a white person lands!  I was enjoying the view and all the people, and then suddenly I saw a little white skinned lady video taping and a little blonde haired 2 year old in the window!!  It was Becky and Kezia.  Becky looks amazing after having a baby just 2 months ago!  There were a lot of big hugs and more big hugs.  Kezia has not forgotten how much she loved her Yee-yee so she wouldn’t let me put her down.  Keith was so much bigger than I expected and just adorable as he was in the pictures!  The trip didn’t seem so long after re-uniting with my family.  J  I can’t believe how well Brandon speaks Pidgin, within 10 minutes of me landing he was networking and got offered a landscaping job at a cafĂ©!  The next morning at church, people were telling me that they enjoy working for Brandon and that they appreciate his leadership and how he interacts with them. 

About an hour into my stay we headed with Brad Wells to a bridge opening.  I was going farther into the village part of PNG than Brandon had even ever been!   It was very neat to see them in their costumes,  and watch them celebrate the bridge opening.  They loved to feel the kid’s skin and hair.  I took a lot of pictures and videos.  It was all great until I had to cross the bridge.  The bridge was designed to “safely” get the kids across the river to their school house.  I had gotten behind the rest of the group because I had been taking pictures.  Well I got up to the bridge and all the sudden started panicking.   It was like stepping onto a national Geographic bridge…picture a rubber balancing beam.  It was 3 feet wide, but that didn’t really matter because it was swinging and swaying, it was filled with people,  there was NO RAILING and it was at least 20 feet over a raging river.  My camera was throwing me off balance and there was no way to catch my balance….and I broke the bridge rule: “Don’t look down.”  Well I looked down.  And froze.  I was terrified! Did I mention there was NO RAILING?!? I kept picturing me and the camera floating downstream.  I didn’t plan to die my first day there.  Worse than all this, the natives that were crowded behind me on the bridge were laughing hysterically at me and making the bridge sway even more.  A native man finally came and rescued me and helped me across.  I was still shaking, but I was very glad to find out once I made it across that I was not the only one scared out of my mind to cross the bridge.  Becky had handed over Keith to a native and Brandon, Manny, and Kelly were also scared.  Like Brandon said, “it was the bridge opening” so the bridge wasn’t exactly tried and true!  On the way back over the bridge the natives all thronged to watch us cross and laugh at the white people.
The rest of the bridge opening was so neat…cultural dancing, presentations, and tribal ceremony.  They served us a dinner on giant banana leaves.  We just made it back to the vehicle before a thunder storm.
Our first dinner there, we went to the “squash club” and enjoyed a wonderful meal.  I had chicken schnitzel which is breaded chicken with gravy over it.  Yummy!  Then we came home and opened the tote with all of the gifts and supplies for the Kings.  Brandon now has 4 chain saw blades with no chain saw. 
Sunday was church- the Wells’ church building is beautiful.  I got to meet the church members and everyone was trying to teach me some Pidgin words.  Brandon would introduce me as, “sister bilong me, Ashley.”  I got to meet Sandra who is 16 and deaf and I talked to her Mom and got to teach Sandra how to spell her name and sign church, pastor, and Bible.  It was so neat! Her brother told me later that she was going around signing her name over and over. J I wore a “Mary-blouse” and Lap-lap that a friend, Ollie and her mother gave me. 
When we got home from church we had Keren’s  lik-lik(little) birthday party, because her big one got postponed until next week because Kez and Keren have been sick.  We enjoyed stir fry and cupcakes.  Yummy!!  J  I discovered that the eggs and milk (in a sealed package) don’t stay in the fridge!
Monday was a day of rest.  I went swimming with the Gades’ girls and caught up on my pictures, and we drew pictures for Grammie.  Keren and I had a picnic lunch in the beautiful sunshine.  Kez has a 102 degree fever, so she has been very lethargic these last 2 days. I also taught Keren to play Jesus Loves Me on her new piano.  She is so excited to learn the piano!  At night I went with Brandon to institute.  He taught Genesis and Personal Evangelism.  He really does good teaching in Pidgin and making sure they understand.  It seemed like a great group of men ready to learn the Word.  Some of the students come from far away to hear the Bible taught.  I was distracted by some of the largest bugs I had ever seen.  Started with a huge cockroach on the floor, then I looked up and saw an active, large spider above my head.  Moths started pouring in, attracted to the light.  I don’t like moths.  I thought I didn’t like moths before I met PNG moths….they are very large.  At least I thought they were big until the cicadia bug flew in.  It was the size of a small bat and horribly disgusting.  Especially when Douglas caught the cicadia and moths and put them in his pocket to roast for later!!  :P
Tuesday the 7th, Manny and Kelly headed back home so we went to the airport to see them off.  There was a very large house-cry (funeral) going on at the airport.  Tons of people from the person who died’s village come to see the casket fly in.  The mourning lasts for days, and if you do not join in the mourning they suspect that you poisoned the person that died or something! 
The rest of the day we cleaned the house from head to toe to get rid of fleas that somehow got in the house.  We listen to the radio that is coming from KBBN (Brad Well’s radio station).  We had Kingston and Ollie for dinner.  Kingston has been disciple by Brandon and will be getting baptized this Sunday.  At night we played a game with the Gades and Taylors, missionaries that are staying at the Mt Hagen Missionary Home that Brandon manages.
Wednesday was Keren’s birthday!!  We started celebrating very early…around 6:45.  I would have celebrated more if it had been a little later. J The girls have been sick since I got here, especially Kez.  Today everyone is sick, I don’t have what they all have yet, but I had a very bad day with my stomach.  Poor little Keith is coughing and has a fever.  When I was outside in the morning someone was at the gate with a chicken delivery.  I got Brandon and then watched them unload 15 boxes of “chicken projects.”  52 live chicks in each box.  They are going to be raised for the Pastor’s Conference in September.  Brandon spent the greater part of the day delivering chickens to people who had volunteered to raise them.  I went to the market for my first time today.  I can’t wait to get photos down there, they way everyone sells their fruits and vegetables is so neat, they stack their produce up in little piles.  We bought bananas, green beans, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and guavas for around 7 US dollars.  I also bought my first Bilum which is the purses that they all wear, even the men!  I got a red, black, and white one, of course! J  Today was also Keren’s first official piano lesson. She is a fast learner!  We stayed home from church on Wednesday night because everyone was not feeling good, but we did listen to a sermon through the radio station that comes through the cell phone.  

That's all for now!!  


  1. Wow, that is a great story! I am glad you found the time to write that all up. I am sure I would have been petrified at the bridge, too.

    Hope y'all feel better soon! Please pass my greetings to Brandon.

  2. So good to hear what is happening with you! We are praying for you and can't wait to see your pictures. We are praying that you will have time to spend with Sandra as well! God bless, Mrs. G