By Lori Witham
Returning after six-months in the States, it was almost as if I was seeing this hot and humid South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea for the first time. For the first two weeks while my senses were keenly aware of the differences from life in America, I jotted down everything that caught my attention. Here’s what I wrote:
While at my house, I’m always sweaty; I’m always wearing either flip flops (“thongs”) or bare feet. If I am outside for any length of time, my clothes and feet get dirty (mostly the fault of my dogs.) I got an infection on my toe within the first week. I’m aware that if I use too much water, the rainwater water tank shared by the Duplex neighbor will empty quickly. But I’m drinking lots of water throughout the day so as not to become dehydrated.
I have a fourteen foot papaya tree at my door that wasn’t there seven months ago, with six small papayas already growing on it! I’m hanging my clothes outside to dry, though it’s taking longer with it being the rainy season. I’m buying fish, honey, bananas, tea, and sugar all grown in PNG.
I hear roosters crowing almost any hour of the day or night. In the mornings I’m listening to the missionary children staying next door, being homeschooled by their mother and grandmother. I hear cheering on the neighborhood road early in the morning, and out the window I see a large group of college kids marching against corruption. In the back yard, over the fence in the neighbor’s yard, a national boy is shinnying up a palm tree to collect betelnuts. Finally, when I go grocery shopping at my usual store, two young cashiers recognize me and welcome me back from America!
Lori is the administrator of Publications and serves through typesetting scripture.