Date: 6/5/04
Location: Pacific Orientation Course, Madang, Papua New Guinea

The airplane that carried us from Los Angeles to New Zealand and Australia
Four long tiring flights... and we are finally here in POC (Pacific Orientation Course). The first plane ride was about 12 hours long. When we finally arrived in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, I was surprised at how small the airport was. The passport/visa check, baggage claim, customs, and check-in counter were all in one room about the size of a gym. Twice, the power went out. Customs was also quite unconcerned about a lot of security. When we went to go to the domestic gate, however, we had to go through security twice - the second check was about 50 feet away from the first.

Inside Port Moresby International Airport
When we had walked from the international terminal to the domestic one, "nationals" all up and down the sidewalk watched us go by. We met up with some other SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) people and sat down to enjoy the breeze while waiting to leave for Madang. Two little national boys came over, perhaps intending to steal something, but we were friendly to them and they were friendly in return. I wanted to say a few things in Tok Pisin (the local trade language) to them, but I was afraid I didn't know enough (I had learned some basic Tok Pisin from my friend Tabitha, who lived in PNG for eight years).

Boarding at Port Moresby

View from the road to
Later, we boarded the plane to Madang from the ground. Inside, the plane was hot and smelled like human sweat. Most of the passengers were nationals. In Madang, more SIL people met us and we loaded our luggage and rode up a curvy dirt road to POC, located about 1000 feet up the mountain. We drove along the North Coast Road to get to the dirt road, and many nationals were walking up and down, the women often with their bilums (string bags). The dirt road journey began with about eight national men jumping in the back of our pickup-type truck, and then down to a small river, which we proceeded to drive through. Usually the road would have scared me - no guard rails, bouncy, etc, but in PNG it fit the setting I expected, so I was not worried. Mosquitoes are some concern (malaria is prevalent in PNG), and it is raining hard outside! Lord, please protect me from sickness and renew my strength for tomorrow. Amen.


Fording the stream


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