This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.
Public Servants and expats in PNG
Were provided with housing
Fibro external walls mostly
Louvres in all the windows for the breeze
Basic furniture and appliances
Maintenance by the Public Works Department.
Standard designs meant we always knew
Where all the rooms were –
No confusion over bathroom trips.
No matter that we would have the same layout
The residents’ personality was displayed
In their own possessions and styling
Visiting new friends could be quite fascinating
Looking at books and souvenirs.
The size house you were allocated,
And the location,
Often depended on status as well as
Family size and general availability.
We had three houses in Alotau
Two were three-bedroom AR16s
High set with concrete underneath for entertaining
Or just a cool breeze and an evening drink.
Our final house was an AR10, two bedrooms, low-set
Quite the pain in the Wet Season with an infant’s nappies.
All had slow combustion stoves for heating and cooking
Chopping wood was part of the day’s ritual.
In North Goroka our home was a highset AR20
The laundry in the open downstairs, dirt “floor”
Baby’s playpen was a packing case near me.
Twin tub washing machines meant lengthy laundry sessions
No wonder, I suppose, that many expats had local house staff
I feared that if I started married life like that I’d never readjust.
We moved to West Goroka just the week before #2 child was born
A Dillingham, three bedrooms, low set
Across from the hospital and on the PMV route
Self-government came while we lived there.
Our move to Gerehu in Port Moresby
Came with an M-type house, three bedrooms, low set
Trapdoors in the bedroom required a bookcase on top
A favourite point of entry for raskols
We acquire an automatic machine and a water bed
Not the government issued metal frame
We must be grown-ups now.
Neighbours became good friends.
Some now deceased, others are like family.