“Be in Goroka next week” they said
“Sure, no problem!” Hah!
A baby, a mother cat, five kittens
Public Works packing crates
Crazy packing and cleaning
Cat and kittens to the high school
Only a small grey kitten to join us
Guilty consciences for decades.
Turns out the choice for the District Inspector of Education
Was a chair, executive
Or a new District Clerk
On such whims do life events turn…
Daughter 2 could have been a Morobe Miss
Not a little Gehuka[i].
Reconnecting with friends
Making new ones
Overwhelmed by facilities
From trade stores to Steamies and BPs[ii]
Boggle-eyed we were, but Harrods they were not! Ehwah!
Mountains replace coastal jungles
Refreshing cool nights and jumpers prevail
The perfect climate at 5000+ feet near the equator.
A new home – another government issued AR20
A village behind the back fence
A squatters’ camp nearby
A packing crate for a playpen.
Behind me a voice says
“Missus mi laik wok”
Jump three feet…”no gat”.
Sunday drives to Kabiufa
The SevenDe[iii] mission farm and high school
Baby caulis, broccoli and fresh vegies – such a treat.
A foam esky to the in-laws in coastal Kavieng
Returns with cray tails in exchange
Bringing popularity with our friends…
Crayfish curry and mah-jong evenings.
PNG’s Self-government is heralded by
Crashing bin lids and tooting car horns
Fears averted – this is not African independence.
A new house near the hospital
Brings the whop of helicopter blades
Ferrying a wounded warrior with a spear sticking out.
Daughter goes “walkabout”
Our hearts pound with fear – we’re on a local PMV[iv] route
Found! “Em I orait masta”[v]. Yes, thankfully.
A resident “visitor” while on leave
Peruses our underwear and clothes and
Leaves “souvenirs” in the bathroom
A sense of invasion.
Many adventures come to a close after three years….
Next stop, “be in Gerehu next week”.
giaman – to lie or trick, false, a joke
guria – an earthquake – we had our share in Goroka
glas bilong lukluk – mirror
gumi – inner tube (of tyre)
“going finish” – leaving PNG for good. Always a sad time.
[i] The local clan of the Goroka district.
[ii] Steamies was Steamships and BPs the local name for Burns Philp.
[iii] Seventh Day Adventist mission and high school.
[iv] A PMV is a Public Motor Vehicle – kind of a basic, very crowded bus aka truck.
[v] “It’s okay boss”.