Today, a year ago, was the first day that I set foot into Maweroro. I still remember that day – the excitement, the tightness of my stomach as I was about to meet the people whom I have been praying for and preparing to come to for 2 years. I remember how overwhelming that day was – and how there was one lady who continued to shake my hand vigorously, saying loudly “pare mesera, pare mesera” (nice lady, nice lady.) I remember that I got to laugh with them on the very first day, as I told them about my home language Afrikaans – they thought is sounded so strange and were fascinated by it.
Back then I knew no nDo, no names and faces, no ones home, no ones family, no ones gardens, no ones joys and hardships in life, no one’s day in – day out routines. But after a year of being here, it has become a home to me.
I’m grateful to be here and for the Lord’s sustaining grace throughout a year of village life. I’m grateful to be the one so privileged to come and act upon my desire, and, more importantly, God’s command to reach those with the Gospel who haven’t been reached yet. This work is very close to my heart, and I pray that the Lord may give me a fervent desire for His name to be praised and highly exalted among all people, and to fill my heart with a steadfast compassion for the lost.
So, thinking back about 1 year of village life, here are ten random things you might not know about general life here:
- Doing laundry: I can usually start my laundry batch at around 7:30am, when our solar light turns green and gives me the “thumbs up.” When I wash laundry in “wet season” (November through to April) I’m usually running outside at around 12pm to take my clothes off of the line because of the downpouring rain.
- My favorite village food is fried plantains, banana & cassava fritters and red pandanus with sweet potato… our neighbors also make the most delicious tomato, green bean and ginger stew. (Picture of my friend breaking apart the pieces of pandanus and of me licking the pestle)
- Our village is “chigger infested.” Chiggers are these small, nasty little bugs, that cannot be seen with the naked eye – but boy, do you feel them when they bite you. They itch like crazy. The only way to get rid of them is to jump in the shower, and throw all your clothes into your laundry bin.
- My four favorite village activities: to hike to our village’s surrounding hamlets, to eat and chat with people in their huts, going down to the soccer field on Saturdays to watch them play soccer, and to cut bamboo with them for building houses.
- Two of my least favorite things in the village: waking up from an earthquake… and then deciding whether I should jump up and start running towards the door. Having visitors come from other villages when they haven’t seen a white person before, and then they just stare at you – that’s never not awkward.
- We have a village bell. For meetings and village gatherings, it is a fast continuous hitting of the “kong-kong.” For the sad times of death, it is a slow hitting, with about a 10 second break inbetween each hit.
- Our trash has 3 destinations – down the hill for compost, down the hole for tins and non-burnable items, and in the fire for burnables.
- There are many interruptions throughout the day. In my Western world, where walls separates me and my neighbours, they are interruptions, because they are not an agreed upon appointment, scheduled well beforehand, at a specific time and place. But here, they are indeed sweet opportunities to interract with the people. I’ve been counting these last few days – it averaged out on 11 different “interruptions” per day. This includes anything from just people wanting to hang out, to washing people’s wounds, to people coming to sell food, to people coming to give food, to people asking for things (like paper, containers, the knife sharpener, a picture book to look at etc) to friends coming to share the latest “village update” etc.
- Long before someone is close enough for me to tell by their face who they are, I can tell my the color of their shirt or pants. Jayden, our little neighbour boy, always wears his blue shorts, and John always wears his red and yellow PNG shirt. Saru always wears her orange shirt.
- Then lastly, our people says it like it is. Cass wrote a blog post on that way back – one man is called “Miti” which means teeth, because he has big teeth. Another is called “Momasio” which means bald spot, as he accidentally got burned on his head as a baby. I suppose, since they don’t have mirrors, that they’ve decided to be one another’s mirror, and they’ll gladly be yours too!