Ryan and Elna Mitchell
We’ve been living in Mawerero for a month. During the first two weeks, we focussed on getting our home ready for ‘normal’ life here – building new stairs, building desks, organising things inside the house… The plan was to start language learning (completing our Tok Pisin learning) after that.
But then our inverter broke – which meant everyday life was more complicated than we planned. We need AC (alternating current) for several important things: internet (for the whole team), water heater, washing machine, fridge/freezer. We now have a new inverter, and it has been installed, so our fridge and freezer are running and we all took hot showers that night. But it is very hot – which means there might still be a problem somewhere… You can pray with us as we troubleshoot again.
Some fun glimpses into village life:
- Porches – these are seen almost like communal property. So our porch is often filled with kids playing, or people just sitting around. Our house is at the edge of the village, so we do not have much thoroughfare. And kids sometimes get chased away by adults. But especially on weekends, there are usually a couple of people.
- Family life – I’m still having a hard time remembering names at all, and it is especially hard to figure out family relationships, as it is not normal for families to hang out together outside the home. Children are generally allowed to wander and go play (even very little kids) without parental supervision, so even placing them with parents is challenging. I’m hoping to walk around the village in the coming week and getting a firmer grip on who fits where.
- Walking. Or falling? – I thought I can walk. Turns out, I can only walk on flat, dry surfaces. The first time we walked to the waterfall, we all made it without falling. But we all slipped at some point, and somehow managed to stay upright… Just after we arrived at the waterfall, some boys (around 8-10y old) came walking down the trail – on stilts! I am amazed almost daily at how the little kids run on the slopes. And if they do fall, they fall well – they do a graceful roll and get right back to running. Guess we have a lot to learn! The beautiful view below is from a house higher up on our ridge – see if you can spot our house…
- Askims – It is acceptable and normal to ask for things here. Even if you think the answer will be no – it is OK to just take a chance anyway. This is particularly challenging for the kids to negotiate. People ask for any number of things – and some are small things that we can happily share. For example the boxes our supplies come in. But other ‘askims’ create tricky situations. Our kids can only take certain toys outside – we are happy for them to take marbles out, but only when they are actually out there playing. Sebastian also lets kids take turns with his light sabers… (These also come back in the house if he comes in.) And Amelia has a little bag of building blocks that little ones play with. But often, kids would come knocking asking not for friends to come and play, just for toys.
- Kids – Our kids are continuing with school almost like normal, despite plenty of interruptions… They have Tok Pisin lessons three times a week with Amelia, and are both able to communicate enough to enjoy running games (and lightsaber fights!).
Solar system – Ryan spent the whole of yesterday running tests to try and find the culprit. So at this point, we are not sure if it is really a problem, or if it is just running warmer than expected and we need to add an external fan to the system to cool it. You can pray that we’ll get clarity, and have a fully functioning system soon.
Language learning and culture acquisition – with all the interruptions, we have not started formal language learning yet. We’ve enjoyed learning about the culture, both directly from the people and from our teammates. Please pray for sharp minds as we apply them to finishing up our Tok Pisin learning and then starting learning nDo. Amelia is planning on doing her Stage One nDo test soon, and both Zach and Cass are wrapping up their nDo learning soon.
Literacy – we are hoping to start the first literacy classes this year already! Please pray that we’ll be able to get everything in place for that. We’ll post more details as we get closer to the time.
Praise God with us for the relationships that the Canns and Amelia have already built here in the village. While the Yates were here, the leaders gave Smedly some feedback – we were all so encouraged to hear that the Canns’ presence in Mawerero has been a blessing to the people. Pray with us that we will continue to build relationships.
Soft hearts – as we approach the chronological teaching, please pray that God would prepare the hearts of the people of Mawerero. Just this week, a man from another village drowned – a very real reminder that people are perishing without the Gospel.
We hope to send out more news soon!