Thursday, May 8, 2014

Life in Port Moresby

Now that we have shown pictures about the highlights of our week at the Bible College in Port Moresby in previous blogs, let me end our blog of PNG by telling about life in Port Moresby.

Port Moresby certainly is a more modern city than Lae. Better roads, less garbage piles, 
neater gardens, cleaner city, and people drove cars as well as trucks.

However, there still are poor areas as well. 
A whole community of poor homes are built on stilts in the bay.

Beautiful countryside! Many hills and lush vegetation

Narrow, winding roads make for scenic drives

A lovely stop on the way home from church

Crossing a bridge on the way home from church, we saw a popular spot for 
washing dishes, doing laundry, and downstream, washing trucks and buses.

This is allowed!  This actually is the other way people travel from Port Moresby to Beretete (which we wrote about last time) - they use what's called a PMV and hitch a ride for a fee. 

A common sign: No drinking, no smoking, no chewing buai allowed

What a whole different world here! It is partly a third world country with rich people (mostly foreigners) living alongside the really poor. All day long, from before dawn to late at night, people are walking everywhere, bringing food to market to sell (carrying it on their heads), or bringing it home, or walking for hours to and from work or school, or just hanging around. So much poverty as many people live solely off the land. They don't eat salad, and the greens they grow in the garden have to be cooked, something like bok choi. They only eat the fruit that is in season. Bananas and papayas were ready now, so that is the fruit we ate. 

A fresh papaya, grown here on site

Most women wear long skirts all the time, and their tops (Mary blouses) do not have to match. Everyone goes barefoot or wears thongs (flip flops). All the Papuans have dark brown skin and black curly hair (as opposed to Asians who have straight hair). They get hot too, but somehow they handle the heat better than we do. I guess their skin is hardier than ours! Most people never see a dentist (so have poor or missing teeth), or an eye doctor (hardly anyone wears glasses), or a doctor, unless extremely necessary. They have no electricity in their homes, no water, except perhaps a cold water tap somewhere nearby, though most have to go to a stream or river to collect water, wash themselves, their dishes, and their laundry. They need no coats, sweaters, gloves, scarves, shoes, socks, or boots. Most do not own cars or trucks or computers. They know no different way of life. They are happy people. Yet we were surprised how many use cellphones. That modern piece of technology doesn't fit with their traditional way of living, but somehow many people do get one, many on the black market. To recharge their phones, they use batteries.

The lady in the burgundy dress is making a bilum (a bag). She is rolling strings together on her leg to weave into the bilum. The lady on the left is Odette Douma, wife of one of the teachers here.

Front side of the Parliament Building in Port Moresby

Just off the road from Port Moresby to the southern end of the Kokoda Trail is Bomana, the largest War Cemetery in the Pacific. It contains almost 4000 graves, mostly from Australian soldiers, 
sailors, and airmen, many of whom died fighting in New Guinea in 1942.

Practising for the Anzac Day Dawn Service (like our Remembrance Day) on April 25

Tree-kangaroos in a nearby park

We so enjoyed our stay with Henry and Rita Versteeg, and appreciate their zeal, love and dedication for the work of teaching and preaching the gospel at the Bible College and in the Reformed Churches in the area. Thank you for giving us a first-hand experience of life and work there!
Now off to Tasmania......

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