Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Tale of Hockey, Piranhas, and Bacon

Sometimes, I forget what to communicate (always distressing for a person whose livelihood revolves around enabling communication). I forget that what is normal for me might not even cross your mind... (and there's no reason it should, unless I tell you!). So, I’m going to try to paint a picture of what it’s like to go on home assignment (and why I might find it tricky at times to explain it all!)

It all starts when a Girl (that’s me) leaves Warm-Earth Land and somehow traverses across a great and terrible crevasse to arrive in Ice Land.

Ice Land (image public domain)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

You're pregnant!

The little old woman stared at the white man in shock. He must be a ghost, come back from the grave--after all, he just gave her a prophesy!! She was going to become pregnant!

The white man visiting the remote village for the first time was confused at the great uproar. Hadn't he just said nanterane or hello? Alas, he actually said ne antegahane which essentially means, you're pregnant! Despite the spelling differences, the two words sound very similar when they're said quickly...he just accented the wrong syllable!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig (an FAQ)

As the nursery rhyme says, soon it's time for me to jiggity-jig on homeward! As I hop around the globe, I know it can be confusing to keep track of where I'm going and what I'm doing next--and now it's time for "home assignment!" Here are a few common questions that have recently come up—please feel free to ask more in the comment section.

Ukarumpa (my PNG home), looking down from a mountain (photo by Carl Campbell)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

There's an App for that?

Cell phone towers are springing up all around PNG!
photo by Rebekah Drew

“Here, give me the phone. I know what to do!”

My housemate Jessie reached across the table for my ringing mobile phone (or just mobail as we say here). She clicked it on and grinned at me, “Hello, you have reached Goroka Rubbish Removal. For a pick-up of your rubbish, please press 1. For an analysis of rubbish, please press 2, for...” She looked at me. “They hung up!”

We doubled over, laughing until we were crying. And then the phone rang again. Time to try again! “Welcome to the PNG Tax Service. To be audited, please press 1...”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lessons in Terror from a Housedog

Nothing epitomizes fear quite like Buddy in the middle of a rainstorm.

The other day, we had another one of our monster rainstorms—the kind that come every afternoon (and morning...and night...recently we’ve had record rains) and remind me yes, you do live on a tropical island and where suddenly, it seems quite plausible that the entire earth could be flooded by 40 days of rain, and in fact, we really ought to be buying stock in our local ark-building business.

You know, this could be us... (image from