Sunday, October 19, 2008


Thank you for your prayers for our 3-day hike.  It was a great experience and hard work – the mountains here are steep!  There were 8 of us in our group, including 2 national guides, Delores and Mohawk.  Much of our 1st day was spent hiking through the jungle.  It poured much of the way but the jungle canopy is so thick we didn’t get too wet- we were already soaked with sweat anyway. We brought a water filter with us and used it several times as we came across streams and between the two of us we drank several liters.


Our plan was to spend the night at 2 villages, Radaba and Betelgut.  When we came to the first house in Radaba we were invited to sit down under their covered area out of the rain.   They offered us the juice from a green coconut which was really refreshing.  They had a one month old baby which the ladies took turns holding and the men looked at the pigs and chickens they had in their yard.  The only sign of any type of modern material was an aluminum pot and the clothes they wore.  Their house was built entirely out of materials found in the jungle except for some nails holding some of the boards together. 


One member of our group was recovering from a stomach bug and became very weak along the way – we went very slowly and took a lot of breaks and didn’t arrive in the village until 4:30.  Shortly before we arrived at the home of our host family another group member used his bush knife for a support and slipped cutting two fingers  deeply – one to the bone.  There was a nurse in the group and she scrambled to dig dressing out of her bag.  Meanwhile our guide, Mohawk, stripped bark from a certain tree.  He scraped of the inner part, made a paste and packed it in the cuts to lessen the pain then used strips of this bark to bind the wound.  (We are never ceased to be amazed at the amount of practical skills the people here have.)


A few years ago cell phones were made available in PNG so we were able to call our training center and let them know our team member needed stitches.  The directors sent 3 workmen to meet our injured friend and our guide and another team member halfway.  They hiked back in the dark and he was stitched up by the local aid post doctor.


Our host family, Panu, Bernadette and their 3 children were excited to meet us.   Several other members of their clan or line showed up later and they cooked the rice and canned meat we brought.  We sat around on the veranda and storied until about 10:00.  Our Tok Pisin is getting better so it is easier to have a conversation with the people here.  It was good visiting with them and realizing how much they like to just sit around the lantern or fire and just talk.  We slept to the noise of pigs snorting directly underneath us.  Their house is built on poles so it is about 3 feet off the ground and the pigs and roosters run free. 


The children go to school in Kamba a village a few hours away.  They said they leave home by 5 am to be able to walk to school by 8:00.  The family spends any money they may get selling Buai (Betel nut) and food at the market on kerosene, salt or clothes.  Any money leftover they spend on school fees to send their kids to school.  Vanilla and cocoa used to be big cash crops but the selling price dropped way down so some don’t bother to harvest it anymore. 


The following describes the pictures:


Laura holding a young baby

Our host family at Radabad

Paul asking our assignment questions to one of the older men

Paul with a Kapul that the village kids caught.  It was kind of sad thinking they would kill it and cook it for dinner after we left.

The house where we slept

Laura putting a bandage on a boy that had a cut on his head from his brother accidentally with his bush knife

Our group just before leaving on the hike

Paul swinging on a giant vine hanging from the jungle canopy

Paul pumping water for the group









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