A Day in the Life…

I’ve been meaning to spend a whole day with my camera for weeks now, and today I finally pulled through.  So, without much ado, I give to you A Fairly-Typical Day in Ukarumpa.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are Market days, which for me means breakfast (among other things).  And what healthier breakfast three days a week than homemade Papua New Guinean donuts?  None, says I.

From there I walk back home on the lovely dirt roads and say “Moning!” to all the passersby (whilst merrily munching away).  And then it’s a shower, some dish washing (occasionally), and off to school.  This lovely place:

The English department has its own offices, because we’d rather not associate with the math or science people if we don’t have to (but not really).  Here’s my desk at the far right:

My first class of the day starts at 8:35, and it’s a lively (and, as you’ll note, very diverse) bunch:

Those are my ninth graders, and as far as I can tell, they don’t take kindly to photo-ops.

I have a bit of a break after this, which I often use to head out and about (unless my paper grading is behind the times).  Today, I traipsed over to the local store – a place with all the different types of canned tuna you could wish for, but no lasagna noodles.  Really, there’s no telling what the store will have from month to month – they say it all depends on what came in the last shipment.  As far as I can tell, the last shipment was mostly Beef Crackers and Blueberry Oreos.

Upon my return home, I typically make do with my Market pickings.  Today, 10 o’clock was Guacamole Hour, which happens about once for every three Pineapple Hours:

With that, I’m back to school, grading papers and preparing for my next two classes before leaving campus for lunch:

Lunch, on the best days, is always served with GoGo cola:

Then it’s tenth grade literature, with another fine bunch of folks:

We’re in Animal Farm right now, so one of my eager young minds is reading Chapter 4 aloud to the class from my favorite rocking chair.

A brief break follows tenth, which I used today to read Larry Taunton’s account of the latest Dawkins / Lennox debate on Twitter.  Let it be known that I am no friend to Twitter, but this was a very fine use of it, if I do say so myself.

What follows is an altogether untraditional class called Creative Writing, a class with students from grades 8 through 12 (and nine of them altogether).  Today I gave them each a different opening line, and had them all start stories that made use of them.

The school-day over, I go home and seclude myself in my room for two hours, where I spend the time writing at a desk I’ve designated just for that purpose:

Should you want to know, I’m currently working on a book called One Could Do Worse, and it starts like this:

The first thing he always looked for, upon arriving at a new home, was a proper tree to climb.  This would be his tenth arrival, and at this point in his life he could remember only three good trees.  But in front of Eddie Cogburn, on this otherwise unremarkable day, was the fourth.

After that, I either grade papers, read, have friends over, or prepare for the next day, or blog, or all five – but on Fridays, I go to Hamburger Night.  I’ve mentioned it before, but this time I have pictures.  The first is of one of my Creative Writers scooping out some ice-cream for me:

The next are from the rambunctious game of Risk that followed.  I, of course, set up camp in New Guinea and nearly won because of it.  I did not, however, achieve world domination in the end.  But the New Guineans, you’ll be pleased to know, fought long and hard:

And as my day draws to an end, as the last light becomes unlit, most of yours (though it’s odd to think it) have really just begun.

10 thoughts on “A Day in the Life…

  1. Nice! This was one of my favorite posts to date – probably due to the fact that there were a bunch of pictures (which required me to read less) and because it followed your regular day in PNG. I busted out laughing at the donut and beef cracker comments. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Moning! ……and happy one month anniversary in PNG! Seems like you’ve been gone a lot longer. On behalf of the visually inclined portion of your readership, thank you for the plethora of pictures. Speaking of pictures, did you notice that one of your 9th graders is possibly a vampire? The 5th from the right didn’t show up in your photo…..Eddie Cogburn and I look forward to the conclusion of your book.

  3. Thank you, Alan! The pictures are awesome, and it’s fun to see a day in PNG! Your book sounds wonderful; I look forward to reading it one day! The donut salesman looks so friendly with his kind smile, and the donuts look delicious! I love the GOGO Colas!

  4. I enjoyed your photos! I laughed when I saw the teacher’s desks because i saw a huge difference between the one to the right and the one to the left it. It was only after I laughed at this that I read you were the well-organized fellow on the right. :) Perhaps those two spaces show each person’s personality, or the difference between a new teacher and an oldy.

  5. one month really??? seems like 3. The pics were so helpful in imaging your life there. Don’t forget send a pic of Alan T once in a while. (this is Helen using Joel’s laptop)

  6. is that rhubarb i see? are you still trying to make something using it? brave soul.

    i love seeing your life in pictures. in fact, (since you have so much free time, NOT)why don’t you ‘write’ a picture book “my life in pictures” or “Ukarumba Images: a photographic journal of life in PNG”. no words are allowed other than a short description under each photo. after all, on it’s own a picture says a thousand words…..this could be your longest book ever…without all the typing, editing, proof-reading, etc. then again, i tend to have a fierce love of photography which others may not possess. it probably would not be your best seller.

    we love your posts, and even though we do not comment every day, that is no indication of how much you are in our thoughts.

    praying for your continued peace of mind and safety.

    keep those cards and letters comin’, folks. (you’re too young to get that one, i fear.)

  7. 1. Shout out to donuts and Go Go! Awesome and quite tasty. 2. i was quite impressed by the neatness of your desks…well done. 3. Your granny rocking chair still makes me laugh and shake my head. 4. And you wonder why I thought you only ate rhubarb and pineapple. 5 …go gala “ice-cream” and finally 6. How is your book coming along?


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