Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

As promised, here’s the sign post – complete with captions under the photos (since my own Pa complained about my wayward ways last time).

Papua New Guinea is, in the rare case that you were previously unenlightened, a commonwealth country – which means (among other things) that we drive on the left here and walk on the right.  And when it has rained hard for a few days, we don’t walk or drive at all – we sink.

For something less than fifty dollars, I can get my own PNG license, but the licensing place burned to the ground a few weeks ago, so I’m out of luck at the moment.

Here we see the typical Ukarumpa road sign.  Partly unreadable, sure, but no one around here cares.  In fact, the way you can tell if someone is a local or not is if they use street names.  If they do, they haven’t been here long enough to realize street names are completely ignored.  Who needs street names (the argument goes) if mail comes to PO Boxes and every house has a lot number?  And, as sad as it sounds, I’m not really sure what my own road is named – I think it starts with an “S”…

Speaking of lot numbers, here’s what they look like (above).  One of my students tripped over mine a while ago and ripped it clean out of the ground.  I stuck it back in, of course, but on particularly wet days, it sags something fierce.

This one, I think, means there’s a turtle with a squarish tail and squarish head approaching.  They are, I’m told, carnivorous.  Actually, it just means there’s a speed bump.  But carnivorous turtles could be just on the other side.

That’s right.  Like all good towns, we have a volunteer fire department.

For those of you who think Ukarumpa sounds suspiciously like OompaLoompa, I offer this sign with no further commentary.

And finally, here’s the sign for our goodly clinic.  Why there’s an icon of man doing a jig at the bottom is, I fear, still unclear to me.

6 thoughts on “Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

  1. Is that blood (red paint) on the clinic sign?! Hahaha! A bit for the dramatic!
    Love the first “Columbia St.” sign photo:)
    Miss you. Love.

  2. Thank you for submitting to the English convention of captions under photos. Those of us who reside anywhere other than Antartica appreciate it. Clearly, you have missed the whole “name your own street” opportunity in Ukarumpa. Civil engineers who laid out the town intentionally left the steet signs blank so aspiring calligraphers and signists could express their creativity through this innovative social program.
    For example, your street was originally designated as “South” whatever you decide to name it. Grab some black paint, a brush and go express yourself!

    Sure, this program is not without its dangers, as competancy testing is obviously not being administered (see the Oumpa Elementary School sign, where the sign painter was apparently “two tired” to look up the correct spelling of “established” in either English or Tok Pisin).

    Some other possibilities to consider as to the meaning of the “carnivorous turtle ahead” sign:

    You are now entering the Northern Hemisphere
    Great spot for a sunset photo, just ahead
    Restaurant ahead that serves dinner under one of those fancy silver domes
    Danger: cannonball embedded in road ahead

    As for your lot number sign problem, I recommend that, for safety sake, you place a sign 3 feet on all sides of yours that says “careful; sign ahead”. 3 feet ahead of those signs, another identical sign, and so on …and so on. The number of signs you will need will depend on the size of your yard.

  3. Thanks for all the photos!! I am learning much from your blogs and enjoying your experience vicariously. I read your Dad’s remarks above and find them hysterically funny, of course!! Regarding the “carnivorous turtle ahead” sign…the first thing I thought of when I saw it was “Amish Community Ahead”. LOL ~ Anyway…love you so much and continue to pray for all who are there in the name of our Lord doing God’s work. :o) Keep the blogs coming !! Aunt Cindie

  4. Or perhaps the “carnivorous turtle” sign actually means “speed HUMPS ahead” (there is a difference, you know, and some people can be picky about it!)


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