Because I can’t possibly fit everything that happened in the past week into one reasonably readable post, I have broken things down to the alphabet. I would have started with “A”, but there’s far too much to say about the letter “A” at present, and that would have defeated the purpose of keeping things concise.
Bridges: Last week, the high school headed off to their yearly student retreat some two hours away. It took place in a lovely place called Goroka, where (as far as I can tell) a great deal of PNG’s coffee is produced. Things were complicated, though, by a nearby bridge. Since just after I arrived, we’ve been hearing rumors of a collapsing bridge nearby… and unfortunately, it all but collapsed just a few days before we were meant to cross it. To be clear, it didn’t collapse, it just sunk ten feet or so into the opposite bank. Great crowds of PNG folks started working on it, and continue to do so, but by the time Sunday rolled around, there was no chance of our cars making it over the final hump.
As such, we opted for the Ferry Plan (not to be confused, by the way, with the Fairy Plan). A dozen vans transported 7 dozen students and 2 dozen adults to the bridge, where a dozen bakers-dozens of bags were carried across and loaded into another dozen vehicles waiting on the other side. We were, as the organizer put it, “a mass of whiteness” that drew PNGers from far an wide to come and see the spectacle. And a spectacle it was.
The rain held off, and no one plummeted to their doom, so in the end we all considered it a great success. At least we didn’t have to ford the river farther downstream, as I’m told the goodfolks did a few years back:
Bucket Showers: So this place we went (affectionately called Camp Interface) was equipped with normal showers and bucket showers. The lady who ran the place was clearly partial to the latter, and I made the mistake of believing her. A bucket shower, so you know, looks like this:
And the reason they’re so wonderful (we were told) is because you don’t ever have to worry about the temperature of the water. Whatever temperature water you fill it up with, that’s what will come out (this all sounds quite grand in theory). The other showers (which were clearly inferior) spurted out whatever temperature water they felt like, which was not always comfortable.
So the first morning of camp I stumbled into the shower room, grinned at the sight of the open bucket shower, and promptly filled the thing with hot water. What we weren’t told, I regret to say, is that only expert bucker showerers can take a whole shower with one bucket. So there I was, five minutes later, standing in my shower and covered from head to toe in soap when the last drop of water trickled out.
Needless to say, I opted for the normal showers the following days, and was none the worse for it.