Looking Back: Part 3

On January 26th my language and cultural training began. It was called POC (Pacific Orientation Course). I say was, because the program is currently undergoing some changes. Below is a picture of those who attended with me and those who instructed us.

This training was held in the Madang Province, on the coast. Our little training facility was on a hill overlooking the beautiful ocean and ever green landscape. I remember waking up early some mornings and sitting on the porch as the day began. It was so peaceful. The birds were chirping away and the wind was blowing. It was always hot but it never lacked in beauty!

Some of those who attended stayed for 6 weeks (1 week in the village) while the rest (myself included) stayed for 14 weeks. Five of those weeks were spent in a village, living alongside a Papua New Guinean family. I was paired with another single gal named Lindy.

After lots of cultural training, language lessons, hiking, swimming, and other skills (including building an outdoor kitchen) we were off to the village. Lindy and I were dropped off at a village close to two other single gals. We were able to visit them a few times during our stay, which was very encouraging to me.

We were placed with a wasfemili (watch family). While in the village I learned a whole lot of things. I learned to make a bilum (a traditional woven bag), taught the children different games, I helped peel taro for our dinner (the liquid stings your hands), and teaching a Bible lesson on Jonah.

Life in the village was not easy. Never before have I been stripped of all comfort and literally submerged into a completely different way of doing life. It was very humbling and continually taught me to rely on God. It made me appreciate what I have and see that the way they do things can work fine too.

Our farewell was sad. The people in the village made LOTS of food and shared a mumu (kind of like a potluck) together. They even killed a pig in our honor. Unlike Lindy, who would be living in Madang, I wasn’t exactly sure when I would see my sweet wasfemili again. Ukarumpa is in the Eastern Highlands, which is quite far away. I will always remember them!

In May we finished our training and took a small missions airplane to Ukarumpa. The cold weather was a bit of a shock to the system, but OH so welcome! I moved into my first apartment and quickly became friends with my new roommate, Joy.

Although my first experiences in PNG took some adjustment, they were so helpful to understanding this culture better. I am grateful for all that God did to get me to where I am now.

6 thoughts on “Looking Back: Part 3

  1. I am so enjoying your walk down memory lane, Amanda!! The photos are wonderful and you look so happy and filled with love and excitement. Just curious…how many times did you and Joy get mistaken for sisters!?!?! Looking forward to your next post. Love you guys! Aunt Cindie đź’•

  2. Hi Amanda! I stumbled upon your updates somehow, have loved catching up through these flash backs!!! I stayed in this same apartment when I went back to teach for a few months. Great memories!! Merilee (Blewett) Roberts

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