Now that digicell put a tower up in Ukarumpa it is easier to keep in touch with the family who I stayed with for 5 weeks during training in August 2008. They call me about once a month on a weekend evening and I spend about 10 minutes saying hello and goodnight to the whole family. It doesn’t take much but these phone calls remind me of the relationship I have with them. So when I am in Madang I try to make it out to the village and spend a bit of time with the family.
Patrick came into town on Monday with his uncle who owns a PMV and they took me back to Sarang. It was wonderful to see everyone again and to sit and story, catching up on their lives. Patrick is currently waiting for a Elementary training course to start so he can be trained to teach. And Martha’s days are full just taking care of the family. With recent rains the water pipes broke so now everyone has to walk further to the school in order to fill their bottles with drinking/cooking water.
We took a walk over to the school in order to fill bottles and wash in the river that flows by. While waiting I watched Beatrice and her friends swim and splash around in the river. This is bath time (not much soap, just rinsing off the dirt) but the kids have fun too. Some of the boys even had little boats they had made out of limbun (a certain tree bark).
The rest of the afternoon and evening were filled with visiting and relaxing. The house that I stayed in during my stay has been made into home for Patrick, Martha and the kids. As Patrick and I talked about everything from school reform, job prospects, government policies the kids played nearby and Martha cooked a delicious dinner.
My past couple of visits Jerome had forgotten who I was and was afraid but this time he sat with me a couple of times, played with my watch (he likes to light the background light) and I even got a smile out of him a couple of times. After dinner we storied some more with other family members joining us. And then it was off to bed. I fell asleep listening to the sound of crashing waves on the beach. I seem to always sleep well in Sarang.
The next morning I woke up, packed my things, ate a cracker and drank part of a cup of tea before heading over to the Uncles house to catch the PMV back to town. As usual my family had loaded me down with gifts of food. I carried back 4 kulaus, 6 coconuts, 3 pineapples, 4 hands of bananas, a whole lot of green beans, a bag of cherry tomatoes and 6 papayas (including one huge 16 pounder!). They were thrilled that I was going back by car to Ukarumpa which meant that I could carry most of their gifts with me. This food came from all different family members. It really is their way of taking care of me. It’s just part of the relationship we have.