As you can hopefully tell from the pictures and stories, the retreat in Malaysia was wonderful. Lots of rest, good food and great people. I had a great massage, went for a swim the last morning and was a little sad from saying good-byes to new friends but in general felt very calm and satisfied as we headed across the border to the Singapore airport.
Once at the airport I realized that my flight had been delayed from late at night to the early morning. So I had a nice dinner with the Kings and said good-bye to them on their flight and settled in to make the most of it. A little Starbucks and my book, which I didn’t read at all during the week, helped the 10 hour airport wait fly by. Before 3am we were air born and I was fast asleep in my seat.
I awoke a few times to have some water but thankfully slept for most of the 6 hour flight. Once in PNG, immigration and customs was graciously easy. One of the perks of a PNG resident visa is much shorter lines to stand in and less customs hassle. I was met at the airport by a Port Moresby center employee and then shuttled to the other hangers for my flight up to Ukarumpa. The plane had just landed so the wait was mercifully short. I had another cat nap on the hour flight and awoke groggy but back in Ukarumpa.
The plan had been that Beverly would already be out in Walagu and I would return to Ukarumpa, have a day to pack and finish things before heading out to the Walagu to meet her. However, while I had been out globe trotting, aviation and Beverly had been fighting unfortunate weather patterns and pilot shortages. This meant that Beverly had never left and all the flights and cargo weights were still very much up in the air.
I was running on very little sleep so the discussions with aviation people were a bit overwhelming but we finally decided that my flight would be the same on Friday and hopefully Beverly would head out the next day (Thursday). And so after tracking down my luggage and having a quick snack and visit with friends I headed home to shower and sleep.
Thursday dawned a little too early and before 10 I heard the news that due to pilot illness Beverly still hadn’t left for the village. This once again threw a wrench into the plans and so we spent some time figuring out a solution that would work for everyone. The best solution turned out to be me flying out on Monday in a helicopter with all our cargo and Beverly waiting until November 14th and coming out with the recording guy. Although this isn’t the ideal situation (helicopters are way more expensive and me being in the village alone isn’t my first choice) it does seem to be the correct decision at this time.
So i’m still in Ukarumpa, enjoying my weekend to catch up on paperwork, taking my time with last minute packing, having some wonderful meals with friends and watching Leverage as my escape from reality. Please pray that Monday’s weather will cooperate, the helicopter will arrive safely and that my time in the village will be wonderfully productive with lots of good people time. The evenings are hardest for me being alone but with prayers I know that it will all be ok. It’s almost unreal that this time last week I was in Kuala Lumpur. I am so thankful for this unplanned weekend in Ukarumpa to help make the transition back to the village just a little easier.