Exciting trip…

I made it safely back to Kiari on Tuesday, but it was quite the day. J I definitely feel like “Adventures with Ellie” is becoming a more and more worthy title! I don’t remember asking anyone to pray for us on that trip, but if you did, THANK YOU—we needed it! Brother Matt Crain from Aibai brought me back as far as Nomane, where the Smiths were to fly in from their vacation in Goroka. We left at 7:30 am and several folks caught a ride with us to various destinations along the way. It seemed like we were going really fast now that we weren’t following the dozer! Parts of that road are actually quite rocky, so I was most happy to stand and hold onto the luggage rack. (If you’re one of those people who complain about the discomfort of sitting through long sermons, I’d like you to try just 2 minutes sitting on the wheel well in the back of the truck on the rocky part of the bush road!!!) We got to Nomane pretty quickly… 9 or 9:30, I’d say. Jeff had just gotten there with the truck from Kiari, and so we all waited for the Smith’s planes to come in… and waited, and waited. J They were delayed and the first plane didn’t get there until 1 or 1:30, and the second one about an hour later. (It takes two little Cessnas to ferry a family of seven!) While we were waiting Jeff told us that he had some trouble on the way… some folks in Kiari are holding an ambulance to try and get some money they were supposed to be paid for fixing the road, but the Nomane folks take that personally because the ambulance is from their village. A couple of times people made a line across the road to try to stop Jeff, but a national man riding with him kept telling him, “Go, go, go!” and so he went and thankfully everybody got out of his way, but he was worried we’d have trouble getting back. People were threatening to hold our car as ransom for the ambulance. So… the Smiths finally arrived and Jeff flew out to Goroka to pick up his brother who’s coming to help him build his house. We left Nomane about 3 or 3:30, and you should have seen us. J The bed of the truck was piled all the way back to the wheel wells with the next 2 months’ supplies, and behind that there were about 9 of us sitting or hanging on in various ways—the 5 Smith kids, 3 national men who were coming along to helpfully smooth the way with the anticipated troubles, and me. I actually already had a headache from the blaring music at Nomane and from sitting in the equatorial sun for so long. Sure enough, we got stopped not too far outside Nomane. The people had put a log across the road and all stood around staring—not smiling and waving like usual but just hard staring (though it was funny, a girl came up to the tailgate and was talking with Susanna and laughing just like nothing in the world was going on!). The people talked heatedly for about 25 minutes but, praise the Lord, finally let us through. By this time my headache had gotten worse so I didn’t pay too much attention to what was being said (it still takes effort to decipher Pidgin!), but believe you me I was sure thankful when we finally started again! The rest of the trip was somewhat of a blur because I was feeling pretty carsick, but I do know that we were stopped one more time by some people who were mad because when we came out with the dozer we had moved a tree that was blocking the road and had evidently been a means of collecting fees from public vehicles. I really don’t know what happened, but eventually we started again and bounced along our way home. At some point we stopped again (voluntarily this time!) and paid a lady for some damage to her tree from a stump that the dozer had pushed down the mountain. Another time we picked up a couple of people, and when we went around a sharp curve and I fell over on the lady she just put her arm around me and let me rest my head on her lap. That was so nice of her. J Finally we reached Kiari (the whole trip was 3 hours, I think) and I went right to bed and am all better now. Needless to say, I’m quite happy to stay in Kiari for a long, long time! J

As a side note, I hope the whole story hasn’t made you worried about me. “Whiteskins” are really not in any personal danger. Worry about our stuff, maybe, but after all it’s only stuff. (If you could see our poor little old truck—affectionately dubbed “The Little Engine That Could”—you’d laugh that anyone would possibly want it even as ransom for that ambulance!) We’ll probably be using the helicopter to get in and out until the whole ambulance situation is resolved, but hopefully that will be sooner than later. J

Now that I’m back in Kiari I have loads and loads of work to do before school starts: moving things down from the old school building, organizing, planning, etc. Thankfully I got my book order out yesterday—please pray that it will all get here in a timely manner. I think packages can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months… I’m hoping for something closer to the 2 week end of the spectrum. J Tiffany (the other teacher) is leaving on Monday, and today we are all going to church for a goodbye mumu for her. After that I’m on my own—exciting but a little scary too!

Hope you have a great week!


“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal