An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Monday, February 16, 2004

It's All So New

My little Haus Meri that I mentioned last post came on Tuesday morning and she stayed the whole day, cleaned everything in sight. I gave her a tip of 2 Kina (big of me I know). I felt guilty about her staying all day as I didn't have a key to give her to lock up and leave, so I did walk back home at lunchtime and asked her if she wanted to go home, but she wouldn't have a bar of it saying she still had clothes to iron, floors to mop. She wanted to come on Thursday as well, but I told her once a week is plenty, for a single guy.

I have met quite a few of the other Volunteers around, who are from VSO (British mob) and GDS (German Development Service). A couple of the VSO guys are actually working at the uni, and one has a car. I have already buttered up to him and have managed to jump on board for a few trips into town, which has been handy and means that I have now stocked my fridge with a slab of SP Lagers (the local brew, tastes like cat's piss, but you get used to it).

Well my next-door neighbour Martin and myself are trying to organise a joint house warming party for this weekend, for all the local volunteers to get together and christen our places. Martin only moved in just before Christmas and then went back to Oz for a month. We should have had it organised for last Saturday, but I have not got my phone connected yet and Martin's has been dead. Trying to get Telikom to do anything is like trying to get Telstra to do something.

Work has changed gears and instead of being in Neutral we are now moving along in First. Last week I built 6 old donated laptops that I needed to give to the site coordinators who came for a seminar. This was no mean feat, as out of the 20 laptops we had, only about half work. I also had to give a little presentation on the technology we are going to be using, for the project, which went down pretty well.

It looks like my first trip around the country should be in a few weeks, and the destination is lovely Manus Island a few hundred k's north of the mainland near the equator. It is supposed to quite pretty with great places to swim, which will be good as Lae doesn't have any. Martin has offered to lend me his snorkel, goggles and flippers. It is pretty tough, but someone has to do it. The reason for going is just to collect some old radio equipment that DODL set up about 6 years ago, but they never use, so I will probably fly up and then catch the boat back.

Well the staff club has opened up, which is conveniently located on the walk back home. They have a TV there that I think will suffice for me to catch the news occasionally. It is amusing over here in the fact that if you join any club (Golf, Workers etc) they give you a key to the front door, not sure why though. Having no TV has not fazed me yet and I have not really missed, I might even be able to get away with not needing one at all. We shall see. Books have been my main source of entertainment, and the library is well stocked. I shall probably get a decent laptop soon through work so I can watch all my movies that I have brought along.

My Pidgin is slowing coming along. All the guys in the office want to help me out and they have decided to speak to me only in Pidgin. This has been half successful as they soon forgot and went back to speaking English to me. I have been asking questions on how to say things and phrases and as I said it is slowly coming along.

Pidgin is a bit of laugh, when you read signs around the place. Went for a trip on Saturday up the valley, where there are quite a number of cattle properties. Signs along the way warning about cattle straying onto the road say, "Luk Aut: Bulamakau long rot!" (say it as it is spelt). As a side note, Bull is "Man Bulamakau" and Cow is "Meri Bulamakau". It is pretty funny.

Another thing that cracks me up is that people here don't buy cigarettes by the packet, but individually. Your waiting in line to get something from the Kiosk and the guy in front asks for 3 smokes and the girl opens up a packet and pulls out 3 and hands them to him.