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.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

TGIF, Boogie and Landscaping

Friday afternoon ... and it was a deserved case of Thank God it's Friday! Our (in which I mean DODL's) registration for the second semester had been going on all week, which from my now two times that I have been associated with it, is a time to dread. Last week it was compounded by the fact that we were very understaffed. Colleagues going on "working" road trips to the highlands or going on leave to go to a crusade camp (a heavy Christian/born again/"Praise the lord!", thing they do all the time up here). So this meant for the week I got the enjoyable task of sitting outside and writing receipts to a constant stream of students who have just paid their course fees - good to know that my full range of skills are being utilised, not only do I get to use a keyboard but I can write as well.

So Friday was a particularly baaaaaad day - I will emphasize bad again. BAAAD! The students have had two weeks to register and they all decided to show up on the last day. The leave it to the last minute thing seems to be universal, though it does seem worse here, or perhaps that is because I have been on the receiving end. The line to my desk at one stage was about 150 students long, and this was at the point when the cramping up had started in the wrist, knuckles and anywhere else in the hand used to hold a pen. By the end of the day I was getting pretty moody, so I felt almost felt sorry for the poor students who turned up late expecting to register after I gave them a dressing down. But then I remembered that they have had two weeks to do it and still turn up late, so I just continue to give them an ear full.

When all the students were done and dusted and it was time to pack up and go home, there was an all round sense of relief from the team. We had registered around 1500 students - mostly ones doing the university bridging courses, but with a few doing our Diploma in Commerce.

I headed home, had a kip and then some kai kai (dinner) before I met up with David and Rob and headed into the Aviat for a few refreshing beverages. Paul from the office was there, so we had a bit of moan about our other colleagues who weren't there in the trenches with us for the two weeks. After enough of the amber fluid to forget the week David, Rob and me called it a night and headed back to the Uni.

Saturday night and for me that meant going into town to the Lae International to watch the Bledisloe cup. Well ... I wont say much about that, so moving on, I met up with David again along with Helen (Salamaua girl) and her mate Monica, from London out for the week (she is on a 3 week holiday with a week in PNG, one in Oz, etc), and headed off to the Aviat again, but this time it was to have a bit of a boogie, as they had a band on. The previous times I have been to these nights at the Aviat, they have been a bit of a disappointment, and invariably fights break out or whatever, but this time it was actually really good and I had a most enjoyable night.

My previously gangrenous thumb is slowly turning to better shade of green, with a little bit of help. Sunday saw me decide to do a bit of gardening out the back of my place. A dead spot exists that I was going to use to grow veggies, herbs or whatever, but I have now decided just to plant some nice plants - ferns, bush etc. So wielding my bush knife in true PNG machete style I found some plants that I liked around nearby and by one quick swipe got myself some cuttings. A bit of a dig in the ground, stick those limbs upright and hey presto you have gardening PNG style. I decided that I didn't like any of the other plants around so I left it until I had had a wander down to the academic area, and saw some nice plants there to nick.

I was also telling the local security guard for our street, about my landscaping tendencies in pidgin - conversation goes something like this:
"mi likem long plantim gutpela plant long baksait long haus bilong mi." (I would like to plant some nice plants at the back of my house).

"mi save sompela nis plants, mi bai kisim tumorro." (I know some really nice plants, I will bring tomorrow).

"tru! em gutpela, tenk yu tru" (really! that would be great, thank you very much that's very kind of you).

"em alrite, no worries" (that'€™s alright, not a problem old chap, anything for my brother from the south).
The translation may not be 100% exact but you get the idea. I do like writing in pidgin, it cracks me up.

Anyway moving on. Sunday night and I once again turned my house into a cinema for the screening of Big Fish - a DVD that my sister Sue purchased for me. I had again David, Helen and Monica around for the movie and I must say it was a really enjoyable film. I made popcorn and we had jelly babies and the seats were much better than your average multiplex. Who needs to be pissed off by having no cinema in town when you can project a movie onto a wall and get a picture a couple of metres big. Just need to get some better speakers that's all.

Yesterday I returned home from a much more maligned day at the office, in fact I hardly did anything and I walk out the back of my place to see a completely reshaped area. Not only had my friendly guard planted a few plants (about 20 by my count) but he had put in a border using stones and left a gap with a little bit of gravel to walk through. Unfortunately by the time I had got there he had left for the day so I have not had the chance to thank him. I will have to make a slight alteration though, and move the gap from being in the centre to directly in line with the backdoor. But apart from that, in a few months I should have a fully-fledged healthy garden. Actually this is more my kind of gardening, get a bored guard to do it.