Tuesday, February 27, 2007


So here we are halfway through our trip that already seems way too short. We received an invitation to visit in the bush (in a tribal work) that we had to decline due to lack of time. Very disappointing but it has us already thinking about when we can come again.

Something that takes 5 times as long here as in the U.S. is laundry. In case any of you are new to our travels or have forgotten my previous lesson, here is the low down on the twin tub washer. It has two tubs. One is for filling with wash or rinse water, depending on your stage of washing, the other, you spin your clothes in. The bummer is that the wash does not go by itself into the spinner and get new water to rinse in by itself. Here's a step by step view:
1. Manually turn on the spicket that runs the 10 pounds of water pressure into the wash tub
2. Go upstairs and do something else until it fills up (about 7-8 minutes)
3. Remember 15 minutes later that you are filling up the tub, run downstairs and see that it is now leaking out the top drains
4. Turn off water and add soap
5. Add your cleanest of the dirty clothes since you will use this wash water for at least two loads, maybe three
6. Turn on tub #1 for 15 minutes (the max on the timer) and go back upstairs to do something else
7. Remember 20 minutes later that you have laundry going, run downstairs and put the stuff in the spinner
8. Add another load to the wash tub and go back upstairs to do something else
9. This time, you actually remember you have stuff downstairs and head down to take care of it. The wash water is looking pretty bad so you decide to drain it and rinse the two washed loads
10. Put the washed load in the spinner and turn the dial to drain.
11. The water proceeds to drain out on the sidewalk into the grass where all kinds of little creatures love to bathe...as long as they do it on the sidewalk and not in my laundry room, they don't get the size 10 shoe
12. Fill tub number one with rinse water and proceed to rinse the previously washed and spun loads
13. After rinsing and spinning, put the clothes on the clothesline and start over, this time adding a little soap to the rinse water to make it wash water for loads 3 and 4.
Mind you, this is in the midst of school and dishes and sweeping and heat and power going out.

Thanks for reading and hopefully laughing with me. If that didn't bring a smile to your face, maybe these pictures will. We saw this beautiful big root ball and Betty, a gal here on the base, said, Tracie, you get up there and I'll take your picture. Well, I think she did that just to laugh at me getting down! It was quite a sight!

Richard is actually working

Lest anyone percieve, based on the previous post, that we are on a diving vacation, here are some shots of Richard working. He can give more detail but may not make time to sit down and do it. Basically, he is building cabinet face frames, doors and drawer fronts for various houses here on the base.

Notice, please, picture number 1 and any previous reference to the "ugly".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sally's Birthday

Yesterday was Sally's 6th birthday and what a day we had. We went with some friends from the base here in Madang to a very small island about 10 minutes by boat from here. We packed a lunch and sunscreen and spent a great day on the beach. We arrived around 10:30 a.m. and the bugs were still having breakfast, on us, of course. So we sprayed on a little bug spray and headed for the water. The water is crystal clear which begged some snorkeling. Richard and Dave Wall, the chairman of the Madang region, along with 2 of Dave's kids headed out to do some diving. They went right off the island to a spot where there is a downed B-25 from WWII. The local resorts have it marked with a buoy, as they bring folks out there to dive as well. The story is that there was only 1 survivor from the American bomber and he came out here several years ago to find the plane where he lost 3 of his buddies. Richard said the plane was largely in tact and very interesting. I'll have him write some about his dive.

We stayed on the island and did lots of snorkeling. All four girls tried it and it went like this:

Betty "Take me back to the shore, I'm too scared."

Bonnie "Take me back to the shore, I'm scared...well, it is kind of neat...ok, just don't go too far out."

Mary "I don't want to go back to the shore. Teach me how to dive to the bottom and blow the water out of my snorkel like Dad so I can see the fish closer."

Sally "This is fun!"

Can't you just hear them? We saw Nemo and all his buddies including lots of big blue starfish and a huge sea cucumber!

We explored the island a little and have some good pictures from that. We had lunch of peanut butter and honey along with some Twisties (PNG Cheetos) and bananas. The bugs were done eating so it just got better. We did more water stuff while the divers did one more dive to a sunken fishing boat.

We headed home to nurse our sunburn and get cleaned up. We had such a relaxing afternoon followed by a dinner of fresh Mackerel caught last Sunday. We are so grateful for the folks out here for taking us out there. Sally had a great birthday and even lost a tooth out there. She was putting the snorkel in her mouth and knocked the already loose tooth out. She was coming to show it to me when she dropped it in the shells. We told her to write a note to the tooth fairy that she lost her tooth in the Baltic Sea. Now that's a story!


PNG Umbrella

Our Mary, fitting right in!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First pictures

These are just a few pictures to prove to everyone that we are not on an all inclusive Mexico vacation. Believe me, there is no complimentary 11 a.m. nacho run! We are heading to town so I must keep it short. If anyone wants to get our pictures as attachments, just e-mail us and we can send later. Short explanations...Me cooking tortillas (and sweating), the welcome sign at our house, me prewashing clothes, Sally and bananas... Tracie

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good:
The view out our front porch (still working on pics)
Family time
Fresh, homemade yogurt for snack
The voices of my kids happily playing with their friends (old and new)
Early bedtimes
Generator that keeps power to the base when the city power goes out
The market...best 75 cent pineapple in town
Richard working walking distance away from me

The bad:
The heat from 3-5 p.m.
Twin tub washing machine
Broken twin tub washing machine
Rain when I have laundry on the line
The kids' clothes at the end of the day
My clothes at the end of the day

The ugly:
Me going after the ants
Richard's clothes at the end of the day.


Saturday, February 17, 2007


There are a couple of uses for the word sweat that are especially relevant here in PNG. First is the obvious sweat which is presently rolling down my back and forehead. Second is the phenomenon that occurs on your glass when the beverage is cold and the air is hot. I guess our children are not well acquainted with either based on what happened at dinner last night. We went to a house on the base where they served us a delicious meal, including a nice cold drink. Sally looked rather alarmed when she whispered in my ear, "Mommy, when I took a drink of my grape drink, some water from the outside dripped on me. I think my cup is leaking just the water part of the drink." Not a lot of either kind of sweat in Frisco!


P.S. Richard went to the airport and his bag was there! We were a little concerned as we pondered buying him clothes here. The natives are a bit smaller than him...would have been rather interesting to find an xl-tall.

Friday, February 16, 2007

We're back

We wanted to let everyone know that we have arrived safely here in Papua New Guinea. It is hot as we remember but beautiful at the same time. It is quite a change from snow white Colorado. The girls have played outside since we got off the van last night. We only lost 1 piece of luggage between Port Moresby and Madang (both in PNG) but we will check the airport this afternoon. Evidently, the flight being full caused them to leave a few passengers' luggage in Port Moresby. Since we had 10 checked bags, we are glad it was only one. There is a 7 a.m. flight and a 4:40 p.m. flight. Evidently, after everyone leaves after the early flight, the airport employees head home until 4:00 p.m. when they return to prepare for the next flight. So Richard will return later to see if our bag made it.

Things have changed a little since last time...a few more houses on the base as well as full time internet access. They have a satellite now that affords much more internet reliability. Mind you, it's 3rd world reliability. Also, the power has already gone out twice today but they now have a generator on site. So the power only stays out until someone runs over and flicks on the generator. That is such a relief! I hate it when the power goes out and the air goes off. Actually, the air is just the ceiling fans that work overtime for us!

It is early afternoon on full day one and the couch is calling me. We have a very nice house and the girls are enjoying friends. It is so hot, I think the only place one should be at this hour is on the east side of the house laying very still!

I'll try to send a picture soon. My computer is not working and I can't get Richard's computer to read my camera. Please pray for our continued good health and that Richard's suitcase would come through.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Expired passports

Monday night was a restless one for me (Tracie). It seems I have a hard time turning off the voices in my head. Before you call the doctor, there is actually only one voice usually, my own. This voice rarely sleeps and keeps a running tally of all my to do tasks. Those tasks have been multiplied as we have gotten closer to our leave time so, subsequently, the voice has gotten a little more chatty at all hours of the night. Since I couldn't sleep with all that talking, I got up around 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning and started my day. Actually, that is probably the quietest times of day at my house so I sat at the computer ready to work.

My first task was to apply for our electronic visas for Australia. For a fee, of course, but at least I could do it on line. Filling out form number 4, for Betty, I realized, to my horror, that her passport expired on February 3rd, 2007. Yes, expired! It was with fear and trembling that I examined the remaining passports of Bonnie and Mary only to discover that they, too, were no longer valid. The voice in my head was now yelling at me for being such an idiot as to not verify these dates sooner than one week before travel time.

After Googling (is that really a word?) expedited passports, I realized that I am not the only irresponsible person in the United States and that it was possible to fix my major mistake. Richard and I headed to the post office in Breckenridge only to be told we'd need to go to Denver. Considering our plethora of free time this sounded great. We called the automated number to make an appointment for the first available time which would be Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Here's a slight run-down of Friday:

6 a.m. Rise (don't shine)

6:30 a.m. Pancakes

7-7:30 a.m. Yell at kids to hurry up and eat and get dressed

7:35 a.m. Load up the gang and head to Kinko's to get pictures (for a fee, of course)

7:40 a.m. Richard fill up the car while we do pictures

7:50 a.m. On the road to Denver

9:15 a.m. Arrive at the passport agency (thanks to our handy dandy navigation system...thanks again Tim!)

9:30 a.m. Stand in line to get a number then sit and wait until...

10:15 a.m. Number 23 is called and we go to the window. All our papers are in order, yea, and we sign this and that. We give her payment, including special fees for idiots like me who need the passport fast, and are told to return at 2:30 p.m. for the goods.

10:30-2:30 p.m. Do stuff we can't do in Frisco (see pictures) like Lowe's and Chipotle. We also went to a Target looking for bug spray. Evidently it is a seasonal item here in Colorado. In Texas, it is a year-round necessity, kind of like food.

2:15 p.m. Sally christens the new van by throwing up while we are pulled over on I-225 North. Thanks, Betty, for letting us know or it would have been much worse.

2:45 p.m. Get our hot little hands on the passports and head to the hills.

Probably too much information for some of you, but the family will get a laugh, I hope. Although it was inconvenient to go through all of this, I see God working in the timing of this minor trauma. Tuesday morning, after discovering my passport mistake, I went to the ladies' Bible study at our church. The ladies prayed for me and my passport issues as well as for my sleep problems. Well, the passport thing worked out (for a fee, of course) and I have slept all night every night since then. When asked today at church by several ladies from Bible study how I have been sleeping, we praised God together for His answer to prayer.

Thank you so much for your comments! I already have tears reading the sweet remarks. The fact that you'd take the time to read this and be interested in our lives means a lot!

Two more days until lift off,


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Messing Around with Pictures

I am trying to figure out how to add pictures so here it goes. Enjoy some random shots!


Ok...here we go into the 21st century whether I like it or not. Yes, I am getting very close to the age where my kids know more than I do about electronics. Kind of scary but a little freeing at the same time. No more obligations to know the latest and greatest. Just ask my girls.

If you are reading this, you know that we are heading to Papua New Guinea next week. You also are kind enough to take the time to check out what is going on here. We are packing today...shorts and t-shirts! Yea! Considering we have about 8 inches of snow in our yard, that will be a welcome change.

I will try to use this in the right way to keep you posted on our happenings. There is more right now, even, but time is short. If you are the praying type, we would really appreciate them on our behalf. We are excited and stressed all at the same time. I'll update more tonight!