Radio Tower Hike

Close to Mambis there is a radio tower that is put up on a hill between
Mambis and Wapenamanda. The other day we hiked it and I took some GPS
data on the route we took. Since I don't have internet here, I had my
brother upload the track to a google map... you can check it out here:

I think all my GPS fun can be uploaded to this same map and you can see
all my hikes and road-trips (is it still a road trip if you have to fly
into a village to take a canoe up a river two days and hike another
day?)... perhaps I should just say excursions. Yeah, that's it. Many
thanks to my brother for the uploading/random computer stuff he does
while I'm off playing in the jungle!


Lutheran bishop excommunicated

This article was in the National paper on Wednesday, March 24th 2010,
but it took us a little while to get our hands on the paper because we
have to go to Mt. Hagen to get it, or else read someone else's (which we
did). I suppose on some level, it's nice to know that if you live in
Kenai, Nebraska, Texas, or really anywhere, church politics don't change
much... and on another level it's really sad... This is only part of
the story as all stories like this go, the more you learn about the
situation, the deeper the rabbit hole goes, such as Bishop elections
where the police may or may not have been bought off to intimidate
people and monies from overseas that may or may not be
misappropriated... the list goes on and on.

For reference, where I live now is in Enga province, and Birip is about
a half hour down the road from me. Also the GLC is the church that was
started here by LCMS missionaries and turned over to full national
leadership around 1975 (this is also PNG's independence year).

There are two pictures with the article; one shows David Piso with the
caption: "David Piso... has not responded to the excommunication." And
one picture shows Bishop Nick: "Bishop Nicodemus Aiyene... church will
appoint acting bishop soon."

The article is as follows:
LONG serving bishop of the Gutnius Lutheran church (GLC) in Enga
province David Piso has been removed as head of the church.
During a gathering, about 155 pastors of the GLC voted in agreement to
excommunicate Mr. Piso as bishop of the GLC.
This move came as over 200 pastors registered themselves to meed for
their 2nd National Pastors Conference last March 10-12 at the Saint
Timothy Lutheran Seminary at Birip, outside Wabag town.
Deputy bishop of GLC and chairman of GLC National Pastors Conference
Bishop Nicodemus Aiynene said the decision to excommunicate the bishop
was based on more than 100 grounds of alleged misconduct,
misappropriation, poor and bad leadership, and serious threats on the
church doctrines that had contributed towards the collapse of the church
structure and organizational governance.
He said the church's constitution, especially article 12, empowered the
pastors to vote the bishop out.
"The pastors have exercise what is known as the process of the Office of
the Keys to excommunicate the bishop.
"This means David Piso is no longer a Christian member of the GLC, and
he, therefore, automatically loses the office of bishop that he was
elected to hold," Bishop Aiyene said.
Mr. Piso had been serving as head of the church for over 29 years.
The church's Synod, scheduled for June, would have marked his 30th year
at the helm.
Bishop Aiyene said Mr. Piso had the opportunity to return to the church
and be recalled as a Christian if he repented and said sorry for his wrongs.
He said Mr. Piso had not responded to the decision of excommunication
served on him by Wabag police last Friday near the Ipatas Centre in Wabag.
He said the church council was expected to meet soon to make and acting
appointment of the bishop position.


Mil 8 helicopter loaded

Since the airstrip we're working on doesn't have any easy access, we
have to send supplies like fuel and food down by helicopter. This last
Mil 8 shipment is one in the long line of deliveries made in the past
four years. Other shipments have been tractors, fuel, roofing iron,
chainsaws, generators, and medical supplies. This one includes 16 fuel
drums with lots of food totaling out to 3904kg (~8600lbs).

Anton and spent two full days in Mt. Hagen getting drums filled and
ready to go at Hevilift (5 or 6 at a time) in the back of the pickup.
We also built some nice boxes to hold spray cans and batteries.
Included in the shipment were two solar panels to give the house power.

Since the Mil 8 is usually used for offloading barges and for the gold
mine, it's pretty amazing that they work us into the schedule around
their maintenance times. What that also means is we have about 48 hours
of notice before our flight is scheduled... In other words, that was a
busy two days. Good thing we don't have to do that every week!


Rat Underfoot

Here in PNG, there is hardly a boring moment. Always something that
needs done, always something to see, and always beautiful scenery that
deserves looking at. Add to that excitement that happens around you
from stories such as rat underfoot:

In the house here in Mambis we have four snakes. One a green tree
python! The largest snake is about 3 meters in length, or about 9
feet. He's about as big around as a baseball... maybe a little bit
smaller. Lately the kids here have caught a lot of rats in their live
trap cages to feed the snake. Anton encourages this as then he doesn't
have to do worry about feeding him. Lately it seems that the snake has
eaten quite a few rats and had some projectile releases to vent his full
stomach. In the past two days, there have been three rats in the cage,
two have been eaten and one, the smart one, is keeping his distance from
the snake.

After we got back from Church today, I went into the office to check
email, Laura and Nathan started lunch, and Anton was checking to see if
the rat had been eaten since this morning. Upon looking into the cage,
and not seeing the rat, he reached for a long poker and opened the cage
in order to stir up the newspaper that the rats hide under. One poke...
nothing, two pokes, nothing, three-- out comes the rat directly at him.
Anton dances an Irish jig as the rat makes a mad dash into the kitchen
and jumps onto the back of Laura's leg causing a vocal emission from her
lips. The rat then decides he doesn't want to be there and takes off
again continuing through the kitchen, past the table, around the fridge,
across the hallway toward the office. Having heard the commotion from
the next room, I turned from the computer and saw a gray streak coming
into the room at high speed. Without hesitation, down comes one of my
clod hopper sandled feet onto the hindquarters of the rat as Anton comes
tearing around the corner in hot pursuit, poking stick still in hand.
He jumps onto my foot therefore ending the rats ideas of escape and
leaving a colored smear in it's place. Back to the cage the rat goes, a
little slower, perhaps a little wiser, and possibly still faster than
the snake who is curled up on the top ledge oblivious to the chaos that
just ensued.

As of this moment, the rat is safely hiding in an upper corner of the
cage, and the snake is happily exploring the bottom. Ahh, the fun
Sunday afternoon activities...


Mt. Giluwe

We were driving to Mt. Hagen the other day and we had a very clear view
of Mt. Giluwe which is 4367m (~14330 feet) tall. The Lutz's say that
it's a pretty easy hike up to the top of it that usually takes about two
days. One day is the drive and hike up to base camp, and the second day
is the hike up to the peak. If you wanted more time to explore the
peaks, that would add an extra day, but might be worth it. So far, no
plans for that kind of a hike.

In contrast, Mt. Wilhelm which is the tallest mountain in PNG is 4509m
(~14800 feet) tall, and Mt. Hagen is only 3791m (~12440 feet) tall...
Supposedly it can snow on all of these mountains, but rarely does.
These mountains are also usually covered by clouds, but we happened
along at the right time to catch Mt. Giluwe in the clear.


Re: Tree Fern

Tree Fern

I can't help it when I look around PNG but think if Jurassic Park. No,
really, everything reminds me of that movie. The harsh landscapes, the
large leafed banana trees, and these things that are called tree ferns.
They have this ancient look about them so you expect a Tyrannosaur to
just walk past at any time. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy
that there are no such creatures walking around that might take a bite
out of me.

These tree ferns have a very interesting reaction when you break off or
cut down a branch: they bleed. The sap that starts coming out of them
is very thick and gelatinous. It's really pretty strange to see a tree
have this much of a reaction, but it does make a good picture.