Thanks to the Myers for adopting me and inviting me to join them on their vacation! Last Wednesday, seven of us piled into the Land Cruiser with our luggage and snorkel gear: Jeff and Susan, their kidds Jessica and Ethan, Susan's parents Wayne and Pat (or "Grandpa and Grandma"), and me. We bumped and bounced and bruised our way along the Highlands Highway. We stopped in Goroka for lunch at the Mandarin. The Chinese restaurant is a missionary favorite, and lucky for us it was on the way to Madang :).
A few more hours down the road and we stopped for the night at Ukurampa, the PNG headquarters for Summer Institute of Linguistics. SIL is a branch from Wycliffe Bible Translators. We were given a tour of the mission station and the work. SIL and other partner organizations have translated portions of scripture into about 300 of the languages in PNG... 500 more to go! It takes between 10 and 30+ years to translate the entire Bible into one new language. Why so long? Many of the languages are only oral and have never been written down. A translator must learn to speak, learn the culture, and write a written form of the language before he or she can begin to work on a Bible translation. And there are many checks and balances along the way to make sure that the message is not lost or miscommunicated. Wow, what an amazing work.
The following morning we boarded the cruiser and bumped down the road another 5 hours to Madang. This was exciting new territory for me, as I had never before traveled past Goroka. Coming down out of the highlands, you enter the flats of PNG. The grass covered foot hills are beautiful. There are miles of sugar cane and palm oil plantations. The best part is the long, straight, fairly pot-hole free road. But don't be deceived, the last stretch of road through the rainforest and down to the coast is really something else. Hard to believe that this is one of the major roads in the country.
We were a bit stiff by the time we arrived in Madang, but let me tell you... it was well worth every bump to get there! Our days were occupied with various ocean activities.
On the first full day we visited the Malolo Plantation which overlooks a beautiful black sand beach. I had never seen a black sand beach before! We relaxed on the pool side deck, walked along the beach, and jumped waves in the ocean. I laughed and laughed some more, remembering what it was like to be a kid and jump waves with my dad :). We spent day #2 at the Jais Aben Resort where we enjoyed some of the best snorkeling in the world. It was amazing! You walk out on the little beach, swim about 100 feet, and look down to an entire underwater civilization... corals, sea cucumbers, bright blue sea stars, and rainbows of tropical fish. One of my other favorite activities was cliff jumping (and into the water) at "Machine Gun Point." It is called this because there is a large WWII gun that is mounted as some sort of memorial. I surprised myself as I am a bit scared of tall places... but it was a thrilling jump!
Thanks again, Myers family, for the wonderful holiday!