* by guest story-teller Steve Doenges a.k.a. Dad [with occasional commentary from Steph]
December 22, 2010
Once again, we pulled, pushed, kicked, and fought our suitcases, finally getting them to the Kudjip station's Land [Cruiser] waiting for us. Jordan (a one year volunteer who with his teacher wife, Rachel, decided to stay for two--and we can see why!) was our young driver and security guard. He and Steph drove vehicles to the airport so that the weary squished travlers of 6 could spread out their scrunched arms and legs.
The 40 minute ride took us past a Wesleyan Bible College and the Nazarene Bible College. Therefore the total travel time from the Los Angeles galaxy was 64 1/2 hours (2 1/2+ days).
The turn off of the two lane Highlands Highway led us immediately to a historic, WW II road. It was so strategic during the war that the enemy held road was bombed to impede traffic flow in the 2010s. The van drove down in and out of bomb craters (those comparable amusement rides have nothing to brag about) and amazingly, we still had all of our body parts when we came to the Kudjip station gate. [Just to clarify, Dad is being descriptive rather than literal here. It was not actually a WW II road, though PNG was an important part of the war.]
To our surprise, the wide metal gate on the left was decorated with flowers and signs welcoming the Radcliffes back home as well as the Doenges. A drive up Knox Street (named after Sidney and Wanda Knox [the first Nazarene missionaries to PNG]) took us past the single story cement block hospital buildings of Wards A-D. A left turn on Nazareth Street took us down a basic stony lane to Stephanie and Becky's house.
Meti, the lady who cleans and gardens for the gals, was there to greet us. How wonderful it was to finally be here! We were introduced to Brutus the dog and Princess Buttercup (a.k.a. Sweet P) the kitten. (Pete, the cat of the house until Sweet P's adoption papers came a few months ago, appeared two days later.) Soon lunch was served that included among other things fresh vegetables, pineapple, and black raspberries from the garden and fresh lemonade from the lemon trees. After lunch, Meti took us on a scenic walk of the garden and pineapple patch.
Steph had to return to work in the afternoon. Mom and Dad kept busy sorting out items from the suitcases--things ordered went out on the kitchen counter including sweeper bags, light bulbs, a fetal doppler for the hospital, computer batter, etc., while Christmas presents and our few clothes were left in the bedroom. [Seriously, they brought so many gifts and goodies I don't know how they had any rooms for clothes!]
Supper time came quickly and Steph and Becky came home to enjoy an evening together. The Christmas tree was shining brightly as we enjoyed Christmas music from our iPod. However, Mom's sore throat was turning into the worst one of several years.