* by guest story-teller Steve Doenges a.k.a. Dad [with occasional commentary from Steph]
December 24, 2010
We woke to the buzz of a power saw cutting wood (music to Dad's ears) on Friday, Christmas eve. Evidently there is no quiet time after daybreak around here. Steph had to go to the hospital since there were two D&Cs scheduled for the morning. Actually she assisted Stephen, the resident from JPS. (Stephen became interested in PNG through Steph's Stephoscope. JPS residents interested in international health are told of her newsletter. Upon reading, Stephen contacted her to see if he could come to PNG.) While the gals were away, we wrapped Christmas presents for Steph and Becky. Dad actually saw most of the presents before distribution this time!
Near the end of wrapping however, the sounds of a hammer, saw, and drill were too much to contain Dad to the house. He dashed into the nearest booth and appeared as Super Constructor. [Like Superman?] The speeding bullet zipped through the small sub-neighborhood of four houses and stopped at the bottom of a gum tree where there was a tree house under construction. Dr. Scott Dolley invited him up after he saw Dad's mouth drooling, but warned him the path up was not built for adults. Taking that as a challenge, Dad casted off his fear of heights and took two steps up the foldable tree house ladder. Scott, seeing that Dad was now shaking and hugging the tree with arms and legs, attached five safety ropes to him and placed an extra security net 2 feet below to encourage some relaxation. Once up on the 1/2 built tree house floor, Dad helped nail additional floor boards and held the boards for sawing.
About 11:00, Mom and Steph came to see the construction as well as inform him that it was time to walk to the Kudjip market. Scott once again had to coax Dad a little, stating that one can't continue to hug a tree with both arms while making any progress in returning to earth. Mom was pretty embarrassed about him kissing the ground upon his two feet proclaiming, "We have touchdown, Houston!"
Our walk to the market consisted of walking a pattern in a narrow U shape--from the beginning point to the ending point of the U, where the Kudjip station gate is at the bottom of the U. In going to the market, we were on the quest for some vegetables and also sugar for the hot fudge factory. The market, a six out of seven day operation, is along the Highlands Highway but mainly down the side road to Banz. It consists of people sitting and selling their goods, with most under an umbrella to provide shade from the hot sun. It also has a large open air second hand clothes store where, after Mom took a picture of Steph and Dad, Steph's eye wouldn't let go of a skirt that was hanging behind them until purchased.
Now add to the picture in your mind a local pig freely rummaging through vegetable and fruit peelings while pretending to ignore traffic. Also, public motor vehicles (PMVs) are loading and unloading passengers. PMVs consist of mini-buses, passenger vans, pickup trucks, and larger open air trucks.
On the opposite side of the road to Banz, people were selling their chickens in booth line formation. A store on this side of the road was disguised in a metal building. By the time we bought a few vegetables, consumed a flour ball (yes Darren, we did branch out and try a few new things!), and located sugar at the Milo store, the sun was starting to become hot and we were thankful to get back to the shelter of Steph's house.