nichollsretirementproject

Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Counting Down to Oz.

There’s a distinct ‘end-of-term’ feel to Divine Word University this week.  The students have all gone home for the Christmas break.  There are a few distance learning courses still going on, but most people are now eagerly eyeing December 6th which will be the last day of term.  The new Bachelor of Education course that Linda and I have been working on for the past six months was officially launched in Port Moresby last week in the presence of the Prime Minister, no less, and although we still have a lot to do before the course is actually taken up by the Teachers’ Training Colleges, we too have our minds firmly fixed on the summer hols, (or Christmas hols as some of you might know them).

We are off to Australia!  Yippee!  The plan is to fly in to Cairns in the top right-hand corner and then drive down to Sydney.  When we volunteered to do VSO and accepted a posting in South Sudan, we never thought we would find ourselves in the Pacific, only a couple of hundred miles away from Australia, so it really was too good an opportunity to miss.  I don’t think, even now, we have fully taken in what a huge country Australia is.  Drive from Cairns to Sydney?   No worries!  Are we mad?  It’s miles!

We also know next to nothing about Australia!  Our friend, Peta, who also works at DWU and who has been instrumental in helping us to plan our holiday, complete with its spectacular finale in Sydney Harbour on New Years Eve, has done her best to educate us, including sending us the following photo to illustrate climate change, Aussie style. The Blue Mountains are not far from Sydney.

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101 Uses for a Swiss Army Knife.

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It’s all in the Toes.

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Come on! What are you waiting for?

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See anybody?

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His job is to sit up there and kick enough coconuts down for his gang to have lunch.

Yep! There he is.

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Meet Willie.

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Willie lives in one of the ‘settlements’ that are just outside the Divine Word campus.  We found him, one day, with a bunch of his friends, ‘scrumping’ coconuts from the trees that surround our house.  I suspect he’s a bit of a rogue most of the time, and definitely the kind of kid you want as your friend and not your enemy, but he’s got the broadest grin in Papua New Guinea, without a doubt.

First, go and find your coconut.

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There are basically three types of Papua New Guineans; those who come from the Islands, those who come from the Highlands and those who come from the Coast.

Highlanders tend to be shorter, stockier people, with a bit of a reputation for being fierce.  One thing they can’t do, according to the coastal people, is climb up these trees and plunder the coconuts.  That’s a coastal speciality, and , for these kids, it’s just part of a day’s play.

Stage 1

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Willie was very keen to explain to us how you chop off the top of a coconut without severing your hand at the same time.  It is not at all unusual to see kids even younger than Willie carrying bush-knives like this.

Well, how else are you going to get into a coconut when you’re thirsty?

Nearly done.

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All fingers still in place!

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