Ukarumpa is a missionary community that is home to almost a 1,000 SIL (our organization) missionaries. Some are translators that come in and out from their villages and some are support workers like us that stay on center and work to help the work of Bible translation. What’s it like to live here?
Here are 20 random facts about living in Ukarumpa.
#1 You walk freely in and out of people’s yards because nobody has fences, crossing rickety home-made bridges on an everyday basis.
#2 We have to wash and hang out all of our own laundry-which can be tedious at times when rainy season hits and it rains all day long!
#3 The most amazing strawberries are grown here. Very tasty and they grow all year long.
#4 All of the cars are from the 1980s or 90s but are still crazy expensive to buy! My favorite car is our neighbor’s car, the yellow submarine.
#5 The weather is perfect. Cold in the mornings and evenings, but warm during the day.
#6 You have to do all of the cooking because there are no restaurants or pizza deliveries. And most of the cooking is from scratch!
#7 The one and only store here is very expensive. Things like chicken, steak or pork (when you can find them) are $15 or more per kilo. Another example, a block cream cheese or walnuts right now is $22 for just 1lb!
And when the one and only store closes during Christmas for 2 weeks we all have to stock up!
#8 Because Ukarumpa is nestled up in the mountains that means we have to walk uphill a lot! None of the roads are paved, they are all made of gravel so lots of times we all find ourselves slipping when we walk down the hills!
#9 Ukarumpa is very quiet, there are no movie theaters or restaurants. So we have to make our own fun. We like to have people over a lot to eat together, play games and watch movies.
#10 We don’t have a formal pastor at our church, so different missionaries get up to speak each Sunday. Each of the missionaries come from different backgrounds and denominations so we definitely get a big variety of preaching here. We also have a Tok Pisin service, as well as a video service that features pastors from all of the Acts 29 churches (i.e. Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Francis Chan etc)
#11 There is a local market that runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings where everyone from the surrounding villages brings their fresh produce, crafts and homemade bilums (bags made from wool)
#12 Ukarumpa is guarded by a company called Guard Dog. They have men that walk around to make sure there is no trouble happening. One of the guards that we have become good friends with is named Randy. Here is a picture of Randy and Evan on Christmas Day when he came to our house for breakfast Christmas morning.
#13 Many people are employed by SIL from the local villages. This helps the economy of the local area, because otherwise these people would not have jobs. These jobs include: Auto Shop (with Evan!), Construction and Maintenance, Language Resources, Secretaries in the Director’s Office (where I work), Haus Meris (House help), Yard Help and many more! We are so thankful to get to develop relationships with the Papua New Guinean people employed here.
#14 Ukarumpa has both a cow pasture as well as horse paddocks. This allows people to be able to own cows for milking as well as horses to ride.
#15 The river is the place to be in Ukarumpa for anything from Tubing to Baptisms. Last Sunday we celebrated 4 teens getting baptized in the river. It was a very cool experience.
#16 Burning our own trash is a daily event because we don’t have a garbage truck that comes by.
#17 Everyone walks barefoot here. To church, to school, even to work.
#18 Frisbee golf is the most popular sport in Ukarumpa.
#19 Everyone has a rain water tank in Ukarumpa. These tanks are used to collect rain to run our showers, sinks, toilets and washing machines.
#20 And finally, you know you live in Ukarumpa when you use a broom to clean off the outside of your house (because there is no such thing as a power washer or a Home Depot for that matter)