20 Facts about Life in Ukarumpa

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

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.

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#1 You walk freely in and out of people’s yards because nobody has fences, crossing rickety home-made bridges on an everyday basis.

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#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!

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#3 The most amazing strawberries are grown here. Very tasty and they grow all year long.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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!

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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!

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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!

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#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)

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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)

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#16 Burning our own trash is a daily event because we don’t have a garbage truck that comes by.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#17 Everyone walks barefoot here. To church, to school, even to work.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#18 Frisbee golf is the most popular sport in Ukarumpa.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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.

Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea

#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)

Village Living-Family Pictures {Part 2}

Papua New Guinea, Village, Family

Living in the village was one of the best times and hardest times in our lives. We loved getting to know our village family, and the hospitality that they offered us was amazing. They let us stay in their brother’s home for 5 weeks, took us places, taught us the language and how they lived and basically looked after us for all of that time. We became very close with the village of Lalok 5. One of my greatest memories was when I got to take pictures of each of the families that made up the one big family line of Lalok 5. They had never gotten their picture taken before, but just like American families (who usually have their picture taken annually) they were nervous about what to wear, where to stand and getting all of the family together in one place at the allotted time. I loved being able to give this gift to them, because as you all know family pictures can be the most precious item that we can own. Can you imagine not having these precious items, ever taken, in your entire life?

Papua New Guinea, Village, FamilyMalfun and his family. Malfun (pronounced “Malpone”, shown here in the Papua New Guinean flag shirt) was the uncle of the family in Lalok 5. He had a hat for every day we were there and was one of the nicest dressers around :) Him and his wife were the most resourceful people of Lalok 5 and sold produce from their garden at the market everyday. Many days Malfun’s wife would leave in the dark and come home in the dark to go sell things at market. Malfun was a fisherman and was out on the water most days looking for fish to feed his family. They had five kids, and we got to be great friends with their oldest two kids, Lesli and Moses (in the back). Moses at age 13 was in first grade and Lesli at age 11 was in kindergarden. Malfun and our waspapa made and taught Evan how to make a traditional drum, the kundu.

Papua New Guinea, Village, Family

The next house over was Lacie’s house. She lived there with her 90 year old mother, and 3 children. Her oldest son, Nathan lived in the “House Boy” where many of the young single men lived. Lacie was one of my best friends in the village. She is always known to have a story to tell you about what is going on in the villages around her. She is also the women’s ministry leader at the church. Her 90 year old mother, Mata, was the first of the line of Lalok 5, and lived through WW2. Stennis, her youngest (in the PNG flag clothes) was one of my favorite little boys. He had bright blonde hair (that unfortunately he shaved off for this picture) and a real gift for art. Eddie, the older boy in the back was always playing jokes on Evan. We definitely had a special place in our hearts for this family.

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The “big man” or the leader of the village lived in the house on the corner with most of his older kids and grandchildren. We all called him “Booboo” which means grandfather in Tok Pisin. He was the Father of our waspapa and had 7 children. Most of the children were still in the village. Our favorite little girl, Diane (seen on the bottom right) lived here with her mom, Angela. We had a special place in our hearts for this sassy little girl and wish we could’ve taken her home! Because both of these young moms had children without fathers our was papa, Pedro has adopted these girls. So when Angela and Wali get married they will have to leave their children with our host family because it is not culturally appropriate to have “stepchildren”.

Papua New Guinea, Village, Family

Borat and his family kindly gave us their house while we stayed in the village, and they stayed with Booboo, or the grandpa of the village. Borat was called “man bilong hookim pis” or the man who hooks all of the fish. He loved to go fishing. And on many occasions he took Evan along with him. We knew when Borat came over, we would always have a yummy meal of fish. Borat had 5 children and 1 adopted boy.

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SingSings in the Village-Wacky Wednesday

Singsing, Papua New Guinea, children, Rai Coast, Village

A Singsing is a traditional Papua New Guinean celebration. They are done when there is an event to celebrate, like Independence Day or Christmas. While we were in village living we were blessed to be apart of three different Singsings. Everyone who participates gets all dressed up in bright colors, that include different types of leaves, grass skirts, all different kinds of shells and face paint. Each community has their own unique way of doing it. It almost always involves the beating of a “kundu” or a drum made from a lizard skin, as well as singing and dancing. We had a blast getting to participate in them! They dressed us all up and painted our skin. The picture above is of the Singsing that the local elementary school performed for us. It was so beautiful because the school was right next to the beach and the kids really did sing their hearts out. The other two Singsings were done by our village family for us as we left. We got to participate in these, and then at the end we fed all of the participants tea and popcorn (they loved this!) Here are some photos from our Singsings during village living.

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