3 Day PMV Hike

We just got back from our 3 day PMV hike. A PMV is a public motor vehicle, usually a 15 passenger van, bus, truck, or even a dump truck! that takes people from one place to another. The trick is, there isn’t a schedule to show when they stop, and you never know where they stop. Everyone in PNG uses them to ride from place to place so it was a great learning experience. 

Evan and I went with a guide, Papa Ganig, who is a bit of a “big man” in the community. Everyone knows him.

The first day we caught a PMV down the mountain on a 5 ton truck, where everyone but us and the driver sat in the back. Most of the rides we were asked to sit in the front because we are “whiteskins” and they want to make sure we are safe. We definitely appreciated that on these bumpy roads! After we got into town Papa Gagnig told us it would only be 30 minutes before the next PMV came. 6 hours later, it finally came! So we did a lot of sitting and talking with the people. We made lots of friends. One of the highlights of the trip was what happened next. Once we got to our first village we were greeted by all of the children in the village throwing flowers and singing songs. They led us singing through the whole village until we got to our house. Our house was so nice! It was new and had pretty decorations all around. It has 4 bedrooms and even a dining room with a table and chairs (Most village houses don’t have any furniture). The outhouse was brand new and they even built a covered picnic table to eat at. After we arrived in the village we went washing in the river and then went to eat. They made a ton of food for us. Things like cooking bananas, rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken soaked in coconut milk. It was delicious! Once it got dark they asked us to preach to them in Tok Pisin by the light of the fire. Ha! So I selected a passage in Matthew about the children coming to Jesus. Then all of the children sang some worship songs in Tok Pisin. It was such a great moment, even when it started to rain.

The next day we woke up and they fixed us a big breakfast before we took off for the next village. After breakfast we walked about 30 minutes to the main road where the PMV would pick us up. We waited about 1 1/2 hour and then we rode to the next village. At the next village we were greeted with a shower of flowers that the family threw at the PMV. Then we had the whole day to talk and get to know them. Around noon Evan began getting a migraine just from the heat and the mental power of talking so much in Tok Pisin. So they graciously allowed us to go take a nap in the house on the hill that we were staying with. After we got up we hiked to the place where they washed. It was far! I can’t believe that they walk that far every day to wash. Once we got there the water was very stagnant, but I jumped in anyway. It was nice and cool. The men and women washed in separate places, and I kept my clothes on because as always I had an audience of children watching me :). After we got back from washing we spent the evening talking, eating, playing darts, playing guitar and singing with them. We had a lot of fun.

We woke up the next day to lots of rain. We left the village about 8am and walked about 45 minutes to the main road. We caught a PMV ride in the rain with a rickety old PMV that Evan had to hold the door closed as we drove. Ha! It also had so many cracks in the windshield we could hardly see out of it. Luckily we made it into town with our host Papa, and two other girls from the family leading the way. We stood in the rain waiting for the final PMV for about 2 hours before we heard that it broke down and wasn’t running for the day. So Papa Gagnig led us to a PMV that was a lot like a bus that took us down the highway to our last ride. As we got out of the bus, we saw one of our trucks pull up! Hallelujah! Matt (the maintenance director) picked us up at the bottom of the mountain and we jumped in the back of the truck and road the rest of the way in the rain standing up in the back of the truck because it was already quite full of people.

Wow! We had such a great experience. We feel like we learned so much about getting around in this country and made lots of friends. Here are some pictures from our experience. I also have some video, but I will post that later.


 Our PMV down the mountain


 Sitting at the park in town for 6 hours waiting for our PMV.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_06Evan with our guide, Papa Gagnig and our host PapaPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThis woman was selling chickens at the market.
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_14PMVHike_15Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCA market outside of town. Logging is a very big industry here.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThe first village we went to, we had so much fun! We stayed in a huge house and the whole village sang to us as we walked in. They made us feel so welcome.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_26Papa Gagnig on the steps to our very nice village house. Cement steps are very rare here!
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

 Packages of betel nut, a nut the Papua New Guineans chew here that is like caffeine that turns their mouths red.

db799c5a6bd0e1c7944c9015f7193e05304215a1e8723d436c8799050ea0314cOur PMV ride to our 2nd village.
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

The house we stayed in our 2nd village.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

Hanging out with the family in the “haus wind” or the dining room.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_35Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POC

Our 2nd village host family, and their dog.


All of the windows in this PMV were out, so what did they do? Just put some duct tape on it!1f78b195df741c07d6bfa265257e14dd534d8a41c9bf8ed1a490754d394511d7

One of the last PMV rides, where Evan had to hold the door closed as it was raining. It also had zipties tied to the windshield wipers for “decoration”

Riding in Papua New Guinea-Wacky Wednesday


We just got back from our 3 day PMV hike, where we went to 2 villages and spent the night. To get from village to village we took a PMV, a Public Motor Vehicle. PMVs vary, some are 15 passenger vans, some are dump trucks and some are actual buses. This particular PMV was an unmarked truck, filled with about 12 people in the back. Evan, our guide Papa Gagnig and I rode in the extended cab. It was definitely Wacky! Stay tuned for more on our PMV Hike.


Kamba {POC}


Yesterday Evan got to go on a hike to the village, Kamba. It was a 16km (roughly 10 mile) hike with a stop in the village Kamba for lunch. Because my ankle is still bothering me I got to ride up the mountain to meet them for lunch at the village. What a drive! The road was almost non-existent in some spots which made for a very bumpy ride. The hike was also very difficult, with lots of straight ups and straight downs. They even crossed a river at one point that was about ankle deep. We had a good time in the village of Kamba, relaxing and eating lunch. Evan and I have made it a point to go talk with the locals and learn more language. So I went to talk with the women and Evan went to talk with the men. It was a great experience and I feel much more accomplished just from that little interaction that I was able to have a full conversation with them. Here are some pictures from the day.

Kamba_07The group before they took off for the hike


Once I met Evan in Kamba, he was enjoying a refreshing drink from a coconut


The village of Kamba


Evan with our guide Robert

Kamba_15Papua New Guinea, Kamba, POC, HikeKamba_16Kamba_20Papua New Guinea, Children, Kamba, POC, Hike

All of the ladies hanging out in an old PMV truck bed.


My favorite shot from the day.


Nob Nob Wasfemili

Papua New Guinea, Village, People, Children

This is our wasfemili (or host family) that has been taking care of us as we have been at POC. They are such a sweet family and we have really enjoyed getting to know them. Miani, the Papa, absolutely loves Evan and he comes to visit us every Saturday. Evan has been teaching him how to weld. Judy, the Mama, is so sweet and makes us fresh food, like shrimp and eel with lots of sweet potatoes and cooked bananas. They have four kids, Ezekiel, Magdalena, Ludwena and Clive. Ezekiel is the oldest, and was a nephew of theirs who they have adopted. He is a fun kid (in the dark blue shirt) who has nicknamed Evan, “goat” because of his goatee. Clive is a mischeivious little guy who the parents always say has a “Big Head”. Ludwena and Magdalena are sweet girls who love beautiful things like flowers and paper hearts and they love to help out their Mama in the kitchen and go to church. The other two older girls in the family are a cousin of Papa and a sister of the Mama who live with them. We have gotten the chance to eat at their home and at the center a couple of times now and each time we meet with them we have so much fun. We laugh and joke and learn more Tok Pisin. This week is our last week to meet with them and we will cook them a meal in our Haus Kuk (outdoor kitchen). Once we go into our 5 week village stay we will have another wasfemili. It is such a great program, and I can’t wait to meet them!

Hiking and Swimming {POC in PNG}

SwimPOC from Sarah Halferty on Vimeo.

One of the highlights of POC is the physical side. Before coming to POC we knew a little about it, but not the full extent of the matter! Hiking=vertical. Whether you are going down or up, most of the hiking is slippery and rough.

As for the swimming, we have actually had fun doing this! Both of us have been able to swim 1/2 a mile so far (when we have been healthy enough), and we look forward to finishing our mile! Watch the video above to get a taste of what the physical side of our life has been here so far.

Church Visit {PNG}

Papua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POC


Last Sunday we were able to visit our first Papua New Guinean church. Wow. What an amazing experience it was to worship with other believers in Tok Pisin. We hiked up the hill from our POC Centre and went to a Lutheran church. One of the main things that was different other than the language was the fact that all of the men sat on one side of the building and all of the women sat on the other side. That was different! Our class learned a song in Tok Pisin that we sang in front of the whole church and Evan was able to play his guitar for that. It was an open air church, full of people, even spilling out the doors. There were even a few dogs who joined the service at times! Lots of the kids hung outside the windows listening to the message and everyone was very welcoming and kind. They all wanted to know our names and where we came from.

Before the service started one of the missionaries, Verna, who has been here in this area for 37 years asked me if I wanted to see something cool. Of course I did! So she took me to the Sunday school class just across the path where all of the kids were singing. It was amazing hearing the kids rejoicing God in their own language.

Later that night we had a special treat. A couple of the local guys from the church were invited to come sing in their own language (one of the 850+ languages in the country!) to our group. Wow. They were so talented. And what was even cooler was that Evan was able to play his guitar with the guys and learn their music! They also sang with Evan and I as we led worship. It was definitely one of those moments you could feel God in the room.

Here are a few pictures of the church service that morning.

PNGNobNobChurch_01PNGNobNobChurch_02Waiting for church to start. There is no “set” time the church starts, its just when everyone gets there. Here you can see the girls sit on one side and the guys sit on the other side.

PNGNobNobChurch_03Papua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POCPapua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POCPapua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POCPapua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POC

Papua New Guinea, POC, Madang, Church


The Market in Madang {PNG}


One of the many things we did this week was go to the market in Madang town. It was so fun! We got to go with our tisas (teachers) and learn a little more of the language by buying things. It was so colorful and different than anything that we have ever seen.

Market in Mandang from Sarah Halferty on Vimeo.


Henson, our driver down the mountain.
PNGMarketPOC_08With our “tisa” (teacher) Ik Bom at the market.


First Full Day {PNG}

Papua New Guinea, child, village

This evening ends our first full day in Papua New Guinea. What an amazing place! We are just amazed by the beauty of this country. We started the day by waking up at 6:00am, in full humidity, under a mosquito net. Then we both had our first ever bucket showers with thank goodness! HOT water. Then we headed to breakfast in the dining hall with all of the people taking the course. There are 20 families here, with all sorts of different mission agencies and from all different countries like Finland, Australia, Brazil and Switzerland (and the US). Then we took a short walk around the center with a missionary who has been here for 37 years! She and her husband are currently working to finish the Old Testament in the village nearby. We have met so many wonderful people here and are making fast friends. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to take a walk with our new Australian friends to a nearby village. They are much more skilled in Tok Pisin and were talking with the people and making friends. It was so cool! We are having a great time and learning a lot already. Tomorrow starts our first full day of classes.

Everyone hanging out in the courtyard dorm area

Everyone hanging out in the courtyard dorm area

Our room off the courtyard.

Our room off the courtyard.


Our room at POC

Our room at POC



Our view from POC

Our view from POC


A beautiful Papua New Guinean woman that is chewing betel nut which dyes your mouth red.

A beautiful Papua New Guinean woman that is chewing betel nut which dyes your mouth red.



Papua New Guinea, children, village

Evan playing with the Papua New Guinean children.


Papua New Guinea, children, villagePapua New Guinea, children, village