This month PNG has very much been living up to its reputation as the Land of the Unexpected! A few weeks back the Seventh Day Adventist church in the valley went around to all of the different villages involved in the fighting that has been plaguing the Aiyura Valley and asked them to wash their hands of the violence.... and Praise God, they did! The fighting has stopped and we ask that you pray with us that this new peace remains.
On July 17th we had the exciting opportunity to attend a wedding. One of Jacob's co-worker's sisters got married and we traveled to the Ramu Valley for the wedding. It was interesting as the ceremony was intended to be a "western" ceremony. We were the only white people at the ceremony and when we walked into the church the pastor saw us and, speaking into the microphone, he said,"Hey two white man, you come sit up in the front with the bride's family.".... so much for blending in! After the ceremony there was a traditional mumu feast followed by the "pasim meri" which is a ceremony where the bride is passed from her family to the groom's family. The pasim meri also involves the giving of gifts and a re-paying of the bride price. You will notice in the picture the bride is wearing several meri blouses one over the other and many bilums (hand-made woven bags). These are all gifts from her family. The groom's family added even more bilums.
On July 23rd Kim left Ukarumpa for Fergusson Island, the location of the Molima people group, to photograph a Bible dedication which took place on July 27th. Jacob left Ukarumpa on July 26th and joined her there for the dedication. The Molima are a very remote people group and we had the opportunity to fly into and out of the village by helicopter!
The new school year just started over here. This term Kim will be teaching French, Algebra and helping with the Digital Photography class. She will be doing this in addition to her photography duties.
The gabion basket portion of Jacob's water project is complete and he is now in the process of digging the hole for the infiltration gallery. To do this he has hired four more men and now has a crew of eight working with him. The digging has been slow due to lots of rain. The excavation will need to be completed, the infiltration gallery installed, and the excavation backfilled, prior to the start of the rainy season in October.