I am an Australian working in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Bible translation and linguistics. Before I moved here I worked on traditional sailing ships doing sail training, and shared life with friends through our variation on intentional Christian community living.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any of the organisations mentioned.
Friday, 22 May 2015
Year of the House
Having grown up in church-owned housing and rented my way
through a number of houses as an adult, the great Aussie dream of home
ownership has always been just that, a dream. This year though, that has
Recently I was given
a house in Ukarumpa.
My new Ukarumpa home.
This is our ‘company town’ in the Highlands where I am based
when not living in a village situation. It is my base of professional support,
personal friendships and ex-pat belonging. It is a town with a complex identity
that means different things to different people, but for me it is one of my PNG
homes. It is also now a place where I own
Robyn (Aussie) came to PNG in 1987 and Lisbeth (Swede)
arrived in 1986. Together they worked with the Ramoaaina people of the Duke of
York Island near Rabaul, dedicating the Ramoaaina New Testament in 2007. They
continue to work in that region, supporting the Ramoaaina Old Testament
translation as well as the Label, Kandas and Fanamaket New Testament
translation teams from nearby New Ireland Province.
Previously, they too were Ukarumpa based, coming and going
to the Islands. These days they are Kokopo based and no longer need their Ukarumpa
house. Some people sell their home, but they decided to give theirs away. It is
a cosy little home, with three bedrooms, office, living room, kitchen and shed.
At the moment I live here alone, but may end up sharing with another single
woman either long or short term.
At the same time as moving into my Ukarumpa home, I have
been getting ready to go to the village, where I am in the process of building
a house. Land has been set aside and posts and bearers have already been
installed. I am bringing a solar power system with me, and water tanks and some
tin roofing for water catchment are on order. Nails, hinges and a saw are among
the items I’m providing to assist in the building effort.
An Ubuo house (not mine) under construction (D.Petterson)
So it is that this year will probably end up with me having two homes to call my own! While I have
been given one house and am buying nails to build another, my sister has gone
through a mountain of paperwork and stress to gain a mortgage and purchase a
home in Australia. The contrast in home acquisition is stark, yet so is the
nature of our houses.
My Ukarumpa home is on land that is part of a 99 year lease
to an organisation I am a member of. My village house is on land that I have no
title to. Both houses are in a country where I currently have a five year visa.
I expect to be here long term and renew my visa many times, which is why I am
investing myself and my resources, but many things could easily change. Still,
I am excited at these developments that continue to make this country more and