From The Home Front - August, 2006
Frank and I are enjoying our time here in Australia. Though it is
a country similar to the USA, it has it’s own culture and ways of doing
things. One thing that has been different for us is the mandatory
recycling. I know there are some cities in the USA that have mandatory
recycling too but we’ve never lived where they have had it. Here,
there is a bin for plastics and coke cans, a bin for clean paper, and a
bin for all the other trash. It can take a bit of mental effort when
your arms are loaded with trash to sort it all out. I always wonder
how strict they are and what “clean” paper is. Like if I have a newspaper
that accidentally got coke spilled on it, does that make it dirty enough
to go in the regular trash bin; or if it’s dried real good, can it go in
the clean paper bin. The clean paper bin isn’t all that big either
so we have to rip up and flatten all boxes to make more room. Frank’s
sister left a suitcase for us to throw away because the zipper broke on
it. Frank smashed it in half and put it in the general trash bin.
After the trash man came, we found it thrown out of the bin and lying on
the grass. Obviously a suitcase was not to go in the regular trash
bin. We asked the church people about it and they said that you save
big items and then twice a year they come around and pick them up.
Or else you can pay a fee and take things to the dump (they call it the
‘tip’). Since the problem was that the suitcase was a big item, Frank
decided to just jump on it and break it in small pieces and then put in
a plastic bag. It worked and was taken away.
Several people have asked us the differences between the USA and Australia
and so I thought I would mention a few and include Papua New Guinea too.
In most places in the USA, we are a little spoiled and throw away our trash
from big items to small items and never concern ourselves with sorting
it out. In this area of Australia (as I mentioned) you have to sort
and condense your “rubbish.” In the villages of Papua New Guinea,
you burn most of your trash and then dig a big hole to throw the rest away.
In Port Moresby, you can hire a service to come pick up your trash.
Also there is a joke in the country that you can leave whatever item you
no longer want on your front doorstep, leave, and it will be stolen by
the “rascals” before you get back.
In the USA, the postal service picks up and delivers mail to your house.
In Australia, the mail is delivered to your house, but you have to take
your letters to a local Post Box to be mailed. In PNG, the postal
service does not deliver or pick-up mail. You have to go to a Post
Office. Things are often disorganized too and you might see a postal
clerk resting his foot on a box and can’t help but ask him whose name is
on there because you’re expecting a box about that size.
In the USA, there are fast food chains everywhere you turn. Here,
there are fast food chains but mainly at the shopping centers. In
PNG, there is the Big Rooster and the Rotary Club holds a sausage sizzle
In the USA, you can go to about two different stores and find the exact
color of towels and sheets you want. In Australia, they have a little
less selection of store goods and so it might take going into four stores
to find the color you want. In PNG, it doesn’t matter how many stores
you go into. You take the bright flowered ones and are happy to get
There are good things about every country though. Each one has its
unique scenery. Australia has some of the biggest, prettiest birds
we have ever seen. Papua New Guinea has exceptionally friendly people.
And the USA has Wal Mart.
A friend in Christ,
Sister Cyd James
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