From The Home Front - January, 2005
January 5th –
About eighteen church brethren came to the airport to welcome our visitors.
They had been traveling for over thirty hours from Los Angeles and were
very tired, but all was okay.
Thursday January 6th –
Some of the church people wanted to get to know Brother and Sister Jones
and Sister Pam better, so we told them to come along as we did some sightseeing.
The first stop was the National Museum. One of the church members
works there and he wanted to show us the animals that he takes care of.
Mostly tropical birds and tree kangaroos. Then we all went to Parliament
House to see its unique architecture.
Brother Norman found out about a man who takes care of crocodiles (right
here in the city) who puts on a little show, so we decided to go see it.
The caretaker was deaf, but he communicated well with a type of sign language.
He also communicated well with the crocodiles. There was one great
big, fat crocodile in a pond of water and the man told Frank and Pam to
climb over the fence and follow him so they could get real close to it
for pictures. They walked down the hill to the pond and then the
man went over to the water to wake the crocodile up. He started slapping
the water with a big stick and singing to it in staccato type grunts.
The crocodile must have thought it was going to get some food so it jumped
up and splashed real big and came out of the water. Then it just
stood still. The man walked over and laid his head on the crocodile’s
head and talked to it in his singsong way and then gave it a kiss or two.
The whole thing was a little bit eerie to me because it’s not normal to
hug and baby talk a huge crocodile, plus animals are unpredictable.
But I guess he was PNG’s version of Steve Irwin, Australia’s crocodile
hunter. Frank said the man motioned for them to be ready to run in
case the smaller crocodile came out of the water. It would be able
to move really fast, unlike the fatter, older one.
Next it was off to the markets. Koki Market is known for its fish
and they did have some big ocean ones for sale. Things like tuna,
reef fish, and a type of gar. There were also different types of
fruit and vegetables. Boroko Market sells traditional PNG arts and
crafts. We were taking our time looking at the different necklaces,
baskets, woven string bags, and so forth when a man named Joe came running
over and wanted us to go back to the place where his wife was selling necklaces.
We had talked to him a moment before and he asked where we were from and
we told him the USA. He had told us his name was Joe and his wife’s
name was Helen. The reason he said he wanted us to come back was
that he wanted to give Pam and Brenda a free necklace because they were
visiting. Because of Joe’s insistence, they picked out a free necklace.
As we meandered across the market to the other side, a commotion happened
like a criminal was running or being chased. Brother Jones asked
a lady what it was all about and she said maybe the police were chasing
someone for illegally selling betel nut (because you can only sell it at
certain markets). But I looked down at that moment and saw she herself
was selling betel nut. It’s hard to know for sure what was going
on. We went into a store for a bottle of water and Frank brought
the car around to where we were and we went on home.
When we got out of the car and opened the trunk, Pam said, “Didn’t I have
a bag in here?” And then it immediately dawned on me that we had
been robbed. We couldn’t believe it!! Frank said the car door
was unlocked on Brother Jones’s side when he went to get the car and he
thought that was strange since he had been double checking that we locked
up. After he looked at the car really good, he saw there was no damage
and the only way a criminal could have gotten in was with a master key.
It’s common knowledge here that many of the gangs have master keys to different
makes of cars. And so they would most likely have a master key to
the Toyota rentals because that is what tourists use. And Caucasian
tourists are easy targets because they are so obvious to spot by the color
of their skin. Anyway, it was very grieving and upsetting that Pam
lost her bag that had her money, traveler’s checks, and driver’s license
in it; and she also lost her wide-angle camera lens. Brenda lost
her disposable camera. Frank went to the police station to report
the robbery but they were so inefficient they couldn’t even make a copy
of the report because their copy machine was out of ink. The criminals
left us the papaya and sweet potatoes we had bought at the market.
Later we couldn’t help but wonder if Joe had distracted us having Pam and
Brenda pick out a free necklace while the criminals robbed our car.
Then as we walked across the market, the criminals were running away with
the stolen goods, but we don’t have absolute proof of it.
That evening we wanted to go walk in the ocean at Ela Beach or more technically,
the Coral Sea. I wanted to get some pictures and it suddenly dawned
on me that the criminals had also stolen my 35 mm camera. I walked
into the living room with my hands on my hips and said, “They stole my
camera too!!” Brenda said she couldn’t believe that I didn’t remember
until several hours after the fact that I had also lost a camera. We went
for our walk in the ocean and enjoyed picking up little seashells and got
our minds off the robbery.
Brother Jones fell asleep after dinner and Brenda went to get ready for
bed. All of a sudden, we heard her screaming. I went in their
bedroom to see what was up. She was what was up .... on a chair that
is. She told me she heard a gecko clucking and knew it was somewhere
on the floor near Brother Jones’s suitcase. Frank and Pam came in
the room and we all searched for the gecko but couldn’t find it.
We think it was outside because they crawl up the walls and windows on
the outside too. Before Brenda would get off the chair, we had to
zip up Brother Jones’s suitcase so the gecko couldn’t get out of it, in
case it was in there. Brother Jones never woke up during all of this
commotion. He must have really been worn out from the travel.
friend in Christ,
Sister Cyd James
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