2011 Annual Report

Nov 20 2011


2011 Annual Report

January- Beginnings are sometimes scary and difficult, but this year’s beginning was a little less so for us.  Since we are on the tail ending of the cholera epidemic, it seemed like the worst was behind us.  Unfortunately, I suffered from a bout with cholera myself [Jesse].  However, thanks to antibiotics and a couple of weeks in town, I was up and around shortly thereafter.  Another blessing was that since Karie had a scheduled teacher training course, I didn’t have to work as much outside.  I became the teacher for the kids, and held things down on the home front while Karie dealt with the teacher training.  That was exciting.  Not only are we helping to facilitate the elementary in Samban, we also now have teachers teaching in several other villages.  We had teachers from the villages of Yamen, Simbri, Kambuku, and Pamban.  Since we have worked on standardizing the curriculum, all of the elementaries will be competing over the same elements, and we will be able to see which teachers are doing the best job.  This was encouraging to these new villages as well, since we are donating all of the teacher materials, and some of the student books.  Pray that these new teachers will remain devoted in their tasks.  Depending on each village, some of the community involvement is lower than others, which makes it harder for the teacher. 


February- This was another month jammed with whole variety of different tasks to be completed and things to be done.  One thing you can say about life in PNG, you never do the same things twice.  This month could be classified as the month of medical evacuations or as the month where Jesse learned about jungle road construction.  Yet that’s not all it was either.  We hate to see bad things happen to good or innocent people.  This month we had several snakebite evacuations. Fortunately, all of these evacuations were successful, and did not result in any loss of life.  In all of the instances we are sure that if we had not been here, due to all of your support, all of those that were bitten would not have lived.  Thanks in allowing us to offer this ministry.

Yes we have started building a road through the jungle.  The reason for this is one due part to the need for good timber for construction.  The others are it will link us to other villages that we are or will support in the aspects of elementary education, and the medical support like we offer here in Samban. Due to the diligence of the teachers and elementary board members our little elementary school is running well.  We see room for improvement, but overall are happy with our results.  Since we have completed all our requirements of registering with the PNG government, the school is now able to be supported financially (occasionally)
 by the government.  This means that this year the elementary will be receiving funding, which the board and teachers want to put towards erecting a permanent classroom.  Since the seasonal changes that normally have happened, we have not been able to get the sawmill out to mill timber via the waterways, as we have in the past years.  Therefore, the community proposed hacking a jungle road towards a stand of timber some 9 kilometers away.  Also the arrival of the beat up old truck may have instigated this as well.  Once this started and another village was about the same distance away from the stand, they started slashing towards the timber as well.  All of this has been done by bush knives, axes, and occasionally the chainsaw and tractor.  Where the ground is too swampy, we have put logs crossways and dug ditches by hand throwing the dirt on top of the logs.  Right now we have about 8 kilometers of usable road.  There has also been the construction of 7 bridges as well.


March- Work is still continuing on the road.  This has been an exercise in patience and endurance.  The wet season decided to show up for awhile during this process, enough to make it really muddy and the mosquitoes came out in full force.  At one point during driving the tractor, I could not swat them away fast enough and still operate the gears and levers.  Slowly, but surely, we are edging closer to the timber.

We did receive the first check from the PNG government for our elementary.  This month we went into town to pick it up and make our first purchases for the classroom construction.  So that was very exciting to return to the village with rebar, concrete, nails, and roofing iron in preparation for the construction of the new classroom.

We also spent some time in Madang printing up the curriculum and material for all the elementaries we are now supporting.  This time in town also allowed us to print up the new school uniforms for the elementary in Samban.  It was not much of a break in town, but good to see progress being made in this area.  The students will be so excited to get their new uniforms.

Due to the odd weather patterns and stagnant water, there is a lot more sickness in our area as well.  With the onset of more mosquitoes, malaria is big problem.  It doesn’t help that there are no anti-malarial medication available in Wewak.  Pray that these medicinal supplies become available again, because it would really help with the onset of so many malaria cases.


April- Once again things did not go as we carefully planned.  Our weather patterns here in PNG have been bizarre.  Even the oldest men in the village cannot recall when it has been this random in the rainy season.  It used to be that this was still wet season; however, this has not been the case.  We do get heavy rains, but then we have had some dry spells during the times of rain.  Sections of the road that we considered done, got rained on heavily, and were completely un-usable.  This caused us to go back to work on the roads.  In some cases, we just had to abandon the work altogether.  Then once the dry spell came, we could fix it back up.

We also had a couple of weeks in town during this month.  While we had a few days of rest, we also stayed busy screen printing the shirts for the Samban Central Elementary School.  While it was time consuming and involved a lot of late nights it was worth it.

The local church has been making a push in getting our youth involved in the services at the church.  We are thankful that we have some good kids coming up.  Hopefully, there are some future church leaders in this bunch.

May- We are still working on the road this month.  We are very close, but have a few stumps to remove.  I (Jesse) welded together a new trailer to haul timber back from the sawmill site.  It is wider than the vehicles used to pull it, so this has meant that we needed to go back and take out some tree stumps that previously were not in the way.  While it is not that much wider, when you add the width, but especially the length (with the tongue it’s 14 feet long) most of the stumps that needed to be removed were around turns.  We have been able to start milling on one tree.  It was in the way of the road construction process, and was a very good hardwood for construction purposes.  We have milled it up as the posts, bearers, and some other smaller sections of timber.  Karie and the elementary teachers are still working hard on developing the Grade 1 curriculum.  They meet every Thursday after school to write the lessons.  It has been a lot easier for Karie, since she is not coming up with the ideas, but helping polish up the lessons.  There is still quite of bit of workload typing it all up.  The hope is that once we have the Grade 1 done, they will be able to move on to Grade 2.  Once the curriculum is complete, we will be able to have it standardized for all of our schools.  This means that training the teachers will be easier, other teachers who have already been trained and are teaching will be able to help with the training process.  That way, Karie won’t be the sole trainer.  I (Jesse) have helped where I can, but this is not my forte.


June-In June we all went to town to welcome John and Bonita.  We stayed busy in town printing school materials and I had some help from a few of PBT’s visitors in updating our digital library of our Ap Ma books.  When John and Bonita arrived we left the kids schooling in their capable hands and Jesse and I returned to the village to see what we could accomplish.  I walked to two of our satellite schools and boated to a third to assess their progress.  Jesse took time to service all the equipment around the house.  This included the generator, tractor, outboard motors, and sawmill. 


July- July started with the bang of Kite Day.  Four Elementaries attended and competed in a traditional sing sing competition and fundraising competition.  There were carnival games for all and prizes for the winners.  John and Bonita were able to be in the village catching up with old friends and finishing some work with Maso.  As we said our goodbyes to the Pryor’s, we welcomed Bob Noble, a guest, now friend from SIL who stayed with us for a week seeing how Sepik life differs from his Highland home.  He helped do a bit of training with our Elementary teachers who were in for a week of in-service in Math and Ap Ma. Jesse kept work on the road and river ways going and the first logs were pulled back to the village. 


August-   Upon receipt of our government subsidy check for the elementary school, materials were purchased for the construction of a new classroom.  Footers were poured and posts for the new elementary classroom were set this month.  We also did basic preparation for the site, prepping for construction.  Timber will have to be brought in from our bush areas for the building and we are still short cash for the rest of the roofing iron needed but the government officials assure us that another check is coming in September.  We head to town for the kids standardized testing in the highlands but the tests get postponed and we do more work printing for the school and printing uniforms for Simbri Elementary.  We also had 4 medical patients who had be evacuated to Madang for treatment many hours were spent in Dr. visits and hospital queues.  


September- We went to Wewak in September to mentor our head Ap Ma teacher in an SIL sponsored in-service for their STEP course participants.  Luk Mukok who attending the STEP course in ’91 attended the in-service and Karie acted as his mentor.  It was an opportunity to share with others the wonderful progress being made in the schools and to get some great ideas of how to improve our lessons and interactions with the local people.  We received our final government check for the year and were able to get needed books, roofing iron, and nails for the new classroom.  When we returned to the village we started milling timber.  Then the timber was floated back to the village in canoes and carried to the building site.


October-The construction began in earnest and the entire building was dried in.  Milling continues for the flooring and walling materials as well as for the needed timber for the literacy center add-on and the future clinic construction.  We were glad to have Peter Brook of SIL come to Samban for 10 days.  He spent time with the local artisans finding out about their art work and the history and development of the arts in the area as well as their local folklore.  He also logged several thousand photographs of various art works.  After Peter’s visit we were happy to host the PBT director Mike Herchenroeder.  He came to spend some time encouraging the translation teams in Samban and Painiten. 

November- In November we flew back to Madang en route to the SIL base at Ukarumpa for the kids testing (that previously had been postponed).  The two oldest each sat in on their grades tests while Mom and Dad caught up on administration paperwork, newsletters and reports.  The recently corrected Ap Ma kids books have to have all the corrections entered into the computer and we worked at that as well as attending a local craft sale to help sell our Sepik carvings.  In late November and early December three of our elementary teachers will travel up to the highlands to meet us and attend a two week course in Creative Phonics they will also tour the international school on base and the local schools to get an idea of the different ways teachers set up their classrooms. 

December- We will finish up the course here in UKA then head back down to Madang to catch a flight to Samban.  There is a big school closing program scheduled for the third week in December and a Christmas program for the end of December.  With the high water rains we are in hopes to bring all the milled timber by canoe back to the building sites.  We hope to finish classroom construction in January and begin site prep for the clinic later that month or early Feb.   

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