Papua New Guinea, Kambubu Adventist Secondary School

Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, SDA Church, Travel 2 Comments

Elevation Profile

As part of my trip to attend the Sonoma Adventist College Board meeting, I decided to use the opportunity to also visit the Adventist Secondary School in East New Britain. Fortunately a board meeting was scheduled for Kambubu for the day after the Sonoma board, so I joined the team to Kambubu for the day.

We were supposed to be picked up by the Kambubu 4WD truck at 8:00am in the morning. By 10:00am, the truck still hadn’t arrived. When we contacted Kambubu, we were told that the truck was stuck in the first river crossing of two river crossings, and the engine had died. It was therefore decided that we would take the Sonoma Truck (not a 4WD) to the first river crossing from our end, and that we would be picked up there by the Kambubu tractor. And that was how the adventure started!

I had been warned that I would learn the “Manus Dance” in the back of the track, and initially didn’t know what that meant. But as we got going, it became obvious very quickly. Although the first section of road was tar sealed, there are so many potholes, that vehicles find it easier to drive beside the sealed road. The “Manus Dance” is being bounced around in the back of the truck!

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One of river crossing that has a bridge – all metal, and very loud. Notice the big hole in the middle of the bridge.

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The road was windy and followed the top of a ridge. It was very scenic, and obvious that this area gets regular rain.

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At one point the driver hit the brakes really hard – there was a another truck coming the other way in one of the tighter corners. It turns out they were from Kambubu taking Copra (the dried kernel of coconuts – used to make coconut oil) to market.

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We then arrived at the first river from our end, and found the tractor with trailer already waiting for us.

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As I walked down to the river, a truck was just coming through.

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The government has already nearly completed bridge over this river, but it is not ready for use yet. However, it is OK to walk across. So we were told to walk across the bridge with our laptops – less risk. The river bed is undulating, and can vary in depth quickly (due to rainfalls upstream). One of the people travelling with us told of a time he crossed the river at night in a little Suzuki 4WD. They stopped at the edge, and he waded into the water to ensure it wasn’t too deep. The depth was deemed OK, so they started into the river. By the time they got to the middle, the river had risen by one meter, and the vehicle was swept downstream. They ended up spending the night in a nearby village.

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Despite all that, the tractor had no problem crossing the river.

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This is our team travelling on the back of the trailer.

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In Papua New Guinea, no-one is ever alone. So we were accompanied by lots of students who were happy to come along for the ride.

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When we reached the next river, we could see more students waiting for us – as well as the broken down truck in the distance. It had already been towed out by a tractor, but they were still unable to get it running. In the foreground you see a concrete structure, which was going to be a bridge across the river. It was funded by the Chinese government, but before it was even complete, it was pushed partially downstream by rising water levels. The students enjoy using it as a jumping platform.

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The students in this photo were rushing through the water to bring a large rope to the tractor, willing to pull the tractor across if it gets stuck.

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We were advised to take special care of our bags (due to our laptops) in case the trailer drops below the river level during the crossing. However, the crossing was uneventful.

As we headed out the other side, we came past the truck. It looks like they were trying to clean out the engine by the side of the road.

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One of the plantation tractors followed us on the road to Kambubu.

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This was our first glympse of Kambubu. The headland is the start of the property, and the water in front is the famous Rugen Harbour.

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As we were approaching Kambubu, the Kambubu truck came racing up behind us. They had finally got it going.

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The students were exuberant!

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Arrival at Kambubu Adventist Secondary School.

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Yes, this was the travelling party!

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Kambubu is a very beautiful school. Just look at its lush green grounds, and location by the sea!

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In the distance New Ireland can be seen (the mountain range in the clouds).

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I then came across this propeller placed near the administration building. To get the full story of this, I am told you must speak to Bryan Paul, a lecturer at Pacific Adventist University Smile.

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It appears that the steps on the back of the truck were damaged when it was towed out the of the river – nothing a quick welding job can’t fix.

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This is where I met with the Year 12s to discuss university entrance with them.

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After my meeting with the students, I went for a quick swim. This creek comes out of the mountains and is quite cool. It runs into the ocean where the mixture of cold stream with warm sea water makes for interesting swimming.

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Some more photos of the grounds – it is absolutely beautiful. The palm trees are magnificent.

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By the time we were ready for our return trip, it was already quite dark.

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When we got to the first river crossing, one of the boys jumped out and waded across. It was deep, but not too deep. So the truck drove into the river, only to be stuck spinning wheels about 5 meters from the other side.

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The driver asked the boys to jump into the water and push, but it made no difference. The lights you see on the other side, are two trucks that were thinking about crossing, but as they weren’t 4WD, didn’t want to take the risk at that time.

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After a few minutes, the driver remembered that he had forgotten to lock the front hubs, and that this was the reason the back tyres were spinning. Once hubs were locked, we were able to drive out without issues. Here we are passing one of the trucks was considering crossing.

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We continued to the second river crossing, and after checking the depth, crossed over without incident. And then it was just another 1.5 hours of “Manus Dance” before we returned back to Sonoma Adventist College.

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Needless to say, most directors don’t experience this level of adventure in the execution of their duties as board members. As for me, I loved my day out, and look forward to returning to Kambubu sometime in the future with Rebecca.

Gavuone, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea, SDA Church, Travel 1 Comment

The Koiari Park Pidgin Church (Pacific Adventist University) organised a weekend trip to Gavuone, and I was keen to go. Unfortunately, Rebecca had an assignment overdue, so she was unable to go. At first I decided not to go either, but there weren’t enough seats on the organised truck to cater for everyone. So on Friday morning, I offered to go if that meant that more members could go.

However, I had some critical things that needed to be attended to on Friday afternoon, so I chose to leave at 4:00pm – three hours later than the truck. I ended up running late, and we left at about 4:20pm, and then had to fuel up in Port Moresby. Finding fuel at that time is always difficult, because of long queues at the petrol stations. By 5:10pm we finally left 6-mile.

We made great time for the first hour or so, but once the sun set, we slowed down. Despite driving very sedately, we still had some passengers getting car sick – especially those sitting in the very back. So we stopped three times along the way.

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When we arrived around 9:00pm, we were offered dinner. The others had conducted the opening Sabbath service a the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and had just finished their dinner.

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The plan was for the group to sleep in a classroom – two classrooms for the boys, and one for the girls. Although I had brought a tent, there was no good place to pitch it. So I was offered a mosquito net and a place in the classroom with the boys. Here the pastor is putting up the mosquito net for me. He also provided the mat for me to sleep on.

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I stayed up late talking with some of the boys. There is a diesel powered generator for the region, and it runs all night. During the day there is no power.

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Most of the boys were asleep by the time I got to bed.

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The next morning I slept in, as I had little sleep the few nights before this trip. Most of the members were students from Pacific Adventist University, and they were asked to run the early morning devotion. The Gavuone Seventh-day Adventist Church has worship for all Seventh-day Adventists in the village every morning from 6:00-7:00am, and every evening from 5:00-6:00pm.

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The church is the big white roof in the center of the picture above. Below is a picture of the classroom where I slept, and another classroom where two others had pitched their tents for the night.

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The Gavuone Seventh-day Adventist Primary School is situated on a small hill surrounded by mangroves. The path below is the only access to the school – and it floods during King tides.

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In the pictures above, you can see a ‘metal shed’ in the middle of the picture, directly in front of the church. This is the elementary classroom. Here is what it looks like inside.

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When I arrived at church, it was still empty – but that changed very quickly, with every seat being filled and almost all the floor space used by people sitting there. Approximately 600 people worship here every week, two-thirds of them are youth and children.

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This photo shows how almost the whole floor is covered by people sitting on the floor.

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Lunch was prepared by the village women, who put on a superb spread. Given that Gavuone had 16 cholera cases in the previous few days, some people were a little anxious. However, no-one got sick, and nurses who were with us ensured good hygiene standards were followed.

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While we ate, the ladies who had cooked the food waited outside. Once we were finished, they took the leftovers back to the village.

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Following the afternoon program at church, we went for drive to see the village and the beach. Gavuone is situated at the mouth of Marshal Lagoon.

This is the national primary school.

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Here the beach faces the open sea, and in about the center of the photo is where the lagoon meets the ocean.

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Unfortunately many of the youth have little to do, so they sit around on the beach and play cards.

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After dinner and telling stories, it was time for bed.

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On Sunday morning I again slept in. When the others came back from the morning worship, we decided to go for a quick walk before breakfast. The mangroves looked very beautiful in the morning light.

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The youth were busy practicing their volleyball. The village is largely divided into two halves – the Seventh-day Adventist side and the Uniting Church side.The Adventist youth were going to face the United youth in a volleyball competition – something that was a first in this village.

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And on Monday, the famous canoe race was going to take place, so people were busy getting ready for that also. People from all over the country come to watch the canoe race.

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This man is busy working on his canoe for next year – the shell you see on the left, needs to be ‘doug out’ further, until the wall is just 1cm think (currently it is still almost 3cm).

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A few houses are built over the lagoon.

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Getting a haircut!

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Everywhere I went, children were looking at me – I guess they don’t see tall white men very often.

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The house below had these two children look out between the cladding.

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And, of course, people were going about their normal business. This woman is weaving a basket.

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Here is a shot across the lagoon fro one of the highest points in the village.

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The main street of the village.

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The school where we stayed from the distance – this makes it easy to see how it is one hill surrounded by mangroves.

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The beauty of the mangroves is that it attracts many herons. Here are two landing on the water.

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Yes, everyone helped where required.

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After we finished breakfast, we were told that the church had put on a farewell feast for us. We were expected to eat again! When we arrived at the church, sure enough, here was a long spread with lots of food. Notice the bowls for hand washing? Just making sure no-one gets cholera.

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While we were eating, the ladies sat on the lawn and sang – they sang for more than an hour without stopping.

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After the extra meal, there were some short speeches and then it was time to leave.

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And here are some shots showing some of the terrain we saw on our way back to Port Moresby.

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One of the little churches along the way.

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We spotted some locals processing sago by the side of the road. These men are cutting up the palm with hoe like instrument.

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The ladies then take the shavings and wash the starch out.

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A common sight in Papua New Guinea – washing the car (and everything else) by the river.

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We passed the truck, and shot ahead and looked for a nice spot to take some pictures of it passing.

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And some more photos of the varying conditions of the road.

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Just before we reached Gaire, the truck driver decided it was time for a short stop. For some reason Papua New Guineans must sit in the middle of the road (Magi Highway), as sitting by the side of the road is clearly not appropriate.

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When vehicles come, there is a quick scramble to get off the road.

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Our nurse, Annie, who made sure we were safe.

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And then we were on the road again.

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Arrival back at Pacific Adventist University.

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Day 06 – Friedensau (Germany)

Friedensau, Germany, SDA Church, Travel No Comments

I once again left the bike in the shed, and travelled with my aunty and uncle by car to Friedensau, the Seventh-day Adventist University located near Berlin.

It was a beautiful morning, and the fields were in full bloom. Around Berlin the roads are very straight, as the land is very flat.

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My uncle commented, that Friedensau must be the only village in Germany that has a sign advertising church services on Saturday.

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I was surprised by the size of the campus, as there are only approximately 200 students. However, they do offer three bachelor programs and 5 masters programs. I guess each program is comprised of a rather intimate class.

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This is one of the key buildings – it houses the administration and also the chapel.

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The inside of the chapel.

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The new library.

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Some of the staff and student accommodation.

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The old and the new fire station.

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A post office, which doesn’t open on Saturday, but opens on Sunday mornings.

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Adventist youth from around the northern part of Germany had a camp at the time I was there, and this was their main meeting tent.

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There is an adventure course and climbing wall for use by the youth.

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And finally, there is also a retirement village – all in all, Friedensau is a well thought out community. I think it would be a great place to study!

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Day 04 – Heiligenblut to Haage (Austria, Germany)

Austria, Bogenhofen, Germany, SDA Church, Travel 1 Comment
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