Our home was a rundown teachers’ house with a single tap filled from an oil drum, a broken toilet, a table, two upright chairs, and a community of rats. Our first night in a dirty, dark house on a hard chair with rats running around we prayed for courage! Tony was the rat hunter, killing 18 rats with poison, a hammer, an arrow, a mallet and just by throwing a stone ( to be fair, I think that rat was already dying!)
Students quickly register when teachers arrive, many walking 6 hours for a 2 hour class. On wet days, students were often late, waiting for swollen rivers to fall so they could wade across. PNG Church Partnership funding was used to open a training café to improve small business initiatives for women. This proved very popular with people coming to buy Simbai coffee, cakes and bread or just to read our papers and books – a rare treat.
At our new business centre, computer students were producing CVs, ID cards and documents. Tony taught soil management- making terraces and compost heaps, new methods of growing and water conservation. New seed varieties were introduced to enrich the Simbai diet.
The added chores of washing (bodies, pans and clothes) in the river, collecting water and firewood (for heat and cooking) and limited protein meant we were often very tired. Plane deliveries of food were sporadic leading to a slight sense of panic about what there might be to eat other than sweet potato! We got used to feeling hungry.
Follow this link to find out how the funding from the 2018 Lent Appeal was used and how the building of the church in Simbai progressed.