Ten things I learned in Papua New Guinea

(Thanks for joining us ohamanda.com readers. This is my first carnival post. I’m so excited!)

Our first morning at our new home

It’s been five years since J and I packed up every last thing that we owned, sold the rest, took our four month old baby, got on a plane, then another, and then another, and moved to Papua New Guinea to work as missionary teachers.

Our experiences there left an indelible impression on our lives.

Here are just a few things that I learned in our two years there that may be worth passing on . . .


Some of the outfit was not my fault.

1. Nothing bad will happen to you if you are not dressed cool.  Therefore, if your feet are cold, Chacos and socks are okay.


Addie takes a bath.

2. Accept help when it’s offered, even if you don’t need it.  Maybe the help isn’t for you.


I didn't have baby decor, so I hung her pretty dresses on a line along the wall.

3.   Use what you have. You don’t have to buy something, especially if there’s nothing to buy and no money to buy it with. (I learned this is called being resourceful. Go figure.)


Check out the intricate roadway these guys carved out of the wall.

4.  Kids who don’t have TVs do this crazy thing called “playing”.  It turns out that it is good for them. :)


Some friends made dinner for our 3rd anniversary and created a lovely "restaurant" for us.

5. If you can’t go out, stay in. Sometimes making the best of it is actually better anyway.


Addie looking out the airplane window over the jungle.

6. Kids are adaptable.  Actually, grown ups are too. God made us this way.


Jungle hike near a tilapia pond

7. Stick together. You’ll be able to do things that you could never do on your own.


"Seriously Mom, you're gonna bathe me in this?!"

8. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and not worry about the rest.  I mean, it really is possible to be too clean.



Fish face is my silly face of choice.

9. DIY, girlfriend! (Or boyfriend? Are boys reading this blog?)  If you want bagels, make them. Yogurt; make it. Bread; make it. Sausage; make it. Spaghetti sauce, make it. Nappy cleaner, make it. You don’t need no store. (See, you know I’m serious when I start using double negatives!) Pull up your big girl pants and make yusself that food you want!

The left side was our house while we were there.

Master bedroom when we arrived. I'm standing in the doorway. It really is this small.

The gorgeous view from our bedroom window

10.  A lot depends on which point of view you decide to take.  Choose wisely.

Wow, that really barely covered a fraction of what I learned there. We’ll have to do this again some time. :)


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9 Responses to Ten things I learned in Papua New Guinea

  1. Laura August 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    Love 2 and 3. Love you!

  2. vanessa @ silly eagle books August 19, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    I love #1. Going to try that look out soon. :)

    You should link this up to top ten tuesday @ ohamanda.com next tuesday.

  3. Kristen August 19, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    you know that’s right! i, of course, love this post. reminds me of the good things in my life… even though most of them are hard.

    funny… that spot in the clay ditch across from your place… that’s nate’s favorite spot to play. don’t know if it was those same roadways but there are still some there. he loved it!

    yay, papua new guinea!!!

  4. Kristi August 19, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    love it. although a little frightened to be honest about the chacos and socks business. i think something bad could still happen to you for that one. your kids will love this picture one day or be absolutely horrified by it! i’m going to make those bagels tomorrow!!

  5. Katrina August 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Okay, about the socks and Chacos. First, we had to wear skirts, which makes all my practical outfit options horrific. Second, it is cool and damp many mornings, but if you don’t get the laundry out early, if won’t dry. So in a fit of panic one day, I went tearing out and grabbed the shoes at the door. Of course, J seized the opportunity to catch me looking my most “missionaryist.” I will have you know that I was distinguished at the school as being the “teacher who wore makeup.” So there, I did try a little bit.

  6. Shelly @ Coupon Teacher August 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    How brave you are, and what a wonderful experience! I bet your husband has some stories for his students!

  7. SpitFire August 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    That would be a fascinating experience!!! I’d like to go on mission trips to sometime, to get a taste of what our missionaries go through. Y’all rock!

  8. Johanna Fenton December 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Okay, okay, so I have little tears in my eyes. I laughed out loud at #8. So true. I bathed Elsie in river water too. And how about that view? Aw, we lived in such a beautiful spot on the globe.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] this crazy promise I might have gotten more pedicures back in those dual income pre-kid days. Alas. We became missionary teachers in Papua New Guinea for two years. One of the best and most bizarre things we ever did . . but this blog isn’t about that.  […]