Tuesday, October 31, 2006

can't hurry shopping

Today I realised that you can't do anything in PNG whilst in a hurry.

I went grocery shopping and was stopped many times by strangers wanting to hold Madison. It's a weird thing. I guess white babies are much more rare in Papua New Guinea and perhaps they don't feel comfortable asking a less approachable person! Perhaps I should smile less :-)

It was quite funny today as two young girls (they were students from the local TAFE) who actually wanted to take him for a while and bring him back later. I think I drew the line with them holding him in the supermarket aisle! But it was funny as they held him for AGES. One of the girls even commented that she wanted a 'white man' so she could have a cute baby.

I was keen to finish the grocery shopping, but there wasn't any hurry...


As part of the 'moving clean out', I have been transferring all my laptop photos to Steve's Mac. It's been a fun process, and has got me all reflective (again). I guess photos have a way of doing that.

I thought I would post some updated pics of our beautiful girls with their little brother, Madison.

Steve is in Australia and is so lucky to be spending some time with the girls. I am jealous as I have barely seen them this year. It's only weeks before Christmas, so at least I get to see them (albeit briefly with Kelly as she is hoping to go to Cambodia for short volunteer stint). But brief is better than nothing.

Look at that sisterly love, won't you?

Friday, October 27, 2006

five months old

On Wednesday, Maddy was five months old.

He is as dreamy as ever. He loves sitting up and watching tellie with Dad (very cute!) and falling asleep in strange positions. His small sleeps of half hour every three hours has finally merged into one longer sleep which means I get more time to finally finish tasks (ie. washing up, cleaning etc.). In fact, the house hasn't been so tidy since he was born :-) Now there's an admission.

Anyway, just some five month old pics for you...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It's started. The cleaning out and the culling. It's amazing how in four years you can accumulate so much stuff. Well, we have decided it is too much to take back with us and so we're going nuts.

I might be going a tad overboard though. Every book, DVD and kitchen item has now been catalogued. Yes, it was a productive weekend and we now won't be under-insured. I am not sure if my husband thinks it is such a good idea, but anyhow...

On the more serious side, the goodbyes have already started, and Esther (our house girl) even cried last week. She is unsure of her future when we go, and she is wondering if she will get more work. There are so many people dependent on us here for their livelihood. So, it seems we will be missed. It makes us feel sad and guilty. What we do here does seem to make a small difference, and it's all we need to feel more convinced to stay a little longer. It's a tough one. But we must be strong.

Monday, October 16, 2006

maddy progress report

Maddy is now 20 weeks and he is doing well reaching his baby goals.

His news tricks include: holding his arms out when he wants to go up or across to someone, sitting up without wobbling and eating his toes. He is almost turning over in order to reach for things (especially loud crinkly stuff) and gets frustrated if he can't get it.

He delights in eating tissues (or anything he can get his hands on for that matter) and he is even drinking from a glass. When his gums are pressed up against the glass we can see his two bottom teeth just waiting to push their way through. They'll be here any day now.

Not a day goes by that I don't count my blessings that he is an easy baby. Steve is away this week and so I spent a little longer at the office today (nothing to rush home for). I was in a meeting and between conversation I could hear squeals of delight and laughter. Madison was having the time of his life. He just continues to charm everyone over with that great big cheeky grin and funny facial expressions!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

best friends

As I have said before, Madison has made many friends in Papua New Guinea.

As well as impressing all the girls at my office, he is starting to melt hearts at Steve's work too.

Aunties Ravu and Pauline swipe Maddy from my arms when they see him, and they are often AWOL for quite some time.

It seems they have lots of fun just hanging out and taking self-snaps...

Monday, October 09, 2006

first party

On Sunday afternoon, Madison went to his first party.

It was Pratik Saggurthi's 2nd Birthday party and it was a lot of fun. For everyone except Maddy, that is.

He burst into tears each time the music stopped in "pass the parcel" when the other children squealed in delight.

He cried when the grown ups became "mummies" wrapped in toilet paper.

And he didn't really get excited when the candles were being blown out.

In fact, he decided to have a sleep in middle of it all.

Oh, he did seem to (sort of) enjoy the little ride on the yellow pony with Sahil and Pratik on their blue one.

I figure he is probably too young to enjoy parties just yet, but the other kids (and the grown ups) had a wonderful time!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

rainy weekend

This weekend has been a wet one with rain pouring down all night and all day. In fact, it is one of my favourite things about living in Lae. The weather is very tropical and humid, but in wet season, it rains (no, pours) all the time. And in dry season it only rains at night. We get around 4 metres per year (wouldn't it be lovely if all this rain could somehow be transferred to Australia to help end the drought?).

This morning Steve and I slept to rain on our roof after a night of watching way too many movies (three in all). It was nice to vege out, but I know too well that late nights will come back and bite me! I can’t be sure when Maddy will wake up, so it is a gamble staying up late.

Luckily Maddy woke only at 1am (we were still watching movies) and again at 6am. It meant that I dragged him to our bed early in the morning and fed him (how lazy) until he fell back asleep until around 9am which was so nice. When he awoke we spent some time talking to him and watching his little activities.

We are both amazed at how quickly he has changed from being ‘blob-like’ (ie. just watching things) to grabbing and eating everything in sight! We reckon it was only two weeks ago that he learnt to use his hands, and now we can’t do anything with him on our lap for fear of disaster. Plates, cups, knives and forks have all moved 10cm further away from the edge of the table and our bills (very tasty), no longer can sit on the lounge room coffee table for long.

And our hair! Steve suffers from this more than I do (since I have recently had all my hair cut off), but Maddy is pulling out Steve’s hair in bunches. When I bath him at night he usually has some hair entwined around his fingers or toes which is evidence of what he has been up to!

Despite this, we still do attempt to do things with him on our laps. In fact, after we got ourselves up today, and had our cooked brunch (the usual Sunday tradition), Steve had Madison on his lap while checking out some new guitar tabs on the internet. Maddy looked at Steve as if to say, "I am your biggest fan." It's too cute for words!

Friday, October 06, 2006

captured moment

Maddy has developed quite a nice relationship with our ‘haus meri’ Esther.

On the days she works, she rushes into the house to see what Madison is up to. She usually grabs him and talks to him in tok pisin which I think he is starting to understand as it is spoken to him lots!

The other day she was playing with him and he just cuddled up to her and she was just dying for a photo with him. So, I grabbed the camera. Aaaw, isn’t it cute? I will get it printed too so she can have her own copy too. I know she will treasure it for a long time...

Esther says every day how sad she is that we are leaving. It's hard after bonding with her for almost four years.


This week was an exciting one: we had our first hold up at the new office.

Two raskols held one of our drivers at gunpoint in our car park with a hand-made gun and took the keys to one of the ADRA four-wheel drives and took off. As they backed out of our driveway, they threatened our security guard and scratched one of our staff member's cars with the stolen vehicle.

They didn't get too far thankfully as ADRA has installed motor vehicle kill switches in each car (yes, we've had cars stolen before) and they got as far as Kamkumung, which is about five minutes from the office before the engine stopped.

The police did catch them and had their way with them also, which wasn't very nice, and not uncommon. And we had two very shaken up staff members as a result of the hold up.

The vehicle came back in one piece, but what was interesting was the reaction of the ADRA employees as a result of the incident.

One of our staff members went to the police station with our driver to report the incident and took some photos of the raskols after they had been beaten up by the police.

He came back to the office and emailed the photos to the rest of the staff. Some of them were happy about the beatings as these employees felt retribution and 'payback' for their crimes. But there was a response from some others asking for forgiveness of these two men. Suggestions to assist these two raskols included feeding them, giving them bible studies and praying with them.

So guess what? A rehabilitation program has been arranged for the two raskols, food was provided for them, painkillers for their injuries and first aid equipment for their wounds. A few even spoke to one of the raskols (the other couldn't come to the interview room due to his serious wounds from the bashing) and they accepted offers of help. These guys were fed and prayed with by ADRA staff. What a turnaround!

One of our work guys said, "Just looking into the eyes of this young man my heart reached out to this lost soul. We offered a word of prayer in our hearts whilst Tamalu (see pic above of Tamalu with the hand made shotgun) chatted with the prisoners. And we pray that they will finally be lead to the saving Grace of our Lord Jesus."

It gets me thinking about crime in this country. There are many people who I know wouldn't dare come and live here because of the security issues. We see it first hand here regularly and see how people live in fear and won't leave their houses at night. There are continual break-ins, hold ups and even recently, our own lives were in danger and our car damaged extensively as a result of an attempted hold up. To say it was 'too close for comfort' is an understatement.

So, I was so proud to see that our own staff at ADRA, despite being sick of the crime waves and worried for their families' lives, stopping and thinking about what Jesus would do. Was it easy? No. Some of the staff that visited these raskols have been held up and had guns held to their own baby's heads.

How would we respond if it was our child? Our family? Our belongings? In the comfort of our nice homes and safe (well, compared to PNG) country. Would we do what Jesus would have done?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

first swim

On Sunday, we took Madison to the pool where he had his very first outdoor swim.

We covered his fair skin from head to toe with sunscreen, tshirt and hat and he still managed to get a little burnt on his nose and legs. That tropical sun here is pretty strong.

He was a little uncertain about the size of the kiddie pool, as it is much bigger than the bath... but he did enjoy it nonetheless.

After the swim, Steve decided it was time to teach Maddy how to show us his muscles. This game he has been doing for years as I know Kelly and Leah are a little familiar with this one too. It was a lovely day.

Oh, and do you like his little hat and bathing shorts? Thanks Shell, Chris and Alesia for the very practical PNG gift!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

baby boom

Today I have been thinking about my many friends who were all doing the same thing as us 12 months ago, and decided to have a family.

There's Jo and Brett who were like us and weren't sure if they wanted a family, but then the that damn clock starting ticking and us girls changed our mind! They welcomed a little girl Chloe 3 months ago.

Megan and Mark had a little girl Olivia Paige three months ago. The picture above is of Maddy and Olivia playing up. Maddy is such a chubba in comparison!

Nicola and Mike had a boy two and a half months ago and they named him Zebediah, and he is a little miracle IVF baby and just gorgeous.

My lovely cousin Holly and her hubby Angelo had their second baby, a boy name Joseph John only four days after Maddy was born.

Ali and Leighton had a girl, Charlie May just a day before Maddy.

Finally, Darren and Melissa who have been wanting a baby for years and had their little miracle just over a month ago.

The little gifts that we have been given are each a miracle, and I am so happy that we are all experiencing our very own journey with our new children. Enjoy the moments.