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an office chair in the mountainous rain forest of PNG?

October 13, 2010

Several years ago, Jeffery, one of the literacy supervisors, came to my house. He was quite excited about some news. The company that had been searching and drilling for oil was closing one of their camp offices. I could buy their used office furniture, I just had to pay for the furniture and then pay to fly it to Walagu. I, myself, was not sure about the quality of camp office furniture, so I just listened to Jeffery’s list of items and prices. He had saved the ‘best’ item for last: He said, “And they have 3 wheel chairs!” Well, that caught my attention. A wheel chair? Who needs a wheel chair? I know of one may who has an injured leg, but he gets around with his stick & good leg as well as most others on their 2 good legs. There are some elderly people who do not get around well, but I was horrified to think of them hurtling down the mountainside in a wheel chair. So, for a few moments, I was not really hearing Jeffery as my mind was flying away picturing various disasters. I could not imagine the need for one wheel chair, much less three.
Oh, Jeffery was talking about office chairs – the nice kind with wheels. How silly of me! Well, we did not buy any of that office furniture. But later, I did buy one office chair for my working here in my house, as the basic wooden chair does not go well with fibromyalgia.
Yesterday, two young children came into our house for the first time. Do you remember the first time you rode the biggest roller coaster? You wanted to go on the ride, but it was scary, what would really happen?! Well, for young Onobasulu children going into the missionaries’ house the first time is that feeling. You see your little friends go in, and they come out with amazing stories about face paints, coloring, looking at books, or sometimes, the ladies say, “Oh, this is not a good time, come back later.” How disappointing.
So back to these 2 small children, their new baby sister is named after Joy, so they came in to see Joy. But there was Beverly’s teal blue office chair. What kind of furniture is that? They have not ever seen anything quite like that – just plain wooden chair or bench, and that only in church or the health office, not their own house. So, I showed them that it rolled, and then twirled. They seemed quite impressed, so I sat in the chair and twirled myself. They looked a bit terrified, so I gave them a small cracker each. That too was scary, but they overcame the fear enough to eat the treat. They suddenly left and came back with the gift of a cucumber for Joy. Great – now our friendship is off to a good start!

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