On August 9, Brandon and I celebrated 5 years of marriage! We decided to go on a hike that weekend as part of our celebrations. We asked Sister Latina, a nun who works in Fatima, to go with us. She’s originally from the Milne Bay area of PNG- the very eastern tip. She often walks through the hills around Fatima going on pastoral visits- many of the villages have prayer houses where local women meet weekly. This meant that we’d be walking along and she’d say “Oh excuse me I need to go talk to this old man” and poke her head inside a hut. She speaks pidgin and was able to ask for directions when we took a wrong turn, and explain to people every ten feet that we were just going for a walk, haha.
Here are a few additional details from Brandon. Sister Latina did not realize that when we asked her to go on a hike, we meant that we intended to point to a mountain and then find our way up it. She probably thought we intended to go for a leisurely stroll, so she only brought an umbrella with her (though a lightsaber bushknife would have been useful.)
On the steep climb to the summit, Anastasia gave very encouraging remarks: “You are big, Daddy! You are strong . . . like the mountain!”
It rained once we reached the top, so our umbrellas and rainjackets were put to good use. PNG soil is mostly clay, so the way down involved lots of slipping and sliding; including Sister Latina completely wiping out and tossing her umbrella into the air!
The only time we were not constantly encountering people on our hike was at the very top of the mountain, and even then, we found some gardens and huts just below the summit.
What we climbed was just the first ridge of the mountains north of Good Shepherd; we’ll try the big mountain sometime soon . . .