Plotinus in the Jungle

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Solwara Sojurn

The first week in September we went on a family vacation to Madang! It was our first trip to the North Coast. It was also Tabitha’s first time on an airplane:

Flying Travelair: Get there early- your flight could take off an hour before its schedule and stop in an extra city just for fun!

Flying Travelair: Get there early- your flight could take off an hour before its schedule and stop in an extra city just for fun!

We stayed at St. Fidelis Minor Seminary, where first step in the seminary formation process takes place, with our wantok Nate Johnson, pictured here in Madang Harbor.

Riding a PMV boat, which you catch by standing at a random unmarked dock. We did find some excellent grilled fish by standing at the wrong dock for a while though.

Riding a PMV boat, which you catch by standing at a random unmarked dock. We did find some excellent grilled fish by standing at the wrong dock.

He’s a volunteer with the Capuchin Volunteer Corps, with whom Brandon had spent a year in Baltimore, and a fellow convert. We had many good conversations.

Our first day we spent walking around Madang Town. We stopped by the visitors center and their small museum, which has lots of traditional craft items and some information about World War II, including pictures of the surrender of the Japanese commander.

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Madang Cathedral: Rebuilt after the Japanese flattened the first one

Admiring the lovely stained glass

Admiring the lovely stained glass

There are artifacts from the Japanese-Australian conflict still scattered all over.

Strolling along the coast past the aptly named Machine Gun beach

Strolling along the coast past the aptly named Machine Gun beach

Obligatory visit to the Madang Coastwatchers Memorial, “the Eiffel tower of Madang”.

The signs in Tok Pisin mention the coastwatchers alerting the Allies to "manua". Nate (who is fluent) and I puzzled over "manua" for a long time... and then shouted "man-of-war!"

The signs in Tok Pisin mention the coastwatchers alerting the Allies to “manua”. Nate (who is fluent) and I puzzled over “manua” for a long time… and then shouted “man-of-war!”

Anastasia loved the playground we found as we strolled around. We managed to coax her off of it by telling her we were going to go see some birds… and she was very excited to find a H, hah, happy hornbill at the Madang Resort Hotel.  We took our aforementioned PMV boat ride to Kranket Island, where a fellow PMV rider was kind enough to show us to a lovely bay. Tabitha went in the ocean for the first time!

This is now Annie's default photo face

This is now Annie’s default photo face

Another day we spent at Jais Aben resort, recommended by literally everyone we asked what to do in Madang, enjoying the water, an anniversary meal, and a canoe trip.IMG_0880

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The jais aben burger = hamburger patty+ chicken breast+ham. We eat at restaurants about once every 3 months so this was a nice treat!

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Tabitha enjoyed the water, although she was always confused why her fists tasted so odd. It helped that the sea was the temperature of bathwater!

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We went on an excursion to Ulaland, a small private beach with interesting snorkelling inside the boundaries of a Catholic-Church-owned cocoa and coconut plantation, requiring a phone call to the right person at the archdiocese to get in, but we were too busy having fun to take any pictures (oops!)

We stopped by Alexishafen, the Catholic base from which the first missionaries came up to the highlands, and were moved to read this list of all the mission personnel who died in the war and how in their cemetery.

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A lot perished in a Japanese ruse where they stocked an old warship full of priests and nuns and then allowed the Allies to strafe it. One just read “Br. Egbert. Lost in the Jungle.”

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A real smile!

We went on a hike up Nobnob hill to the SIL Madang campus, where Nate had spent time as a child when he and his family took the Pacific Orientation Course for Wycliffe International. It had lovely views of the coastline, plus yet another playground (there are none in Jiwaka!)

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Jais Aben is directly behind us; St. Fidelis is on the far left

Our last day we went to Malolo resort, famous for its black sand beaches. I was enthralled with how shady it was! All our other swimming had been in sheltered bays, so it was nice to have some crashing surf to cavort in. Anastasia and I built a sandcastle and she discovered the joys of moats while Tabitha slept on a blanket in the shade.

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Karkar island is barely visible through the clouds

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When we weren’t swimming or enjoying restaurant food, we were relaxing at St. Fidelis- I enjoyed reading on their deck chairs and a whole week off from cooking or doing dishes! Thanks to our friends in Madang for a great week!

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1 Comment

  1. […] 8 in the third year and 4 in the second year. They hail from Mendi, Wabag, Mt. Hagen, Kundiawa and Madang dioceses – four highlands dioceses and one diocese from the north […]

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