On Friday at about 11am my phone rang. At the time I was at our staff planning morning for playgroup. It was one of those days where nothing had gone right. It had been a great, but very busy week. I needed some paperwork from the clinic so I thought if I went at 9am when they opened, I could quickly get that done and then head to playgroup. But things didn’t go as planned. The clinic was crazy busy with an emergency. Sam was having a ‘deaf day’, where he is deaf to anything Mum says to him, that is. So I was late to playgroup, hungry and frustrated, but we got our work done. I was eagerly looking forward to heading home for morning tea and a rest.
The phone call was from Jason, wondering if I was interested in going to Gapuwiyak that afternoon. He had a booking to take some people there and they didn’t mind if we went too. While every fibre of my being wanted to say no… I said yes! I really did want to see our new home and town, but I really didn’t want to fly, battle with Sam in the plane and be busy for a moment longer.
We rushed home. Sam had lunch while I assembled a travel bag, lunch for Jason and I, and then sat in the chair for a few minutes to relax. Somewhere in the midst of relaxing I remembered I needed to call Jason and ask if we could take Sam’s car seat. No answer. Call again. No answer. This was the last time I would see my phone.
Out to the airport, load everyone in, Sam had been informed that he would be having a big sleep on the plane, meet other passengers, talk about Gapuwiyak, have a conversation with the passengers where the young boy passenger suggests to his family that they should adopt us, confiscate a machete off the passenger in the front seat, put it in the storage area underneath the plane – it was hidden inside his shorts, and off we go… Thankfully, Sam slept. Jason flew the plane. Kim looked out the window, ate lunch and read her book. At one stage I looked for my phone to check the time but it wasn’t in my bag.
As we were coming closer to the town I had idealistic plans of taking a nice photo of our new town, so I had the camera out and ready… only to be tapped on the shoulder by my fellow passengers. She explained to me that as a woman I couldn’t look or photograph certain areas near the airport as they were ceremonial areas. At the time of our visit there were some men’s business ceremonies going on so I needed to look out the other side. While sad that I couldn’t take my photo, I was glad that she had told me so I hadn’t caused offense to anyone.
Gapuwiyak is an inland town based on the edge of a very small lake. It’s other name is Lake Evella. Michael, the current base manager there gave us the official tour. We saw the police station, houses, school, playgroup, church, playground, clinic, store, art centre, houses and more houses. We called in to visit the Roedigers, the other MAF family based there and it was sweet to see Sam and Annie playing together. It will be so nice to share life with another MAF family. In the car and off to see what will be our new home. After weeks of peering into the backgrounds of photos posted on Facebook by the Beath family, it was nice to see the actual place. The garden is big and shady, with a lovely deck and ferny area. The house is smaller than ours in Numbulwar, but hopefully that will mean it will be easier (and cheaper) to keep cool in the hotter months. The Beath family have been fixing the place up while they have been there, and we love their feature colours. Especially the red arch in the kitchen which matches all my red kitchen stuff so well. I was so busy looking and talking that I totally forgot to take any photos of the place or the town. Silly me! Sorry. Visiting and chatting with Naomi and Michael took some of the mystery out of the future plans for me, which was lovely.
Back in the plane again to head home. No sleep for Sam this time so cookies and the tablet (IPAD wannabe thing) keep him occupied for the hour and a bit trip. Lots of smoke around from burning off on the homeward trip makes for not much to see outside the window.
Rachel meets us at home with pumpkin soup for us for dinner. What a star! It was then 5.30pm and I had no dinner plans. She saved the day.
Once we got home, we got into the mode of dinner, when I suddenly remembered to look for my phone. We searched my bags, the car, the house… it was nowhere to be found. We called it and it went straight to voicemail. Very odd I had only recharged the power the previous day. It shouldn’t be out of power yet. Then Jason noticed the back door. A hole had been made in the fly screen and the door was unlocked. It had been locked when we left, but in my hurry to go I had forgotten to lock the glass door as well. We looked around and everything else in the house seemed normal. Jason’s phone and our video camera were sitting on the shelf. My wallet was still in its place, although it was empty. I was pretty sure there had been money in there earlier in the week. Fridge and pantry not touched. Cupboards all normal. It was weird feeling knowing that someone had most likely been in our house and stolen money and my phone, but there was no real proof.
Friday evening we had Bible study and it was good to pray together which eased some of the icky feelings of the late afternoon. We do find it ironic and sort of sad that on the very day we get the two windows replaced in our car that had been broken in two occurances of vandalism over the past year, is the day our home gets broken into. Vandalism and theft are a part of life here for everyone, not just us. Our church friends were saddened when they heard about what had happened and promised to see if they could find out who the thieves were. No concrete news yet, one lead that Jason pursued led nowhere, but our friends’ willingness to help does make my heart glad.
So now that we have seen our new home, I find it a little easier to dream and imagine our new life in Gapuwiyak, which begins in January. I am still feeling like I don’t have it in me to start again: new place, different culture, different language… but my prayer is that the energy and enthusiasm to start again will come in the months to come.