Welcome to POC
October 16, 2015
Ah, the Pacific Orientation Course. Before I arrived, I wondered what could possibly occupy my time for three solid months here. The answer, as I quickly found, is "quite a lot". Here's the summary, more will follow later. (I have 3 more half-written posts at the moment that will probably show up on here before too long.)
POC, as its name implies, is a training course designed to prepare missionaries for life in the Pacific area. There are 27 adults and almost as many kids attending my session. Once we are finished here, many will stay in PNG, and others will go to Australia, Indonesia, and Vanuatu. We spend the first eight weeks here at the POC campus, then scatter to various villages in this region to complete the four-week village living phase of the course.
The city of Madang is located on the north coast of Papua New Guinea, 5 degrees south of the equator. The POC campus is located at the top of one of many small mountains near Madang. We're 1000 feet up with a beautiful view of the ocean and surrounding country. The immediate area surrounding POC is known as Nobonob, a collection of villages that share a common tokples ("talk place", or local language). The Nobonob New Testament was completed several years ago, and the Old Testament is currently in progress. I still find it incredible that the people who live on the next mountain over, a three-hour hike from here, speak a completely different language!
Here's what a typical (if there is such a thing) weekday here looks like:
7:00 - Breakfast
8:00 - Bible time
8:15 - Tok Pisin (language) large/small groups or other lecture
10:00 - Tea
10:30 - Class time
12:15 - Lunch
1:00 - Rest
2:00 - Swim or hike or class time
5:45 - Dinner
Sights from around POC:
On the weekends, we've gone to a few churches in the area so far:
We've also driven down to the ocean a few times for swimming/snorkeling, which is a great way to relax, cool off, and see a bunch of neat-looking coral and fish whose names I do not know. Also on the weekends, we are responsible for cooking our own food over a campfire in preparation for village living. Not only does the weekend cooking teach us what sorts of things you can make with the food available for purchase here, but it also gives us a better understanding of how people here live their daily lives. I've certainly gained an appreciation for those magical devices found in kitchens back home that allow you to instantly conjure a steady flame of any size you want just by turning a knob!