It can be quite eery walking to the chapel in the pre-dawn time, just before the sun rises. I’d guess it’s about 100 yards from the friary to the grounds around the school, a grass path connecting the two as it meandering slightly between the coconut trees.
When it is particularly dark, I often use a flashlight to light the path. Not because I might lose my way, but so I don’t accidentally step on one of the large and particularly stoic toads that inhabits the grassy lawns around the campus.
Some nights, literally dozens of these frogs can be seen along and on either side of the path, seemingly immobile in the darkness. I surmise that they are patiently waiting for some tasty bug to come their way because it’s quite possible to step on one without any attempt on their part to avoid it.
I really don’t think that squashing one of these toads on the way to prayer or Mass would lead to a particularly prayerful experience.
Madang is also famous for the very large fruit bats that are indigenous to the area. Called “flying foxes” because of their fox-like heads, they can be seen all around the city of Madang, hanging by their feet and screeching from the tallest trees.
Nocturnal by nature, a few of them also hang out around St. Fidelis and in the dark of the night or early morning, you can hear the “thump-thump-thump” of their wings as they fly about. It’s a low frequency “thump” that you can almost feel in the depths of your body, and it plays tricks on your mind, conjuring up all sorts of nightmare possibilities in your irrational sub conscience.
It’s an interesting experience. The sight of the frogs lessens the speed of your step, while the sound of the bats quickens it.
Just another interesting feature of life at St. Fidelis!