July is ending!?! Where did it all go?
Here’s a 7 Quick Takes Wrap Up of the month.
1. John and Matthew head back to the US from their visit to PNG by putting their fates into the hands of Air Niugini. Prayers were said and they ultimately made it home with my deep gratitude.
2. This is a gecko. They are everywhere. They bark. That’s the closest word that I have to describe the “tsk, tsk, tsk” sound that they make when they call to each other during the wee hours of the night. They are so spry and furtive that’s been difficult to get a decent photo. This one was between the layered fabrics of a window curtain. It was really confused when I tickled its belly.
3. This is the computer lab that time forgot. This was a hopping place 10+ years ago when St. Fidelis also offered high school grades 11 and 12. Now, it’s a fascinating archive of a dozen PCs that last had software updates in 2001. Still chugging along, these machines run either Windows XP or Windows 2000. And they still have working diskette drives. And they have the most interesting collection of decade old computer viruses.
I’ve been doing maintenance on these machines, such as I can, but it’s impressive that they still power up. These days, the Spiritual Year students get some basic lessons on how to use Microsoft Word, but most of the time they collect dust and slowly corrode in the sea air. Most of the seminarians have never used a computer before coming to St. Fidelis, so we try to give them a little leg up for the work they’ll need to do when they move on to their philosophy studies. It’s not much, but there’s little else we can do with these machines. (Did I mention that we still don’t have internet?)
4. This is local “cognac” made from the root of the kava plant. The parish at Alexishafen (St. Michael’s Church) had a 10 Kina/plate luncheon last Sunday to raise funds for some church renovations. Being good neighbors, all the Capuchins came for the feast.
This “cognac” seems to be a drink made mainly for celebrations, so I was gifted with this cup of muddy looking stuff and reluctantly partook to avoid offending anyone.
What can I say? It tastes a bit like dirt and celery mixed together. It’s not alcoholic but is rather more anesthetic, making your mouth feel like you’ve just spritzed with Chloraseptic throat spray. I was queasy for the rest of the day wondering what other effects it might produce.
5. Did you notice the full moon last week? It was fantastic here as it rose over the water near Sek Island, just down the coast from the seminary. This is the best of the shots I was able to make. Really missing having a proper tripod, but I was happy with this effort.
6. This Sunday morning I took a walk down the road that connects the seminary to the North Coast Highway and discovered a number of the students climbing coconut trees to collect “kulau” – the young coconuts that have the clear coconut water inside. A great thing to eat on a hot day.
Some visitors (former students of St. Fidelis from the late 90’s) had stopped by on their way home to Wabag and asked for the kulau for their journey.
The coastal students are quite adept at scaling the coconut trees and it’s always fun to watch as they peel and open the fruit with very little effort.
It’s also fun to watch American visitors try to open them and have to rely on the locals to do it right.
7. Say hi to some of the seminarians. Each Wednesday night I eat dinner with the seminarians in the student dining hall. It is invariably rice with a mixture of tinned fish (marlin or tuna), Maggi noodles (the same as Ramen in the US), tinned corned beef, bananas, cabbage, and/or green beans from the garden. It’s not very appetizing but the students still turn to with gusto.
That’s about it as July comes to a close. The next big event on campus will be a day-long hike to the town of Halopa to celebrate the Feast of St. Jean Vianney – the patron saint of priests. After that the term will come to a quick end with the last round of exams.
Oh yeah, you can find other “7 Quick Takes” here.