Debbie in a Jungle Village

This post is adapted from a letter Debbie sent to some relatives. The photo shows Debbie’s shower specially-made shower stall.

Debbie's Jungle shower stallLiving in the village was hard but worth it. I had to wash clothes by hand and put them on the line to dry. I had to cook three meals a day over an open fire. I had to prepare my food using a small knife because my waspapa, our guardian for four weeks, didn’t want me to cut my fingers off with the chef knife.

We were expected to wash down in the river. They had rigged up a bamboo pipe for the water to flow so that they could stand under it and wash. The water was very cold and refreshing. We were challenged to tell stories so that our Melanesian Pidgin would get better. We spent most of the day with someone from our wasfamili, or host family, that included waspapa, wasmama, Taytus, Fili, Arno, and Domdom. The grandmother, called “Lapun Mama,” or Old Mama, sat with us.

Our day looked something like this:


Wake, due to wasmama getting the boys ready for school.


Breakfast of homemade granola, oatmeal, or eggs


Boil our water for the day, to make sure it is safe for us to drink.


Make tortillas and soak rice for lunch.


Wash dishes with soap and rinse with bleach.


Begin to visit with wasfamili, do schoolwork, or wash laundry.


Hang up washed laundry.


Prep fresh veggies for lunch, cook rice, and eat lunch.


Wash lunch dishes.


Visit again with wasfamili, make bilums (string bags) from string, and sit.


Start prep work for dinner.


Cook and eat dinner.


Wash dishes in the dark.


Visit with wasfamili again.

fine. Once in a while we would go for a walk to the next village. One time, I walked an hour and a half up the mountain to visit two other villages.

Steve got to go on some adventures after the first couple of weeks. He went to a waterfall and I eventually got to go see it, too, with the family. Steve could swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall, and this made him happy. He got to go and cut down some trees to help get the land ready for a garden.

I was a little bit spoiled by the fact that waspapa made me a small room outside the house to shower in. They collected rain water in barrels, and as long as those barrels had water, I could use my little shower room. It really wasn’t that private so I wore my swimsuit to shower.

We got to go and see a “Bride Price” ceremony. The man who is going to marry the lady has to pay for his bride with pigs. This one had six pigs. One of the pigs was traipela, or very big.

God showed me some areas that He needed to heal. I am not going to write about those here except to tell you that I learned to trust God and a man who I didn’t know very well. I worked on my attitude towards some of the hard issues. I was reading the book called “Jesus Today” by Sarah Young. I started at the beginning and all ten of the devotions were very significant for that day. The devotions have verses attached to her writings. One day, I got a text from one of my new friends here encouraging me with one of the verses that I had already read for that day. I believe this book was significant in helping me enjoy our time in the village. I can share more if you want to know more.

A couple of things that I really missed during our four weeks in the village: tap water, flushing toilets, fans, friends, and most of all, my boys. I couldn’t call them and that was very hard on me.

I am going to end here because this is getting long and I want you to read it.

Thanks for the prayers; they carried me through.

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2 Responses

  1. Dad Miller says:

    Hi Debbie! It is good to begin hearing your experiences. We’ve gotten a little thru Isaac, and that was very welcomed.

    You and Steve are continually in our prayers, as is Isaac.

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