Thursday, October 21, 2010

On a roll.... The Leron Horse Sports Day

Let me start by saying that they haven't heard of the word Gymkhana in PNG, so it was decided it would be a 'Horse Sports Day"

It was 6 months in the making, and a cracker day. We had flag racing, apple bobbing, a stockmans race, pole bending, face painting, lots of cool prizes and BBQ lunch.

We asked a few big companies in PNG to sponsor and donate prizes and we ended up with loads of t-shirts, caps, tool kits, grocery vouchers, stubby coolers, belts, sunnies, and pocket knives. So the stakes were high!

The day started with a missing truck driver. He went to get fuel at 6 am and was never seen again, he was supposed to pick up 100 workers from their housing compound and drive the hour it takes to get to Leron. But we were determined to start on time, and not run on PNG time. Oh, the truck driver also had half the saddles!!! So we started the first race and had a saddle swap after each heat!

Ready to race..... one slight hiccup.

After the rocky start, all went well...... until the snake. One of the men in the neighboring village found a python five days earlier. He bought it along for everyone to see. But *apparently* he kept the snake for 5 days and didn't give it any food, so shortly after lunch, the biggest dust storm of all time howled through the field, almost taking horses and their riders to Cansas. Mother nature did it, you just ask anyone who knew about the snake!

We had traditional sing sing performances, a theater production on how an abattoirs works right down to stripping the clothes of a small child being held up by his legs, to demonstrate skinning?! The kids had a blast in the sack race and 3 legged race, we would have had a good time on the egg and spoon race, but someone stole the golf balls. They're expensive you know!

Apple bobbing....

The theatre production.....

There were shelters built for all the different Beef departments. Cropping, Abattoirs, Leron cowboys, Gusap Cowboys, Admin, and this was for the VIP guests. lol RSVP:VIP? Same same.

On the way home, much to Tarzan's dismay, a large grazing paddock had been intentionally burt. Apparently its not uncommon, if someone knows that there aren't many people around they'll torch a bit of land.

But fortunately it didn't put much of a dampener on everyone's spirits, here's a happy tribe on the bus on the way home....

Sacking someone.

Long time no blog. Hi all.

Well so much has happened i don't know where to start, so ill tell you the story of the untrustworthy house Meri.

Once upon a time a new family arrived in PNG, the house came with a house Meri who, as per the previous company's policy came with the house. In her eyes, it was 'her' house iykwim. She knew the house well, and cleaned it within an inch of its life. She washed folded and ironed everything, down to the sheets. She had been a house Meri for 20 years. So when we arrived i was very cautious not to step on toes and pretty much left her to her own devices. When this company took over they gave everyone a pay rise and food was no longer an entitlement. But how could i not feed the ladies that work here (Garden Meri too), when i have so much and they have so little. So i fed them a big lunch, coffee and tea and more often then not cake, biscuit or slice. I bought them both a cooking element for their homes so they didn't have to go home and light a fire every night. I buy them clothes, toiletries, food for their families and little nick nacks from time to time if i see something appropriate.

So over time, Our house Meri's disdain for me became more apparent. She disliked the fact that i made cakes for other people, gave gifts to others and was generally welcoming in my home. She didn't like other children coming to play with the girls, particularly national kids, and when they did come she was nasty when i wasn't looking (pr so she thought!). She said that i shouldn't give anyone to anything except her. She told our garden Meri she was not to pick up the children, to watch them but keep working. When i asked her to watch the girls for an hour i came back to find her sleeping in a chair. When i went to Aus i left food and money for her and the garden Meri, she ate all the food, spent the money and gave nothing to the garden Meri?!

She began to talk about me behind my back and soon word got back to me. As you can imagine i was pretty pissed off. I noticed that there was no money coming back from the washing, she would always check the pockets and bring the money upstairs and put it on the table. We are pretty useless at taking coins out of our pockets, so i was a little suspicious. So i set her up, put money in the washing and then after it was all done Tarzan confronted her and asked where the money was. She pretended to look around and couldn't find it. So i went into their bathroom and picked up another pair of her shorts and the pocket jingled. I asked what it was and she said "Oh that's right i was going to give it back later" Whatever. She was then told she was suspended and to leave the premise. WELL, you should have seen her go. She started yelling and screaming, accusing us of stealing her money from her Bilum and demanding we give her $60. She then told Tarzan that "This is my country, don't mess with me, this is my country! You want to fight me? Come on, Come on Fight me! Fight me!" by this stage i was a little concerned so called security to remove her. She finally left, but not before saying she was taking us to court for testing her trustworthiness?! Nothing would surprise me in this country.

So for the last two weeks there has been an appeal process. She was fired, appealed, making up a letter full of lies, it was reviewed, and then 3 weeks later she was fired for the final time. Si i have spent 3 weeks packing my dacks every time i go to the market, thinking she's hiding behind a tree with a bush knife. I have been assured she is all talk and no action, but i'm not willing to find out.

I can understand her being angry, upset and all of that, she is unlikely to find another job as there isn't a lot around and she is getting older. But she dug her own grave. I do feel a tiny bit sorry for her, but not much and not often. Maybe i'm harsh but she was making my life here pretty miserable. Spending 8 hours a day with someone who is greedy, nasty and fake doesn't make for a happy household. Since she has gone the girls and i have been so much happier. Obert, the garden Meri carries them around the garden, plays with them and looks after them. They love her now, where as before they was scared of her and she was scared of the house Meri and things were pretty uncomfortable. I've been moping my own floors and doing my own washing for 3 weeks now, and i have to say it sure beats having someone here who i didn't really like.

So now we have to find a new lady. I'm a little apprehensive, and will not rush into it. Hopefully we will find the perfect person.
Here's the latest pic of the jungle pikininis.