I went on a hike with Bill and a volunteer this past Sunday. We left after church and headed to Suicide Rocks, then up to the Catholic Mission, and the ridges above us (ridge in pic is part of where we were). It was a great day for a hike, thankfully the rain held off until we got back. At the Catholic Mission, we picked up a bunch of kids who joined us on our hike.
A bunch of them started walking with me and 2 of them just grabbed my hands to hold them. Other kids tried to join in on the hand holding, but the 2 who had my hands wouldn't let them in. The kids talked a lot, I told them they had to talk in Pidgin so I could understand them, not in tok ples which I don't know. I talked to them and found out the 2 holding my hands were brothers. One was named Joe, the other I didn't fully understand. They have 5 kids in their family, they are the last 2. One was in 2nd grade and the other 4th. I asked them what they learned at church, but they couldn't really tell me, but I used the opportunity to share the gospel with them. They would have walked with us forever, if we let them. You rarely go on a hike without someone coming with you - just like the fishing trip, we had a bunch of kids following us. I kept telling them we didn't need guides, we would be fine by ourselves, but they insisted. Finally, I asked them if they would stay there and we 3 would go ahead on our own. For some reason, they obeyed, at least for a while.
While they were gone, it became a lot quieter, and we heard some birds. Bill was able to identify the call of a Superb Bird of Paradise, and after a while we spotted him. PNG is unique in that it has a lot of species of Birds of Paradise in the country, I think I have seen 2 now in the wild since I have been here. The kids caught up to us at this point, but I think they might have seen us bird watching and didn't continue with us.
We continued hiking on a trail up the ridges, but at one point we got off the beaten trail. We knew where we were and where we needed to go, so we just headed that way. We went through some brush and had to do some sliding down the sides of the hills, but we all survived. We picked up the trail, only to lose it again, but we kept going. We came to a house and Bill stopped to ask where the trail was to take us to a place to cross the river. The house we stumbled upon belonged to an employee of the hospital, so he graciously had his son take us down to the river and helped us across. Then we were home free. PNG is so beautiful, it has been fun to enjoy God's creation while I have been here.