Spirit, Skates, Shins, and Softball

The time has come! Update time!

Picture 1 and 2:

Image                            Image

1)   Yes, that is a likeness of me drawn by one of my seventh graders. This past week and next are spirit weeks at school. Wednesday was dress as “Everything But Yourself.” So, keeping in nature with the ambiguity that is that statement, I, of course, came as a man with taped on mustache and goatee which I would take off five minutes into class so as to not distract the students from math any longer than necessary.

2)   Friday, the theme was “Go Green.” So I did. With every green item of clothing in my closet. Shorts, dress shirt, t-shirt, cardigan, t-shirt as cape, pillowcase as head band, and teenage mutant ninja turtle pajama pants. It was a good day.

Picture 3!


Yes. That is a huge pile of skates. If you are like me, the first question you asked is, “Where in the middle of PNG did these come from?” The response? “Oh people have donated them to the center over the past twenty years, or whatever.” The accuracy of the year estimation in this statement is questionable as, given by the “or whatever,” you probably righty assumed this response was given by a high schooler. Which it was. A tenth grader to be specific. Here at UIS, each grade level holds fundraisers, the bounty of which culminates their senior year for their senior trip. Last night was “Skate Night” held by the 10th grade and it was a blast. I, as a sponsor, got to sit around and pester my students with statements like, “Life story. Go.”

As you may suspect, I was initially met with the deer in the headlights look, after which the girls launched into life stories much more exciting than my own beginning with things like, “I was born in Finland…,” or “I was born in Australia…” or “I was born in South Carolina and we moved here when I was two months old…” It was very entertaining and delightful.

Picture 4:


Today UIS hosted a sports tournament – Boys, volleyball and girls, softball. That’s right Americans, the boys have a volleyball team and they are AMAZING. Two schools from up north drove down to play, as well as a couple of schools right here in the next town over. As much as I love volleyball, I was glued to the softball field to watch my girls kick some…whatever the missionary word for “butt” is. And that they did.

“Ok Leah, but what does this have to do with frozen pineapple on your leg?”

I’m glad you asked.

The team has two coaches who have graciously let me come and help out the past couple of weeks at practice (i.e. the girls are all in their positions and I get to be the base runner) as well as play in some practice games against them. In one of these games, a certain senior girl who shall remain nameless decided to steal 2nd while I was the second baseman. When things were said and done, she walked away with a bruised elbow (from the ball) and I slowly hobbled away with an incredibly sore shin (from her knee).

Anywho. They did phenomenally today and I couldn’t be more proud of them. In the game against our “rival” school (another international school here in PNG) we won 9-2 and the girls were stoked. It was good to get to yell properly at a sporting event again.

Well, that is about it. When something fun happens…like a trip to Lae (get out your maps!) I will be sure to keep you updated!

Peace out!


Things You Only Say and Do In PNG pt. 2 or One of these things is not like the other…

…one of these things just doesn’t belong. Take a look, get your answer in your head, and on the count of three, shout it out.

Ready? 1….2…3! … You’re right! The chess set! It’s the only thing you can’t eat! If you didn’t get the right answer, feel free to play again.

For the first Things You Only Say and Do in Papua New Guinea or TYOSD PNG, I figured I’d begin where things always begin – food. It appears food, specifically pineapple, will always make an appearance in TYOSD PNG,  but I digress.

Those of you who dined with me in college know that I typically eat foods that don’t go together…together (i.e. pizza and cereal, or pasta and cereal, or a sandwich and cereal, etc…) Well, it appears that pineapple is the new ‘cereal’ (mainly because a box of cereal here costs about $8 USD). Pineapple goes with EVERYTHING! You name it, it can be accompanied by freshly cut pineapple. Now the great thing about this is, it’s not just me. The above meal was shared by three of us, each to his/her own delight. I am no longer alone in my eating habits! Because of this, I conclude my affinity for strange food combinations is not an oddity, but a spiritual gift.


The second and third TYOSD PNG are “Laundry Roulette,” and “Leah and Laura Light the Oven,” thus bringing us to the video portion of this blog:

“Laundry Roulette” http://youtu.be/GAiNJOZO46w
“Leah and Laura Light the Oven,”  http://youtu.be/6ZHk7UGRIa0

The fourth, fifth, and sixth TYOSD PNG, are quotes for your reading enjoyment.

4)        (You might have seen this one of facebook)
8th Grade Student: Ms. Rigsby, did you go to POC? (a 6 week village training course)
Me: Sadly, no. I did not.
Student: Aww, you got to miss out on the hiking… and malaria.

**Note: apparently, never having malaria is a bit out of the ordinary. I was a sponsor for a scavenger hunt for the 9th and 10th graders and one of the tasks was: Find someone who has never had malaria. 20 pts.

5)        (Referencing the above picture of dinner)
Alan’s neighbor: “I saw you had some people over kinda late last night, what were you up to?”
Alan: “Writing prayer letters and playing chess.”
Anywhere else, this would be a very lame cover story for inappropriateness. Here? Completely legitimate statement.

And finally….

6)       Me: Isn’t Carnival (a student fundraiser) in November?
Alan: Really? I thought it would be in the Spring.
Me: … that is the Spring.

Peace out!


My Cup Overfloweth

…well, my water tank actually.

So there I was making bread like I do every Saturday afternoon, when suddenly a deluge from the heavens began! Here is the resulting picture/footage:



This is the hardest it has rained since I have been here. Luckily for me, I have somewhere to go this afternoon, so I get to inaugurate my rain boots! My awful pink rain boots….don’t judge me. They were the only plain colored ones they had. It was between them and black and white zebra checkered looking ones. I definitely chose wisely.


Things You Only Say and Do in Ukarumpa…so far…

Things you only say and do in Ukarumpa:

1) Five of us had dinner and played some cards…this conversation ensued

(note – “Kina” is our local currency)

            Alan: So, you know my goal of eating 3 pineapple a week? The one I bought this morning? Gone.

            Amanda: *enters room* Wait, what?

            Mandy: Alan ate a whole pineapple today.

            Us: *nods and utterances of amusement*

            Laura: Wait, how big of a pineapple was it?

            Mandy: Yeah, was it 5 Kina, 6 Kina…

            Alan: Mmm…I think that one was 4 Kina…

            Us: *sounds of exasperation*

            Amanda: Oh! A 4 Kina? Psh! Now if were a 6 or 7 Kina I’d be impressed.


2) Today I had thirty minutes before I had to leave for school. My thought process:

            “Mmm I have thirty minutes…I’ll cut up some pineapple!”


3) “Oh no my guacamole needs to be eaten! I have no chips! But I do have Twisties….”

4) Me: “Do you want me to get some strawberries when I got to the market?”

 Laura (my roommate): “Nah. I know a guy…”

5) “Let’s have a game night!”

     “Sure! What time?”


   “The sun sets at 6:30…”

   “Ah yes. 6:15!” (walking alone past sunset is frowned upon)


6) “Are you guys cold? I can shut the windows.”


7) The Olympics started today!

     Are you sure?

     Well, they said July 27 in America, so I don’t know if that’s July 27 in Texas or in England. But either     way, it’s not the 27th in either of those places, so I guess it starts tomorrow.


8) 9:00pm – Just finished watching a movie, people are milling around getting ready to go home.

     “I was able to download the Opening Ceremony to the Olympics if anyone wants to watch…”


    *now watching the parade of nations…*

     “I hope they don’t go to commercial before they show Papua New Guinea.” (they didn’t! 🙂

9) Being in that awkward limbo with12th Graders who I do not have in class but interact with in the community. “Do we call her Leah?” “Do we call her Ms. Rigsby?”

The Compromise? I sure am called just ‘Rigsby.’

10) Alan: “I ran out of crackers and have nothing to eat my guacamole with.”

     Me: “That happened to me one time. I ate my guacamole with Twisties.”

     Alan: “HAHAHA! No thank you.”

     Me: “You could try making some chips…”

     Alan: “Yeah, I guess I could…” *proceeds to place a flour tortilla on the griddle, crisp it up, and cut it        into chip shapes with a pizza cutter*


11) Mandy: “So…how would you feel about doing a biology rap for the 10th graders?”

     Me: “Sure!”

     Mandy: “Oh good. I found it online, and you were the first person I thought of that would do it.”

     Me: “Well, thank you.”

Ok, so maybe that last one isn’t Ukarumpa specific…but it did happen 🙂

No videos this time 😦

I will try to think of something to video for next time… maybe my first Tok Pisin lesson this Tuesday!!!

Peace out,