A Recap of Sorts!

What’s up y’all?! It’s two-and-a-half weeks until school starts again. This break has been packed full of all the things! Here’s a list:

  • preparing to teach middle school English

Yeah… that’s the whole list. That’s right! I, Leah Rigsby, owner of a degree in Mathematics Education will be teaching Middle School English. I’m so “excited!” No, but for real, I am, indeed, excited, but also quite nervous. If any of you English teachers out there are looking for an adventure, join Wycliffe, come on down to Papua New Guinea, and teach at Ukarumpa International School! I digress…

So, yet again, this next school year holds uncharted territories:

  • In 2012, it was teaching Geometry and Pre-Calculus (I had only ever taught Algebra I in the States)
  • In 2013, it was teaching Spanish
  • In 2014, it was my first furlough ever
  • and now, in 2015, I’ll be teaching Middle School English. Woot.

As I said in the previous blog post, I want to give you a look at what it’s like at the end of the school year in Ukraumpa, so let’s get to it:


Last term is girls volleyball – my favorite – and boys rugby – everyone’s favorite. We all wake up at 5:45am and are on the road by 6:15am to travel to Goroka (about 2 hours away when you’re traveling in a caravan of vehicles) to play in a tournament against schools located in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. We don’t have “district” competition here like we do in the states, so tournament is the “district” championship that everyone competes for.


Some seniors and I watching rugby. Yes. I'm drinking water from a peanut butter jar.

Sports Day!

The entire secondary campus is divided into two teams: Alpha (red) and Beta (blue) to compete in a 2-Day track meet extravaganza! My friend Alan and I organize all the participants for the running events, make sure we have a list of who is running in each race, and record the results which go to the score table. I also yell at children to not crowd around the finish line as close races are ending so that the timers can get accurate times.

And then I lose my voice.

And then I have to recruit a high schooler to sing for me in church the next day because I am leading worship. Well that was a rabbit trail…

Anywho! The past three sports days I have been here have been dominated by Beta. But this year… in an epic battle too close to count… Alpha WON!!! By five points. It was insane.


Celebrating the end of Sports Day with some of the senior girls!


This is the equivalent of the junior-senior prom. The Teen Center is transformed through the hard work, construction skills, and artistic ability of parents and members of the community to give the kids a special time to celebrate with one another and have a good ol’ time.

This year, I had the opportunity to act in the Banquet Entertainment – a play written by the parents for the kids, about the kids, with the parents themselves starring as their kids. I played myself, my friend Alan played Dr. Who, and together, we had to search for the children throughout different times and places in London to save them from the dreaded clutches of the Pink Refrigerator.

We would’ve definitely gotten a Tony for this epic performance.


Me, dramatically showing the "children" the Pink Fridge responsible for their impending doom.


The Halferys and I getting photo-bombed by a senior in the Banquet Photo Booth.

Band and Choir Concerts!

I love the fact that I get to live out my high school dreams of being in Symphonic Band (my school didn’t have one). It is enhancing my music skills and is also just another opportunity to bond with the kids.


Pre-Band Concert selfie!

The culmination of musicalness this term, however, was not in band. It was with the Ladies Ensemble I had the privilege to direct (and perform with!). These girls STEPPED IT UP and not only learned the music, but also learned the percussion parts for the performance of the song. So, please without further ado –

Click the picture below to enjoy the musical stylings of the UISSC Ladies Ensemble:

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 3.11.45 PM

Graduation! – see the previous post

Saying Goodbye…

The last two weeks of June were ROUGH. Twice a day, family and friends journied to the airstrip to say goodbye, some for furlough, but for the graduated seniors, for good. Some will return to Ukarumpa to visit family or to see younger siblings graduate. Some will not have that opportunity. But for all of them, this place that has been their home – some for a few years, some for their entire lives – is no longer “home.” Please keep these graduates in your prayers as they return to their home countries for university, work, or to join other ministries before applying to school.


My first goodbye (to the girl in the front row wearing the hat) at the airstrip. We were smiling
on the outside... not so much on the inside.

And  now, we have returned to school break. Wasn’t that a great recap?! Stay tuned for more adventures – the next post will tell you all about school break (yes, I did more than prepare for teaching English) including 4th of July celebrations, a conference I’m attending here put on by the Melanesian Institute, and a cake decorating contest!

Thanks for your prayers and support, everyone! I wouldn’t be here without them!