This is a quick toksave (announcement) to let our readers know that Sue and I are stuck on the wrong side of a massive landslip which has blocked the Highland's Highway.
Last Friday we originally planned to drive five-and-a-half hours in our little Suzuki to Kainantu where the SIL mission base of Ukarumpa is located. Our reason for going was to have Sue's aching tooth looked at and to pick up our washing machine, which had broken down again. Our original plan was to leave there on Sunday after church.
However, when I checked out our car on Saturday, I discovered that we had broken the motor mount on the left side of our engine. In other words, our engine was bolted to the frame on one side only, so it was imperative we had that fixed before going back the 250 sometimes really bumpy kilometers to the CLTC. This forced us to leave Ukarumpa later on Monday afternoon than we wanted, so instead of braving the highway at night, we decided to stop in Goroka to stay at the Christian Radio Missionary Fellowhip (CRMF) guesthouse.
We rose early this morning to get back to the CLTC. About an hour's drive out of town, a group of locals waved us down and told us the news of the land slide. There were two. A small one yesterday morning closed the road. When the highway crews arrived to clear it, the local landowners drove them off with axes and bush knives. The landowners wanted to be paid compensation BEFORE they would allow work to progress. Things stayed at an impass until (I think) last night an even more massive slide occured burying many people alive including some in a couple of vans.
The locals told us it was now REALLY unsafe to procede because the affected landowners were madder than the day before. So we turned around and went back to CRMF. On the way we spoke to several policemen, who verified much of what I am writing. One of the officers had attempted to stop me earlier by signalling me with crossed arms over his head. Apparently, that signal means the road ahead was blocked. When we returned we bought a newspaper with a story on the front page describing the first slide.
Here we sit at CRMF. They have been kind enough to loan us a computer and share their internet connection with us, so I can post this message. Pray for the loss of life in the land slide and for safety for the police and highway workers as they attempt to clear the debris. Please pray that we can leave tomorrow morning (Wednesday). I have already missed three teaching days, which will be difficult to make up. Sue has missed two. We thank God for His protection.
Blessings to you all.