Office Addition Project – Second Report

Posted in Mixed Nuts, PBT Happenings on August 28th, 2008 by MadDog
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It has been a little over a week since the first progress report on our new Publishing and Training (Office Extension) addition. As project manager, I’m very happy with the accomplishments of the fellows from Lae Builders.

No point in being chatty about this – let’s get to the photos.

Last week we saw the site preparations and digging the footing trenches. Here we see that the fellows have poured the footing, compacted the soil, laid the edge blocks, and put down the iron matting. I’m not a builder so I’m probably not using the right language, but the photo tells it all:

Preparing the foundation 

The next day the cement truck arrived. It was a very busy time. The truck is small, as you can see. I think it took three or four loads to pour the slab:

Pouring the slab

 After they levelled it out, they got out their handy rotary trowel machine and smoothed it off very nicely:

A nice smooth job

 This is how it looked this morning. They already have three courses of blocks laid. They delivered the rest of the blocks this morning, so I expect that by next week’s report, it is going to look much different:

It’s going up!

 Hey, we’re getting a building built here! It’s amazing what can happen when you quit talking about something and just DO IT!

If you got this link in an email and you haven’t seen our first report, you can find it here.

Office Addition Project – First Report

Posted in Mixed Nuts, PBT Happenings on August 19th, 2008 by MadDog
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This will be of little interest to folk here in Madang. I am posting this mostly for people who are or have been associated with PBT, the outfit that we work for.

We are adding a big chunk of office space to the utility building on the back lot of our office. Since many people have put plenty of effort (and money) into this project, my blog seems a convenient way to show our progress.

So skip this one if yet another new building in Madang holds little interest for you.

Lae Builders sent in a big Cat to move the container we were using for storage, break up a big slab of concrete and remove the stump of the giant Mango tree that was given the chop

Moving the container

Here, the operator just dropped a big slab of concrete. You can see the dust rising. What you cannot sense is how powerfully the ground shook when it fell. I felt as if I were standing on a very large bowl of jelly. The water table is only one metre deep here:

A giant THUMP when it hit

While all that is going on, some guys are digging (and some not) the footing trench. We had seven guys and two shovels so as not to tax anybody unduly:

Some dig, some don’t

Here is a panorama of the action. The Cat has just removed the stump of the Mango tree:

The stump is out of the hole 

Here is the stump. We took bets on whether the Cat could actually pick it up: 

Yes, the stump is airbourne

I’ll try to post something every week or so for those who want to keep track of the progress of this project.

A Venerable Mango Tree Falls to the Chainsaw

Posted in Mixed Nuts, PBT Happenings on July 16th, 2008 by MadDog
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Under the heading of ‘all good things come to an end’ a venerable mango tree (historic, one might even say) is, this week, falling to the chainsaw.

Thousands of people have eaten the excellent mangos from this tree. Shirley Tsang, whose family once owned the property where our office now sits, tells me that her mother brought mango seeds from Rabaul and planted this tree in 1958.

Here is the mighty fruit bearer being dismembered – a grisly sight:

 A venerable mango tree

It is a sad thing, but progress sometimes stymies our best efforts to be gentle with the planet. This venerable producer of tastiness and consumer of nasty carbon dioxide must go in order to free space for a building expansion. The new building will house the Pioneer Bible Translators Publishing Department and will provide space for the many training courses we are planning.

Sometimes progress seems unavoidable. Certainly, this old giant does not deserve to be chopped, but it is in the way.

Someday, the same thing will probably happen to me.

On second thought, it probably won’t be as dramatic.

Stap Isi’s Long Passage

Posted in At Sea, PBT Happenings on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: MadDog

This came from Kyle Harris. He’s my boss’s boss (Acting Director of PBT). Kyle and his wife, Kathy, along with Dory (the ship’s cat), made the gutsy passage accross the Pacific (actually starting out in Moline, Illinois!) to get back home to Madang in a thirty foot boat named Stap Isi (for you non Pidgin speakers, that’s the Melanesian equivalent of the American slang expression, “Stay cool.”)

Here’s a photo of Kyle and Kathy on Stap Isi taken shortly after their arrival safely back home in Madang:

Stap Isi sitting safely at anchor after a long passage

Here’s a quote from their extensive and sometimes scary journal:

  • The Perfect Storm – March 20

Dawn Sunday found us still motoring and making good progress into the wind which had now picked up to about 25 knots. The seas were in the 5-7 feet range and increasing. That is usually not a good thing and we were starting to get a bad feeling about how things were developing. That bad feeling proved justified. A little after noon we could see storm clouds gathering in the west and soon could see a squall line approaching. Kyle watched it carefully and it was obvious after a couple of minutes that it was roaring down on us. We had the main sail up at the time to give the motor a bit of a boost so we decided that it looked like a good time to drop it. We got it down and secured just before the squall line arrived.

Suddenly our world turned inside out. The wind increased to 30 and then 40 knots and then higher yet. There was a weather buoy just south of us and we found out later that it had recorded gusts as high as 56 knots. The seas began to build quickly and by 3 PM we were in 15-20 foot waves. The wind was ripping the tops off the waves and foam and spray were being blown across the water. It was at once the most terrifying and awe inspiring sight we have ever seen. It is not often one gets to experience first hand the incredible power of God’s creation. And it is not something that we ever hope to see again.

There was no question of continuing on course through this. We kept the motor on and simply ran with the storm, trying to keep the stern to the waves. Studies have shown that boats are least likely to be capsized by a wave when they are stern on to the direction the waves are traveling. We were hoping that the studies were correct.

By dusk Kyle had been fighting the storm at the tiller for six hours. The power of the waves were just too much for Kathy to handle. And after six hours Kyle was beginning to wonder how much more he had left. There was no way that he could continue at the helm for another six hours. We began discussing whether to call the coast guard to see if they could give us some advice. If the storm was predicted to continue or get worse, we might need to consider having them come and assist us. Finally after another hour with no sign of the storm letting up Kyle made the decision to make the call. After having gotten no little or no sleep the previous two nights and now with almost 8 hours of fighting the helm, he was done in. He told Kathy to come up and take the helm for just a bit while he made the radio call.

Just at that moment, the wind seemed to die down a bit. We waited to see what would happen. In a few minutes it was clear that the wind was abating. With new hope came new strength and Kyle was able to continue at the helm for another couple hours during which time the wind dropped to 25 and then to 20 knots and the seas began to calm. As soon as things had settled to where the autohelm could handle the tiller, Kyle turned it on, pointed it west to continue running with the seas, and we both collapsed into bed. We kept no watch that night – neither of us really cared if we were run down by a freighter or not.

If you’d like to read more and see some great photos, try: LINK
If you’re interested in finding out about their work in the Lower Ramu area try: LINK

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Paradise, eh?

Posted in PBT Happenings on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: Ellen Rohrer

Under the heading of Amusing Remarks, I’ll throw in a quote by Ron Lewis, a visitor who came from the USA to attend a celebration of the completion of the book of Mark (that’s part of the Bible) in the Akukem language.

“Just another day in paradise! That’s the tongue-in-cheek motto of the Papua New Guinea Branch of Pioneer Bible Translators. As Larry Metcalf and I were greeted at the Madang airport by the entire branch with smiles and hugs, I thought to myself, “Hmm … maybe it is just another day in paradise.” But a few days later, as I sat on my backpack exhausted, dehydrated and still several hours from our destination, paradise was not the word that came to mind!

Here’s a photo from the celebration:

Dancers at the Akukem Mark celebration

The fellow on the right is Leo Onaragh, a PBT Bible translator

If you’re into it, you can read about the whole shebang in the first-quarter (Spring for the editors from the Northern Hemisphere) issue of The Storyboard. LINK The Storyboard is a quarterly newsletter containing news and editorials concerning the work of Pioneer Bible Translators.

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