Posts Tagged ‘mission hostel’

You know that saying – A picture speaks a thousand words – well, when I look at this picture, I remember all the thousands of words that no one could guess at.

In the early ’80’s, my husband and I were hostel parents at a mission hostel in PNG. During our first year, we had 15 extra children on top of our own two. One of the highlights every year was the formal dinner. We all dressed up in our very best clothes, ate from the best plates, and enjoyed a 5 course dinner prepared by me and our house help, and served by me.

Looking at my happy face, you would never guess the drama that had unfolded throughout the day. Even before the children had left for school, I knew the day was going to go bad. By then, our house help was two hours late – and never did show up. I was left to prepare the vegetables and do all the cooking. The power went off, which left me with no electric mixer for making the ice-cream so I had to change my plan for dessert. We sat down and drew up a new menu. ‘We can do this,’ I said confidently as I started making a small batch of bread so we could have garlic bread. But relying on my husband to help prepare the feast was a mistake. Moments after lighting the fire in the wood stove, he¬†was called away with a problem at the sawmill. The day descended into chaos! I remember standing in the middle of the kitchen floor hours later, looking at the mess and crying. I thought about calling the whole thing off, but even as the thought formed, I knew I couldn’t disappoint the kids.

At six o’clock on the dot, everyone gathered on the lounge room carpet and out came first course. Chilled apple cider and a plate of toothpicks with cheese, pickled onions and squares of spam sticking out of half an orange. Of course, the evening was a huge success in the end. But that picture doesn’t tell half the story :)


(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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