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Our Stories

Giving Removes Remoteness

by | Sep 16, 2015

Our transport that took us 160 kilo meters to conduct the BCT for SSEC in Brugam

 What is the real definition of remote?

The synonyms for remote are distant, isolated, inaccessible, far flung, far off, far away, secluded and out of the way; all these words sound boring and give the message of hopelessness. But then they also give us a clue of the antonym! There must be something within reach to contrast the distances, to have access for the inaccessible, within sight for the far off and having a primary focus rather than declaring it as out of the way.

What is the Wikipedia definition?

Remote: describes a geographical area where a community is located over 350 km from the nearest service center having year-round road access. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remote_and_isolated_community

The above is a text book description of a remote community that closely describes the location for yet another Basic Computing course. After our EBC Wewak assignment (see story: Wewak by Fixing our Eyes on Jesus) we traveled a total of 320 kilometers round trip for this particular training. I assume the Wikipedia definition of the road access does not include the roads which are only accessible by four wheel drive vehicles, with changing of gears every 5 minutes to avoid a pot hole.

Effects of El Nino on the floor of our training place

For this particular stretch which is halfway toward Maprik, I figured the longest time to travel high speed without shifting down was 5 minutes; the implication is that your 3 hour drive can easily become a 5 to 6 hour drive.
Translate that into training hours in a remote community and it means that you do not have much time for training.
Then you add the potential risk of electricity failure to power the computers and the overhead projector for power point presentations and you have a have a situation.

Night sessions: 6:30 – 10 pm

Our plan to travel to Maprik and into Brugam on a Saturday did not work out. We discovered that catching a bus in Wewak was different from the getting on one in Goroka. As a result we travelled on a Monday to our training venue which meant that we had only two days for training. The scheduled training was for the second basic computing course.

This was the same Church denomination that we ran an introductory course in 2013 (See story on Stone Tablet).

On Tuesday morning we discovered that most of the participants who attended the first training were not present which meant that we would now do a BCT 1 instead of 2. We quickly adjusted and taught both day and night sessions and so by 9 pm on Wednesday night we had successfully conducted 4 days of basic computing course.

Training laptops set up in a bush material classroom looks good in a bush setting

We experienced the Lord’s control within that short period of time as we did what we could and the rest was up to the Him.

The zeal for the participants to learn in such a short time motivated us to keep going even though we were tired.

We thank the Lord for wisdom to be sensitive when situations arose.

We thank the Lord for wisdom to be sensitive when situations arose. We had a good learning experience when the generator that could not produce current. I decided to hand out A4 papers and got the participants to write down all the steps of what we were teaching them. The writing on paper must have lasted for about 4 hours and by the time the power came back on; they were able to follow the steps they have written.

Going through the steps for the participants to write

During the final night session, the participants requested that I take them through the steps so that they could write them down. I realized then that this was a learning style they were familiar with, as most of them were students of the local Bible school.

It made sense that with their written notes they could follow the steps when they have access to a computer. The training lap tops will be taken away but what they have written with remain with them.

It was not a hopeless situation anymore; they were not remote in acquiring basic computing skills as Bible school students. I learned a great lesson during this time that whatever the “remote” situation may be the wiliness to give and the hunger to receive can greatly rectify situations which seem remote, distant, far off, far away, far flung or out of the way.

Using own flash light to see the key board

We thank the Lord for the EBC Wewak Education Secretary; because he was willing to give his vehicle (Land Crusher) and his time the training venue which was 160 kilo meters away was not remote anymore!

We thank the Lord for giving us the strength and putting His love in our hearts to go into Brugam to offer the training as we were thinking of cancelling the trip to the remote.

The classroom that was given for the BCT training. A staff house was also offered for us to use

We were glad that we did go and experienced the true meaning of LTPNG’s goal of bridging the gap for the remote via technologies.

We can only bridge that gap by being available and willing to give what we have so that the Lord will bring hope to hopeless situations.

We again thank the Lord for this special privilege to be a small part of what He is doing for the Churches in our nation in this technological era as we offer basic computing skills to those seen as out of the way people.