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  • Writer's pictureSarah Lee Thompson

Hunting Chicken Pot Pie

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

It had been a long day.

We were up at 5:00 am as usual. We set about our day after having quiet time and breakfast. I put my hand to cleaning and scrubbing, and Matthew began the monthly ministry accounting. We had been in Papua just over a week and putting in long days trying to get settled into our house, usually working till bedtime and then crashing.

On this particular evening, we decided to order dinner so we could continue working without stopping to cook. We had heard one of the ladies in the community made chicken pot pie (an American meal) and would deliver it to your house. Using Google Translate, I messaged her and arranged for her to deliver it to our house at 4:30. At 4:15, she told me that it was done and that she would deliver it soon.

Around 5, I contemplated messaging her to see if she was having difficulty finding our place, but remembering that time is flexible here and not wanting to seem pushy, I waited till 5:30 and then texted her. When I didn't hear from her, I tried calling at around 6:30. Calling proved to be a challenge, since we couldn't use Google translate.

Finally, after many attempts at phone calls, we were able to understand that she was saying her husband had already delivered it (or tried to, as we later learned). We asked the neighbors if anyone had delivered food to them, and they said they hadn't seen anyone.

After another attempt at texting, we got a message that translated to "a drop school." We decided to take our motorbike and go to the gateman at the nearby SIL (Wycliffe Center) campus to see if her husband had dropped it off there.

Using Google Translate, we asked the gateman if anyone had tried delivering food there. At first, he shook his head no. Then, suddenly, his eyes lit up, and he said, "Sion, Sion, makanan besar," (Sion, big food). He acted out Sion walking by with a big plate or bag of food. Sion is a Papuan friend of Matthew's who stays at the SIL campus when in town.

The gateman insisted we go see Sion. We were obliged to be kind to the gateman, even though we didn't think Sion had our food. However, visiting Sion proved helpful because he speaks a little English, and Matthew had the idea to have him call the lady with the chicken pot pie to see what she was saying.

Matthew explained our situation to Sion, and he called her. From this, we learned that her husband had come by our house at one point but, seeing no one outside assumed we weren't home and apparently tried to find us three other times. Sion arranged for us to wait for her husband at the SIL gate.

Very soon, the kind, hard-working gentleman and his son showed up on their motorbike carrying a beautifully baked chicken pot pie. We had him follow us to our house, so he would know where we lived for possible future deliveries. We thanked him profusely, apologized for any inconvenience, and paid him for the pie.

Finally, at 8:00, very hungry and exhausted, we sat down to enjoy an oversized slice of chicken pot pie and were finally able to laugh at our challenging situation.

Needless to say, we are very excited to start language school soon and learn to communicate with the local people here. Google Translate can only take you so far.

And yes, the Chicken Pot Pie was great!

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