Who Won? The Drunk?

It was not state of the art.  It was not immaculate or without many faults, but many of us did enjoy it.  Especially on a hot steamy, 70%+ humidity, tropical day.  Families would gather.  Picnics were eaten.  Missionary wife tales were swapped while the children refreshed themselves.   Dads would throw the children high into the air.  Boys would totter on each other’s shoulders and play, “Chicken”.  “Marco”, “Polo” was often heard.  Along with the little elderly Papuan man, grinding his teeth, as he weeded all the flower beds.  Often there was no shock factor at getting in.  Sometimes the chemicals would be so out of balance it was green.  Sometimes we would all stay in during a tropical rain downfall and just enjoy the uniqueness of the moment.


The pool.


Over several months “the former owner” began to cause more and more problems at the pool.  Demanding that it was his, despite having already been paid several times.  Showing up drunk, he would have parties and be a nuisance.  More and more frequently gatherings were cancelled and families wanting to swim had to turn around and go home. 

Then we received word that the man had cut one of the pipes at the pool. Did we want to keep “fighting” and dealing with this behavior?  The consensus was, “No.”  There were feelings of, “Are we really going to let the drunk man win?”  Everyone was tired of paying the needed fees to keep the pool open, but unable to use it when desired.

I drove by the pool several months after we “gave up”.  Only a small amount of murky water was in the deep end.  The pool mostly drained from the broken pipe.  The sweet little grinding teeth grandfatherly Papuan man no longer keeping the weeds at bay, the grounds were looking chaotic.  I couldn’t help but think, “Who really won?”  The drunk man who can no longer use his broken pipe pool?




This story does not make me happy to tell.  I think it is a very sad part of Papuan culture.  Quite a few buildings stand almost complete, but not in use….because issues cannot be resolved.  Land caught up in issues because the “family” wants more payment.  A land without justice.  Things that are difficult for us to understand.  Did the drunk man win?


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