Halloween looks a little bit different here and it’s actually super refreshing. Here is just a little peak into regular life here in Ukarumpa.
In Canada, we would head out to Costco or Superstore and pick up mounds of candy and probably expect around 200 kids over the course of the evening.
Here in Ukarumpa, we could go and buy candy from our store but, since it is a small store, that is focused on bringing the basics and some comforts of home to our community here, Halloween candy isn’t something that they carry. We have some packages of hard candies but not a lot that is individually packaged so, if you have a friend with a car who is willing, we head to the closest town, which is 20 minutes away – called Kainantu.
Kainantu has one major grocery store and two much smaller ones. The main one is called Papindos and it carries primarily oil, tuna, a million soy sauces, soap, dish soap, laundry soap, rice, flour, some intriguing meats and some mugs and dishes and possibly even some plastic ware at times.
(All prices are listed in Kina. The conversion is approximately K2 = $1 CAD)
Thankfully they also have an aisle with interesting flavours of chips and individually wrapped hard candies, usually that have been imported from Indonesia.
Once back in Ukarumpa, we put out an old care package box filled with some candies and an instruction to ‘take two each,’ we find a good friend who also happens to be taking their kids out, hop in their vehicle with the trunk open for quick in and out access (Elliott may or may not have fallen out of the back of the van due to his permanent case of the wiggles but, not to worry – we stopped and picked him up ?), and head to the houses that are handing out candy.
This takes about an hour and a half as there aren’t too many houses participating but we like to often stop and chat with the people handing out the candy as they are often the kids teachers or our other friends or just members of the community that we know so well and sometimes they introduce other fun activities like bobbing for apples or bananas (and apples are pretty expensive here – think $1 to $1.50 per apple – so that’s a pretty generous offering!).
We also really love that none of the houses have decorations at all so there’s no need to worry about overly scary decorations and the focus instead can be on fun, candy and friendship.
We hop back in the car and head home and then the same ‘sorting’ ritual begins, usually on our front porch before Jon & I have a chance to open the door.
There are so many times when I think about this life and just laugh that the God who knew that change was my least favourite thing has placed me in a state of continuous change but that, in the midst of the uncertainties and the unique challenges and joys of this ‘different’ life, He has given me rest in the change, peace in the uncertainty and the ability (most days ? ) to see beauty in the unique parts of life here.