first, let me say sorry for not posting in a while. It has been pretty busy around here. Now. on to Hensen.
Hensen has an interesting story. I think he looks like Cramer on Seinfeld. He is the only national employee at POC who is not form the mountain. When Hensen was a small boy both his parents died. He left his home area (the Sepik) and ended up two provinces east. With no land and no family in the area he needed a job. It just so happened that he ended up near a place called Jungle Camp. Jungle Camp has since moved and become POC (the place where we work) but I am getting ahead of the story. He got a job at jungle camp taking care of missionary children. One of the families became very attached to him. When the course was over they wanted him to move up to Ukarumpa with them. Hensen had heard all kinds of horrible stories about the people who lived in the Highlands and was afraid to go. The family eventually left without him.
However they could not forget about Hensen. At that time in PNG there was a national radio program that would make announcements over the air for its listeners. The family made an announcement that they were coming to the area where he was and they wanted him to meet them and return with them to Ukarumpa. Someone who knew Hensen heard the program and told him. Hensen decided to meet them and go to live in Ukarumpa.
I should say that the offer was not totally without strings. In exchange for room and board with the family Hensen had to work for the family and help look after the children. Hensen lived with and worked for the family for several years. As the children grew bigger less was required of Hensen and the father of the family told Hensen if he would like to stay with them he would pay for Hensen to go to school in Ukarumpa. He gladly accepted and was thus educated.
Upon finishing his education he began to work in different departments at Ukarumpa. While all of this was happening Jungle camp had closed up and moved to it’s current location in Madang province, reopening as The Pacific Orientation Course. One of the directors at POC remembered Hensen from Ukarumpa and asked him to come and handle the office work at POC. Hensen was ready for a change and gladly accepted. While at POC he met his wife Ti’en (Dorcas). He eventually resigned and moved his family back to the Sepik where his family’s traditional land is.
They lived there for several years until another POC director came to the Sepik to find him and ask him to come back. He returned and has worked there ever since. He told me recently when he retires he will stay until his children finish school then he will move back to the Sepik.
Because Hensen has had so much education and work with expats so long his English is very good. That can be a good thing when working in the office. But his Tok Pisin is not very good. Maybe what I mean by good is '”pure”. He mixes LOTS of English words in where they should not be. This is a pretty common occurrence with Papua New Guineans who have a good bit of formal education. They even have a word for it, “pinglish.” This presents a little problem when he interacts with the students who are trying their new language out on our employees. So, we just tell the students at the beginning of the course that his Tok Pisin may not be the best to try to emulate. That being said, he has a very unique perspective about life and culture in PNG being a national and having lived with expats for many years. He is an amazing person and I love to sit and listen to him tell stories.