I was sent to help with the Christmas ministry at the big church in Kieta. Everything was new to me and, being young, I wanted to experience it all.
After the Christmas masses, one of the brothers from Germany mentioned that he was going to the mountains to visit a fellow German, Father Woste, and I decided to tag along.
We walked, or I should say climbed, along the jungle trail, up and down and then up again, for 10 hours.
It began to rain and by the time we reached Deomori mission station in the mountains and it was getting dark.
My legs were cramping and I was cold and sore all over. I had met a fellow American going to Keta and he urged me to wait and go back with him when he returned.
He returned the next day but I begged to rest a day before going the other way. So much for being young. I was definitely out of shape.
In Kieta, I soon got word that I was being assigned to Touriboiru in Buin. There I got abundant opportunity to get in shape.
It's a good thing I did as, after a few years, the Bishop appointed me as Mission Education Officer and I began to traverse Bougainville and the outer islands by boat, plane and on foot to visit all the mission schools.
On one trip, while in Kieta I hitched a ride on the mining helicopter to Deomori not too far from the Panguna mine site. The road was not built; it was just beginning. The 10 hour trip I had taken a few years previously took just 10 minutes, and no sore legs.