This year's Outdoor Education took the high school, approximately 62 students to the highland location of Mokndoma (Mock-en-dough-mah), about a 1.5 hours flight out of Sentani. Upon arrival the students were greeted by the villagers who helped them set up their living arrangements for the next two weeks.
Preparations for Outdoor Education begin long before the actual experience. The village leaders had to invite the group, communicate what community service projects were needed, and agree upon housing for the students. Activities and festivities are carefully planned, discussed, and prayed over. The primary community service requested was lengthening the airstrip at Mokndoma. This will make opportunities available to the Wano people such as better education, health care, and economic freedom. Currently, because flying in the Papuan highlands can be treacherous, severe weight limits are placed on the planes, thereby limiting opportunities. Lengthening the runway will help in this challenge.
The high school also prepares. The students are divided into groups and prepared skits, talks, and activities. There is a health talk on prevent the transmission of HIV. Kids' Clubs and ministry activites are prepared. The guest speakers who challenge the high school students spiritually also prepare for their ministry.
Finally, it all happened. In order to lengthen the runway, rocks and dirt had to be collected from one place and transported
via wheelbarrows, shovels, and student power to the lower end of the runway. There it was placed and packed in. The students were able to meet and exceed their goals.
On the weekend, the students hiked to nearby villages, several hours away. The Wano people sent along guides to help with the dangerous footings and river crossings. The Hillcrest students came out of their comfort zones and established friendships with people whose lifestyle is very different from their own.