Saturday, January 31, 2009

Independence Day - Sept, 16

September 16, 2008, we took the day off to celebrate Independence Day. In 1975, Papua New Guinea gained their independence from Australia. While there were many traditional dances and costumes, we were surprised at the mix of Western culture and music mixed in. The bottom picture is the "mambu band", pieces of bamboo cut different lengths, played by hitting a flip-flop over the opening. The music was beautiful.

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Gardens in PNG

We discovered gardening in PNG is hard work. Around Nobnob mountain most of the gardens were on very steep slopes where they could catch the most sun. First they must clear all the brush and trees, and cut the vines. Then once the cut brush has dried, they burn the whole area, and then plant everything among the stubble. A bush knife is one thing a Papua New Guinean (man and women) carry with them everywhere. It is the tool they use for everything. Some of them also use a spade to help plant things, but often just a stick is used. Here, waspapa took Doug on a tour of his garden and some surrounding gardens. These are some of the foods grown in PNG: taro, yam, kau kau, tapiok (starchy, potato-like foods), various greens called tulip, pit pit, pumpkin kru, and then the delicious fruit trees, like papaya, all sorts of bananas, coconut, pineapple, and mango.

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Second wasfamili visit

We met weekly with our wasfamili after that first visit, and usually walked to their village, and ate dinner with them. This was their kitchen where they cooked.

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First wasfamili visit

During orientation we were assigned a "wasfamili", (watch family), from a village close to Nobnob, that would help teach us Tok Pisin and learn more about their culture. The first night we met them, they came to Nobnob, and ate dinner with us. The first visit was a little awkward as Doug and I knew very little Tok Pisen at this point., but they were very gracious to help and correct us. They had mostly grown children, but they brought their youngest boy (14) with them.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

The Finished Product

There was a total of 11 haus kuks with 11 fires going. At times it got a little smoky with everyone cooking meals.
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Building the Le Mahieu Haus Kuk

Building our haus kuk took almost a whole Saturday, (including a picnic table). It's harder than it looks.
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Building a "haus kuk" (kitchen)

On the weekends, during our orientation, we were responsible for cooking over a fire, to practise for village living. We'd eat in our "haus kuk". This is a demonstration of how to make a haus kuk from bamboo, and twine. We made a picnic table out of bamboo, and even had a counter and sink. We practise cooking with foods that we would be using in the village from the gardens.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Market Day

Our first trip to practise our Tok Pisin was to the market. We were given a list of foods from the kitchen to find and buy. We were a little nervous, but had two key phrases down: "Em i wanen samting?" (What is it?), and "Em i hamas?" (How much is it?)

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Learning Tok Pisin

The 3 official languages in Papua New Guinea are: English, Tok Pisin, and Hiri Motu. However, most Papua New Guineans speak one of over 800 indigenous languages. Tok Pisin is a trade language that most Papua New Guineans speak to communicate among language groups.

Every morning we'd have Tok Pisin class with a Papua New Guinean. Then we'd have opportunities to go out in the community and use our Tok Pisin.
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Monday, January 26, 2009


On one of our hikes we saw this cassowary being kept as a pet by one of the villagers.
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Vanilla is one of the cash crops in the lowlands of PNG. These are vanilla leaves, and the long pods hanging down is where the vanilla is extracted from. Next time you bake with vanilla think of PNG. Unfortunately, the price of vanilla was down, and so much of the vanilla was left hanging on the trees.

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Hike #2

The kids went on all the same hikes as the adults (except the 3-day hike), and they went in their own group, at their own pace.
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Hercules Moth

One night we heard all this noise outside our room, and went outside to check. It was a Hercules Moth, one of the biggest moths in the world.
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby in a "bilum" ?

The string bag is something made by the PNG women, and also carried by men. They use the bag for everything, from carrying firewood, dishes, laundry and produce from their gardens. Many times, babies are put inside to be put to sleep. Here, the kids are looking for the baby, but this time its only wet laundry just washed at the river.
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Saturday, August 30, 2008 - Community Hike

On our first Saturday in PNG, all the families in orientation went on a community hike, visiting the surrounding villages, church and school. The children loved having their pictures taken. This was the first hike of many, progresively increasing in length and intensity to help prepare us for a 3-day survey hike, and 5 weeks of village living.

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Amazing Scenery

We were constantly in awe of God's creation around us; the variety and density of the vegetation I had never seen before. We overlooked the Pacific Ocean, and had just enough of a breeze to keep the heat tolerable.

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