Friday, February 27, 2009

More Wasfamili

Kosmas - Robert's younger brother
Justin - Robert's younger brother. Justin was the fisherman of the family, and went out in his canoe regularly to catch fish for us. (He caught the two fish seen below)
Robert's mother. Robert's father died at a very young age in a clan fight, when Fransisca was a baby.

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These are some of the people who became our good friends:
Robert, Donna and their baby Samuel
Standing in front is Donna's mother, visiting from another village
Dolli, Robert's sister, holding Samuel
Dolli often helped us get our fires going and helped us haul water. Dolli, finished grade 8, but did not pass the exam that would allow her to continue school. She stays at home now helping in the gardens, and taking care of the house.
Fransisca and Somal - Robert's younger sisters

Fransisca and Somal loved to have fun, and loved swimming in the ocean. They often went with us to the watering hole to wash clothes and dishes. Somal (the older one) was in second grade, and Fransisca didn't go to school yet. When they start school depends on if they have the money to pay the school fees. They also didn't know their ages, which is not uncommon.
This is Stella, with two of her children, Allan and Isabella. Stella is Robert's sister-in-law. Allen was about Noah's age, and became a good friend of Noah's.
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Our Village House

This was the village house we lived in. It had four rooms. Two rooms were used for sleeping; one room for gear and food, and the fourth room we sat in to eat our meals. Our wasfamili, Robert and Donna and their 8 month old baby boy Samuel, had just built this house, and had not even lived in it yet. They moved in as soon as our 5 weeks were over.
This is the house they moved into, which was right next door. In this house lived Robert's mother, three sisters, and brother. It was a full house, once Robert and Donna, and little Samuel moved in.
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Village Living -Here We Come!

October 23 2008, we were up bright and early to load the trucks, with food and gear for what we would need for 5 weeks of village living. This was the moment we had all been preparing for, as we studied Tok Pisin, practised cooking over fires, and learned about Papua New Guinean Culture.

There was a nervous anticipation, as one by one each family was dropped off at their village location. Our family was located along the north coast of PNG, only a 3 minute walk to the ocean, and we were the last family to be dropped off. Questions raced through my mind. How would this 5 weeks go? Would we be able to make good relationships with our wasfamili? We would soon find out.
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reunited with the Kids

We were gone for 3 days, and were somewhat anxious how the kids would do when we were gone, but by the looks of things they were busy, and had a good time too.

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Mohak - Bringing Us Back Home

Mohak brought us all safely back, and even had to clear the path with his bush knife on the last leg of the journey.
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Saturday, on our way home from the 3 day hike, we passed through a village, that had their own school. If you look closely, you'll note that all the words on the board are in English. At most of the schools we encountered, most of the instruction was done in English. There are some villages that are starting schools that are teaching children their "Tok Ples", their own heart language that their parents speak. Children often can understand their Tok Ples, but are unable to speak it, because they use Tok Pisin more frequently, and are taught English in school.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Climbing Trees!

PNG kids are fearless in climbing trees. It's something they do from an early age.

This is a buai tree. (betel nut)

Another buai tree
A papaya tree
A coconut tree. Coconut trees are often 30 - 50 feet tall. Usually they make a rope out of vine, that they tie around both feet, as they pull themselves up the tree.
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The boy standing in the front was Gilbert. He became a special friend of Doug's, and wanted to exchange names with Doug. When we left the village he called, "Bye, Gilbert". Doug yelled back, "Bye, Doug."
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Joe's glasses!

Joe was our host at Betelgut, and he wanted to try Doug's glasses on and then have his picture taken. In the villages, we didn't see anyone with glasses, however you do see a few more people in the towns/cities wearing glasses.
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The Ambulance

This was Betelgut's 'ambulance' service. Those who couldn't walk and needed medical care were carried on this stretcher. It was about one hour walk to the nearest access to a public motor vehicle, where they could catch a ride to Madang, a city about another hour away.
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The Elderly in PNG

This man was one of the few elderly people we saw in the villages we visited. Average life expectancy in PNG is approximately 56 years old. There are no retirement homes or nursing homes in PNG. Elderly depend on their immediate family to care for them.
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Growing Rice in PNG

We discovered you don't need rice paddies to grow rice. This is rice growing out in their gardens.
Rice on the stalk picked from the gardens.
They shake the rice off the stalks, and then it must be brought to town where a special machine peels off the brown covering. The white rice is inside. Growing rice is a labor intensive job, and may or may not be profitable depending on the price of rice. There are costs involved in using the machine in town to peel off the brown covering.
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House/Church at Betelgut

This was the house we stayed in at Betelgut. It was one of the largest houses we've been in in PNG. It had an upstairs and a downstairs, plus their haus kuk (kitchen) was in their house. Often the haus kuk is outside in a separate little building.
The church at Betelgut
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Haus Karim - Birthing House

This village had a certified mid-wife, and a birthing place for the women of the village to go. This is for the deliveries that they anticipate will be uncomplicated. Anyone with previous problems, or twins expected go to a "haus sik", a hospital further away.
Here, the midwife is holding her certificate for the schooling she completed to become a mid-wife.
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