Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Papua New Guinea

The flight from Australia to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea only took about an hour and a half. When we got to Port Moresby there was a terrible thunderstorm and we had to circle the airport a few times before landing. Once we got through customs we got on buses and headed for the National Museum. We were also supposed to visit a Gallery, but the thunderstorm had knocked out the power there. The Museum was interesting and had many exhibits about the cultures of Papua New Guinea.
After we toured the Museum we headed for the Airways Hotel. I noticed on this ride that our buses were followed by a police escort. Port Moresby is improving from what I hear, but it is still a city with very a high unemployment rate as well as crime rate. The hotel was very nice though, and we had dinner before heading to bed.
In the morning we split in to three groups. Some went to the Western Highlands region, some to the Sepik River region, and we went to the Southern Highlands. We had a small charter flight on Air Nuigini (pronounced New Guinea…) which contained our group plus about 6 locals. Here is our plane once it landed on the grass runway at Tari, Papua New Guinea.

Since it was Sunday, there were all sorts of people waiting at the gates of the runway. I don’t actually think that Sunday had anything to do with the crowd considering that we left on Tuesday to the same size crowd. Here is the crowd and the huge vehicles, like hummers, we

On the way to the Lodge we stopped at the Luma Village where we got to experience "village life". Direct from the itinerary. At the village we learned about the role of women in the tribe. It was very interesting. Women are expected to have babies and raise them, raise and care for the pigs, and tend to the farm. Men choose the woman they want to marry by standards very different than what we are used to. If a woman has no hair on her head then she carries heavy loads on her head. If her hands are dirty and she has no finger nails then she works hard in the garden. If her feet are dirty and her knees bad then, again, she works hard in the garden. Usually a man’s family makes the ultimate decision on who he will marry, because they will be buying her to bring in to the family. In the villages, a woman is bought for 30 pigs, plus one more as a gift to the mother. It was so strange to see a society which still revolves around pigs and sweet potatoes. Here are some pictures from the village. The woman covered is white clay is a widow.

Home boy decided to get stoned while we were learning about the village… and then my dad bought one of their bongs...great.

The women on either sides of the widow are her guides, not too sure what they did though.

Here I am with some children from the village. They all wanted to touch your hands.

So, after this experience we made our way to the Ambua Lodge where we stayed for two nights. We checked in, ate lunch, rested, and then listen to Alice, who works at the lodge, talk about her experiences being a woman in the village. She is one of the few women who has gotten a divorce from her husband. We ate dinner after a while and then watched part of a movie called First Contact. It was a documentary about the first time white men discovered the millions of people living in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. I fell asleep during the movie and went to bed! Here are pictures of our cabin.

On Monday morning men from a local village came to the lodge to visit us and show us about their traditions. First were the wigmen. These men go to "wig school" to grow out their hair, cut it off, make a wig out of the hair, and then sell it. Then, they save their money and buy pigs in order to pay a bride price and get married. The wigmen were pretty crazy. They would sit there and pick at eachothers hair for hours if you let them. There are two kinds of wigs, everyday wigs and ceremonial wigs. The prices are about 800 kina for a everyday wig and 1200 kina for a ceremonial wig.

Grandad was watching the wigman!

Here we are at the lodge:

So then we got to see some of the men dressed up for ceremonies perform a "sing-sing." Their faces are painted only on special occasions. Today they use acrylic paint I think, but they used to use clay and other natural things to paint themselves.

Here we are! You may see this again on our christmas card!

After the wigmen left we had lunch and then went on a two hour nature walk. This ended up being a two hour scary walk on a slippery, narrow path of logs and stone and lots of mud, and it rained the whole time. It would have been pretty had it not been so muddy and rainy. There were three vine bridges and two waterfalls. Here is mom on a vine bridge and diana and i at the last waterfall, looking just marvolous!

So after this we had to shower to get clean and to get warm! We ate dinner and then were all asleep before 9:00! The next morning we left the lodge around 9 and drove back to the grass-runway airport. We had to wait about an hour for our plane and then we were back to Port Moresby. We were all so glad to get back on the jet!

Here is the Sing-Sing song/dance...if you want to call it that!

1 comment:

TradingNuggets said...

wow, looks like a different part of the world.

Very primative but neat