Beautiful Highlands

Papua New Guinea, Village, Highlands

The Highlands in Papua New Guinea are so beautiful. Since moving up here in November we have discovered that more and more as we have ventured to different towns. On one particular trip to Goroka, a town about 2 hours away that we have driven to several times now, I knew that I HAD to take my camera. Every time we past this beautiful little village I knew that It was the perfect picture, but I had never brought my camera because of the safety risks. So a couple weeks ago Evan went with another guy from the Auto Shop to pick up some car parts (a business trip) and I got to tag along. The Highlands of Papua New Guinea are so beautiful, and I knew I had to share it with you!

Papua New Guinea, Village, HighlandsPapua New Guinea, HighlandsPapua New Guinea, Highlands, VillageA traditional house in the Highlands is always round. This is because they will always put a fire in the middle of the house, so everyone can sleep around it for warmth.
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Gardening is a way of life in Papua New Guinea. Many times you will see people’s gardens on the side of mountains. They say this is the easiest place to put them because then you don’t have to bend down to garden, you can stand straight up and not hurt your back!

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I love this picture of the rolling hills and someone burning ground for a garden on top of the mountain!

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Village Living-Family Pictures {Part 2}

Papua New Guinea, Village, Family

Living in the village was one of the best times and hardest times in our lives. We loved getting to know our village family, and the hospitality that they offered us was amazing. They let us stay in their brother’s home for 5 weeks, took us places, taught us the language and how they lived and basically looked after us for all of that time. We became very close with the village of Lalok 5. One of my greatest memories was when I got to take pictures of each of the families that made up the one big family line of Lalok 5. They had never gotten their picture taken before, but just like American families (who usually have their picture taken annually) they were nervous about what to wear, where to stand and getting all of the family together in one place at the allotted time. I loved being able to give this gift to them, because as you all know family pictures can be the most precious item that we can own. Can you imagine not having these precious items, ever taken, in your entire life?

Papua New Guinea, Village, FamilyMalfun and his family. Malfun (pronounced “Malpone”, shown here in the Papua New Guinean flag shirt) was the uncle of the family in Lalok 5. He had a hat for every day we were there and was one of the nicest dressers around :) Him and his wife were the most resourceful people of Lalok 5 and sold produce from their garden at the market everyday. Many days Malfun’s wife would leave in the dark and come home in the dark to go sell things at market. Malfun was a fisherman and was out on the water most days looking for fish to feed his family. They had five kids, and we got to be great friends with their oldest two kids, Lesli and Moses (in the back). Moses at age 13 was in first grade and Lesli at age 11 was in kindergarden. Malfun and our waspapa made and taught Evan how to make a traditional drum, the kundu.

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The next house over was Lacie’s house. She lived there with her 90 year old mother, and 3 children. Her oldest son, Nathan lived in the “House Boy” where many of the young single men lived. Lacie was one of my best friends in the village. She is always known to have a story to tell you about what is going on in the villages around her. She is also the women’s ministry leader at the church. Her 90 year old mother, Mata, was the first of the line of Lalok 5, and lived through WW2. Stennis, her youngest (in the PNG flag clothes) was one of my favorite little boys. He had bright blonde hair (that unfortunately he shaved off for this picture) and a real gift for art. Eddie, the older boy in the back was always playing jokes on Evan. We definitely had a special place in our hearts for this family.

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The “big man” or the leader of the village lived in the house on the corner with most of his older kids and grandchildren. We all called him “Booboo” which means grandfather in Tok Pisin. He was the Father of our waspapa and had 7 children. Most of the children were still in the village. Our favorite little girl, Diane (seen on the bottom right) lived here with her mom, Angela. We had a special place in our hearts for this sassy little girl and wish we could’ve taken her home! Because both of these young moms had children without fathers our was papa, Pedro has adopted these girls. So when Angela and Wali get married they will have to leave their children with our host family because it is not culturally appropriate to have “stepchildren”.

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Borat and his family kindly gave us their house while we stayed in the village, and they stayed with Booboo, or the grandpa of the village. Borat was called “man bilong hookim pis” or the man who hooks all of the fish. He loved to go fishing. And on many occasions he took Evan along with him. We knew when Borat came over, we would always have a yummy meal of fish. Borat had 5 children and 1 adopted boy.

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SingSings in the Village-Wacky Wednesday

Singsing, Papua New Guinea, children, Rai Coast, Village

A Singsing is a traditional Papua New Guinean celebration. They are done when there is an event to celebrate, like Independence Day or Christmas. While we were in village living we were blessed to be apart of three different Singsings. Everyone who participates gets all dressed up in bright colors, that include different types of leaves, grass skirts, all different kinds of shells and face paint. Each community has their own unique way of doing it. It almost always involves the beating of a “kundu” or a drum made from a lizard skin, as well as singing and dancing. We had a blast getting to participate in them! They dressed us all up and painted our skin. The picture above is of the Singsing that the local elementary school performed for us. It was so beautiful because the school was right next to the beach and the kids really did sing their hearts out. The other two Singsings were done by our village family for us as we left. We got to participate in these, and then at the end we fed all of the participants tea and popcorn (they loved this!) Here are some photos from our Singsings during village living.

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Village Living {Part 1}

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On our way to the village!

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The Rai Coast Highway to get out to the village

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All of our family and village waiting for us as we got to our house.

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Our house in the village

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The Outhouse

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Our bedroom

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Our wasfamili (host family) in front of their house.

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A typical PNG meal. Yams, cooking bananas and sweet potatoes in coconut milk with greens.

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Church in the village

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The beach near us

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3 Day PMV Hike

We just got back from our 3 day PMV hike. A PMV is a public motor vehicle, usually a 15 passenger van, bus, truck, or even a dump truck! that takes people from one place to another. The trick is, there isn’t a schedule to show when they stop, and you never know where they stop. Everyone in PNG uses them to ride from place to place so it was a great learning experience. 

Evan and I went with a guide, Papa Ganig, who is a bit of a “big man” in the community. Everyone knows him.

The first day we caught a PMV down the mountain on a 5 ton truck, where everyone but us and the driver sat in the back. Most of the rides we were asked to sit in the front because we are “whiteskins” and they want to make sure we are safe. We definitely appreciated that on these bumpy roads! After we got into town Papa Gagnig told us it would only be 30 minutes before the next PMV came. 6 hours later, it finally came! So we did a lot of sitting and talking with the people. We made lots of friends. One of the highlights of the trip was what happened next. Once we got to our first village we were greeted by all of the children in the village throwing flowers and singing songs. They led us singing through the whole village until we got to our house. Our house was so nice! It was new and had pretty decorations all around. It has 4 bedrooms and even a dining room with a table and chairs (Most village houses don’t have any furniture). The outhouse was brand new and they even built a covered picnic table to eat at. After we arrived in the village we went washing in the river and then went to eat. They made a ton of food for us. Things like cooking bananas, rice, sweet potatoes, and chicken soaked in coconut milk. It was delicious! Once it got dark they asked us to preach to them in Tok Pisin by the light of the fire. Ha! So I selected a passage in Matthew about the children coming to Jesus. Then all of the children sang some worship songs in Tok Pisin. It was such a great moment, even when it started to rain.

The next day we woke up and they fixed us a big breakfast before we took off for the next village. After breakfast we walked about 30 minutes to the main road where the PMV would pick us up. We waited about 1 1/2 hour and then we rode to the next village. At the next village we were greeted with a shower of flowers that the family threw at the PMV. Then we had the whole day to talk and get to know them. Around noon Evan began getting a migraine just from the heat and the mental power of talking so much in Tok Pisin. So they graciously allowed us to go take a nap in the house on the hill that we were staying with. After we got up we hiked to the place where they washed. It was far! I can’t believe that they walk that far every day to wash. Once we got there the water was very stagnant, but I jumped in anyway. It was nice and cool. The men and women washed in separate places, and I kept my clothes on because as always I had an audience of children watching me :). After we got back from washing we spent the evening talking, eating, playing darts, playing guitar and singing with them. We had a lot of fun.

We woke up the next day to lots of rain. We left the village about 8am and walked about 45 minutes to the main road. We caught a PMV ride in the rain with a rickety old PMV that Evan had to hold the door closed as we drove. Ha! It also had so many cracks in the windshield we could hardly see out of it. Luckily we made it into town with our host Papa, and two other girls from the family leading the way. We stood in the rain waiting for the final PMV for about 2 hours before we heard that it broke down and wasn’t running for the day. So Papa Gagnig led us to a PMV that was a lot like a bus that took us down the highway to our last ride. As we got out of the bus, we saw one of our trucks pull up! Hallelujah! Matt (the maintenance director) picked us up at the bottom of the mountain and we jumped in the back of the truck and road the rest of the way in the rain standing up in the back of the truck because it was already quite full of people.

Wow! We had such a great experience. We feel like we learned so much about getting around in this country and made lots of friends. Here are some pictures from our experience. I also have some video, but I will post that later.

-Sarah

 Our PMV down the mountain

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 Sitting at the park in town for 6 hours waiting for our PMV.

Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_06Evan with our guide, Papa Gagnig and our host PapaPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThis woman was selling chickens at the market.
Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPapua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_14PMVHike_15Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCA market outside of town. Logging is a very big industry here.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCThe first village we went to, we had so much fun! We stayed in a huge house and the whole village sang to us as we walked in. They made us feel so welcome.Papua New Guinea, people, hike, POCPMVHike_26Papa Gagnig on the steps to our very nice village house. Cement steps are very rare here!
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 Packages of betel nut, a nut the Papua New Guineans chew here that is like caffeine that turns their mouths red.

db799c5a6bd0e1c7944c9015f7193e05304215a1e8723d436c8799050ea0314cOur PMV ride to our 2nd village.
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The house we stayed in our 2nd village.

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Hanging out with the family in the “haus wind” or the dining room.

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Our 2nd village host family, and their dog.

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All of the windows in this PMV were out, so what did they do? Just put some duct tape on it!1f78b195df741c07d6bfa265257e14dd534d8a41c9bf8ed1a490754d394511d7

One of the last PMV rides, where Evan had to hold the door closed as it was raining. It also had zipties tied to the windshield wipers for “decoration”

Kamba {POC}

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Yesterday Evan got to go on a hike to the village, Kamba. It was a 16km (roughly 10 mile) hike with a stop in the village Kamba for lunch. Because my ankle is still bothering me I got to ride up the mountain to meet them for lunch at the village. What a drive! The road was almost non-existent in some spots which made for a very bumpy ride. The hike was also very difficult, with lots of straight ups and straight downs. They even crossed a river at one point that was about ankle deep. We had a good time in the village of Kamba, relaxing and eating lunch. Evan and I have made it a point to go talk with the locals and learn more language. So I went to talk with the women and Evan went to talk with the men. It was a great experience and I feel much more accomplished just from that little interaction that I was able to have a full conversation with them. Here are some pictures from the day.

Kamba_07The group before they took off for the hike

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Once I met Evan in Kamba, he was enjoying a refreshing drink from a coconut

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The village of Kamba

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Evan with our guide Robert

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All of the ladies hanging out in an old PMV truck bed.

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My favorite shot from the day.

 

Church Visit {PNG}

Papua New Guinea, Church, Madang, POC

 

Last Sunday we were able to visit our first Papua New Guinean church. Wow. What an amazing experience it was to worship with other believers in Tok Pisin. We hiked up the hill from our POC Centre and went to a Lutheran church. One of the main things that was different other than the language was the fact that all of the men sat on one side of the building and all of the women sat on the other side. That was different! Our class learned a song in Tok Pisin that we sang in front of the whole church and Evan was able to play his guitar for that. It was an open air church, full of people, even spilling out the doors. There were even a few dogs who joined the service at times! Lots of the kids hung outside the windows listening to the message and everyone was very welcoming and kind. They all wanted to know our names and where we came from.

Before the service started one of the missionaries, Verna, who has been here in this area for 37 years asked me if I wanted to see something cool. Of course I did! So she took me to the Sunday school class just across the path where all of the kids were singing. It was amazing hearing the kids rejoicing God in their own language.

Later that night we had a special treat. A couple of the local guys from the church were invited to come sing in their own language (one of the 850+ languages in the country!) to our group. Wow. They were so talented. And what was even cooler was that Evan was able to play his guitar with the guys and learn their music! They also sang with Evan and I as we led worship. It was definitely one of those moments you could feel God in the room.

Here are a few pictures of the church service that morning.

PNGNobNobChurch_01PNGNobNobChurch_02Waiting for church to start. There is no “set” time the church starts, its just when everyone gets there. Here you can see the girls sit on one side and the guys sit on the other side.

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The Market in Madang {PNG}

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One of the many things we did this week was go to the market in Madang town. It was so fun! We got to go with our tisas (teachers) and learn a little more of the language by buying things. It was so colorful and different than anything that we have ever seen.

Market in Mandang from Sarah Halferty on Vimeo.

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Henson, our driver down the mountain.
PNGMarketPOC_08With our “tisa” (teacher) Ik Bom at the market.