Dear Partners, Friends, and Family,
We have one more day in Wewak. The time has flown by, probably because we have experienced many things in such a short time. Our village overnight was a new experience for all the girls. Mikayla and Emily were too young to remember their first village experience in 2001. Molly and I remember it vividly, yet this time was different in many ways.
Our group was split and went to two different villages. Christina, Catherine, Dana, and Hannah went to Forok village where they were greeted by the entire village with a singsing (song and dance). This welcome was quite culturally appropriate for villagers to give for ‘whiteskin’ visitors. Our family, plus Katie and Lacey went to Bunghain village. The greeting we received was much simpler, yet we felt warmly welcomed by the family who were to watch over us during our stay there. One little boy, Ari, was the first child we met. He became like a little brother to the girls and was with us most of the time.
Our new family took us on a walk through the entire village where we were able to meet most of the people of their community. We quickly acquired a large following of children. Everyone wanted a picture with the new people. The walk took a good two hours as we also stopped to play a game of soccer in a field next to their church. After getting back to their village house, we were ready for rest and fluids.
One of the teen boys quickly grabbed his machete and headed up the nearest coconut palm. The girls each got their own refreshing kulau drink. That evening the women prepared a meal of sago, greens, fish, and fruit. Our palettes were not yet adjusted to PNG food, but we all made our best attempt to eat the flubber-like sago paste.
What we were not able to eat was quickly past around to others.
The following morning we got the opportunity of see the process of making sago and also visited one of their gardens. While the girls continued to play with the children, Molly and I learned many new words in their ‘tok ples’ (language). Emily continued to have her new friend, Ari, by her side ready to play soccer. Before we left she gave him the soccer ball.
The gifts we received of learning their culture and some of their language was priceless to us. The people of PNG are so generous and kind. They were truly interested in becoming friends even though we would only be in their village for 24 hours. Their laughter and joy brought a continual smile to our faces.