We knew it was just a matter of time. We had hacked down the dense jungle undergrowth and cleared a nice plot for our “school” garden. We planted lots of sweet potato shoots as well as corn, beans, squash (called pumpkin here), sugar cane and taro. Despite the drought that has been affecting all of PNG, our garden was growing.
Then some pigs found a new feeding spot – our garden!! Pigs, along with gardens, are a big part of life in Amdu. And they often do not coexist in harmony!! Some people raise pigs and they sometimes fence them in. Most often the pigs just roam around, doing what pigs do best – rooting up the ground and making a huge mess in their effort to find some tasty morsels. Then there are the wild pigs that roam around too. So far in our observations, neither the wild pigs nor the “domesticated” ones really care whose garden they wreck.
When we first heard that the pigs had discovered our garden, everyone had an opinion about whose pigs they were. “It was definitely a wild pig.” “It must have been her pig – I saw it wandering around down that direction.” “I know it wasn’t my pig! Mine would never go way down there.” And so on.
No matter whose pig it was, we didn’t want all our hard work to go to waste. So, we decided to do what our Amdu friends do to keep pigs out – build a fence! The whole point of this “school” garden is to experience a little more of what life is really like for our Amdu friends so we asked some of them to help us and we all got to work.
While our garden is now safe from pigs, there are plenty of other rodents and bugs that no fence will keep out! And as we referenced above, PNG has been experiencing the worst drought in almost 20 years. Gardens are drying up and food (which is already a lot of work to grow) is becoming more scarce for our Amdu friends. It doesn’t seem like the drought is as bad in Amdu as in some other places, but it still makes life much more difficult for our friends who rely almost totally on what they can grow in their gardens.
Please pray for sufficient rain. And pray for us as we continue to discover and seek to understand the culture and worldview of the Amdu people.
*The events in this post happened back in September, but we are just posting it now because we are currently in town with internet access and could include more pictures.*