We like going for walks and being in PNG doesn’t change that. Today we went for a walk over to where our friends Jara and Highlands live. We haven’t been over to visit for a very long time so had arranged to go over before we head to Port Moresby and then to Canada. Highlands came and met us at the centre and we crossed the highway and then headed to the river. Along the way we met a number of people we knew and even more that Highlands knew. In Canada when we go for a walk we’ll greet people with “hi, how are you?”. In PNG, when you are out for a walk you greet with a “moning” (morning) or “apinun” (ahpeenoon – afternoon) and then you say where you are going or what you are doing. So today we told people we were just rounding, going around and were going to go to Jara and Highlands. This was met with approval. We next crossed the river. I think it is the lowest I’ve seen it where we crossed. The deepest part came just over my knees. Before crossing, I cinched my string bag (bilum) up so that it wouldn’t get wet. I had my phone in a plastic bag in case I lost my footing and got wet. The river has a fairly good current and the rocks are slippery so I was very grateful for Highlands help in keeping my footing. Once on the other side we followed the foot path, past gardens and then up the hill to where Jara and Highlands live. In their village they live alongside family members. The footpath from the river is much improved. The community has put a lot of work into building it up and having drainage ditches on either side. Some of our coworkers with NTM have been involved in work days over where Jara and Highlands live and the main project they’ve been involved in is actually building a cement foot path! Eventually they want to do the footpath in cement all the way from the river and beyond their village.
Jara and Highlands are building a new house with metal support posts and “copper” (metal) siding and a “copper” roof. It was exciting to see how far they have come with building it.
From there we walked up to where their son Stensil has built his house. He is away at university but stays in the house when he is home on break and sometimes Jara and Highlands will go up and sleep there. It is a traditional house with rough cut wooding framing, woven bamboo walls and a pitpit (grass) roof. It is a right of passage for a young man to build his own house.
I love being over at Jara and Highlands – across the river and away from the highway. It was sunny and warm, but there was nice shade from trees and we crossed a brook at one point. We passed a little boy who had fallen asleep under a bush and a little guy getting bathed in the brook. It is quiet and peaceful across the river and the birds singing was a lovely sound track to our walk.