Independence – Saturday

Today, we went out to Jack Pidik Park where we met up with Derrick, Jamin and family, and a whole bunch of very happy Papua New Guineans.  We wandered around for a while by ourselves until the boys turned up.  And were the centre of attention for a few camera’s as we were the only expats there at the time.  We even had a couple of local coppers come up and shake our hands.  If you are reading this – and saw us today, and said HI – thank you 🙂

We then caught up with our US mate Matt and his son Ty outside the Bisini Softball grounds hoping to see one of my team dancing in an East New Britain sing sing.  However the line was HUGE, the temp was hitting 34 and there were some boys getting a bit niggly in the queue, so we decided to head down to Ela Beach.  Unfortunately, the events at Ela Beach finished just as we arrived, so we headed out onto the beach for the kids to find starfish and play with some local kids.  Also instantaneously, a game of touch footy started up, and of course – I was there with my ever present Sony NEX-5N camera to try and get some nice shots.

We had an awesome day, topped off with Derrick coming home for a few beers, then I took him back to see his father in hospital in time for 5pm visiting hours.  Sadly, at 8pm Derrick rung me with the news his father had passed away.  So whilst you are reading this, and looking through the photo’s – I dedicate this series of photos to a visionary leader, from the mighty Sepik river who has raised a fantastic young man (as well as his other family).  Please spare a thought for those that have lost loved ones over the course of this 37th Independence Celebrations.


PNG Independence Day Celebrations – Ela Murray

Yesterday the older children took part in a singsing at school – Xaria did her’s at the liklik school on Wednesday. So I turned up with camera in hand to take photo’s. At the moment I am collating them – I took a few hundred, so I will do a gallery posting later tonight once I have everything organised. It was an amazing day – and the kids were bloody awesome. I was very proud of them all…

The day started with the PNG national anthem, then the pledge, then a parade of each region complete with flagbearer whom was dressed in traditional dress. Then the classes came out and danced. awesome – did I say that, – I’ll say it again.. AWESOME!

I then went back to work, where I was asked to dress up for our work celebrations. After checking out one of my collegues face paint and dress, I was told by one of his staff “that he was going to win”.. Of course, I replied “is he getting his kit off?”. Lol. So headed upstairs and had a choice of wearing a headdress from Momase, or representing Manus in full traditional dress (but no penis gourd). So of course, I took my kit off. Not only was I the only expat in full dress, I was also the only male – so all our staff had a great time taking my photo and cheering me on. As a prize for effort, the team gave me two bilum, very chuffed with my bilum :). And then later on, one of the guys from another team Herman, gave me a beautiful string basket/bag… I was honestly stunned.

A great day had by all and yes – here’s some photos (including one of me at work) 🙂

Ela Beach Craft Markets Port Moresby PNG July 2012

I purchased a new lens for my Sony NEX-5N camera in Thailand (55-210) makes it a little  easier to take photos at the markets as I don’t like standing there pretending to be a tourist…. 🙂

I did include a photo of Xaria with her new Bilum (string bag) that we bought from the markets.  Location: a little coffee trip to Duffy’s (our sanity coffee shop) 🙂

Bride Price

One of my team Billy, invited myself and the family to his paying back bride price ceremony at Elevala Villiage.  Sadly, Xavier had a birthday party to go to (in which he had lots of fun), so just me and the girls.

When we arrived Jacinta didn’t know that she would be part of the ceremony, and so off she went to get dressed up with the girls.  The ladies whipped up a dress for Xanthe in about 10 minutes, and it was time for the rain to start and the ceremony to begin 🙂

This part of bride price is the act of giving back to the families who gave to Billy’s bride price, the Motuan’s have a ledger that records the gifts, and it is the man’s responsibility to ensure he gives back in kind when that family’s son is doing his bride price.  I’m sure that there is much more to it than that – but that is what I gathered… The pole has traditional shell money, as well as K2 and K5 and lots of decoration, the girls carry the large denomination money – and recent bride prices have had over K100,000 gifted. A lot of money! Xaria was filmed by the local TV station EMTV whilst leaving the groom’s house – it really struck me how big the Bride Price ceremony is.

I was lucky enough to be able to give Billy’s father a pounamu pendant as a way of thanking him for the invitation to his home. And Derrick and Elias (two more of my team) were there to enjoy the special day as well – so that was very special. I do have some photos of the boys with a few beers under the belts, but promise that they will only get shown at work 😉

We were very honored to be invited, and stayed until 9pm enjoying Billy’s family and friends company – then left so that they could let their hair down and party hard (being Billy’s boss – I stifled the party a little). On the way out of the village – the whole place was in party mode, with lots of people wishing us well on the way out.

Needless to say – I am really at a loss for words – so here’s a whole heap of photos

Ela Beach Markets

Today was a cruisey day at the monthly Ela Beach Markets. Being the first one of the year – there were lots of people, although suprisingly – not as many sellers as last year. I took some photos, but before you get to those, I thoughtI had better do a really brief rundown about what is going on around the Bird family.

1. Malaria – just finished the last of my meds – blood test on Monday, so stay tuned to see if I am finally free of it… I have lost a lot of weight, and had a shit 2 months, but feel a lot better.

2. Xavier – turned 7 yesterday, so we are having a party here tomorrow. I am currently making that traditional kiwi classic (and invention) Pavlova. Hope it comes out better than the MKR kiwi pav – I think they must have used an aussie recipe…

3. Friendships – we have made some very good friends here, all of us starting our journey around the same time. What is cool about this, is that we discover the same things, share the horrible times, and enjoy the best times. Without other expat friends I think you are on a hiding to nothing here in POM.

4. Markets – Sunday PAU – enough said… awesome. next stop Malaro 🙂

5. Heat – hot, damn hot…

6. Potholes, or carholes, sometimes truckholes – I kid you not! And Port Moresby ones are tiny in comparision to Lae…

7. Crocodiles – a chappie outside the supermarket trying to sell one, at least a meter long, sadly didn’t have the camera. The kids wanted to take it home 🙂

8. Photo’s – here is a few from today 🙂 enjoy