Today is the 37th day of Papua New Guinea’s independence. Around Port Moresby and indeed around the country people are celebrating the independent birth of this very young (but old) nation. I think of a modern day PNG as one that is still trying to find it’s feet between keeping traditional roots and embracing modernism – and I think that over time this balance will come naturally to future generations. The most amazing thing about PNG is the countries ability to shine on this weekend, everyone is wearing PNG colours, flags are everywhere, and traditional garb is a plenty – it is a wonder to behold. Jacinta was talking today about this being the best time for family to come visit us here. The weather is great, the people are embracing, and the festivities are something else.
This morning we started the day by having a nice breakfast with friends at the Yachty, they had a market setup and at 10:30am a sing sing group put on a fantastic performance in the hot sun. Coming home to put the littlest to bed for a quick sleep, and then we are off to a BBQ overlooking Ela Beach for the afternoon. Yesterday, I was approached via twitter to do a radio interview back in NZ, so that is on tonight at 7:30pm PNG time (10:30pm NZ time). It’s certainly been a very busy 3 days and its not over yet..
I took a couple of photos at the Yacht Club this morning. One of Xaria putting on her best impression of a little warrior princess, and of course – I had to take a photo of the waitresses in their traditional attire. It’s not often you get served by partially naked young ladies – and it is awesome to see them out and about without the slightest hint of embarrassment, and of course – everybody here treats the girls with the utmost respect.
Here is the day in pictures so far 🙂
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.
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) 🙂