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

Malaria or Poison?

My mind is all over the place today, the new drugs Quinine have some horrible side effects… Syd (my boss) popped around last night to see how I was, and he hooked me up with an appointment this morning with Dr Ma, who is the Chef de Mission for the PNG Paraolympic team and a very nice chinese doctor. His clinic looks bloody dodgy as hell, and when you go in, the ladies inside open the door (from the inside) sit you down, give you a thermometer to stick under you arm, get you to write your name and date of birth on a piece of paper – and then the good Dr Ma rushes through and grabs you. I needed my camera – as it was just a surreal moment for me, but of course -left that at home 🙂

Dr Ma was fantastic, and when I went through all the drugs that I was or had been taking – he shook his head “too much” he said.

We went through his book, symptoms etc – and we both agreed that the drugs were screwing with me and I am just getting poisoned by too many drugs. He then got two different rapid malaria test kits and run both tests – both of which came out negative. wtf!?! negative.

Either the quinine has done it’s job within 24hours, or I have just been getting poisoned by the hospital. The RDT (rapid kit) only detects a certain amount of parasite levels, so it’s possible that the malaria count has dropped below the threshold which gives a negative result. Either way – fucks knows, I have no idea…

Dr Ma wants me off the meds straight away – and boy, and I happy to oblige, I can’t cope with this anymore – it’s too hard. Just need to flush my system out – so Jacinta is going to put me through the liver cleansing diet.

I thought I would post a few photo’s, one of the quinine jabs from yesterday, a picture of me today (having lost now about 15kg since arriving in PNG), my medical bills for the past 2months, and the RDT kit.

For those of you back in NZ that know me – yes, that is me… Wish I did the Calder Stewart biggest loser competition 😉 no way I would have lost that… It’s too embarassing doing the before and after photos, but lets just say I can’t wear my old pants without them falling to the floor. lost over 10cm from my waist and 3cm neck, I haven’t checked any other sizes as those are the easy ones (trouser size and shirt size).

Maybe a weekend in Cairns might have to be on the cards…

Malaria – round 4

So today, went back to the hospital to have yet another blood test, and yet again – still have both falciparum and vivax malaria, and the counts have doubled yet again.

Yup – I am now sick of being sick!!

So, the doctor then put me on to one of the senior consultants in the hospital, who said that he had never met a caucasian with the level of resistance to the medication as I have.  He said that quite often Papua New Guineans are resistant…  yeah well – that made me feel 100% better…

The next treatment is a 7 day course of Quinine – the loading dose of 20ml (yes 20ml!!!) via injection – 10ml in each ass cheek.  holy shit.  Even the nurse went back to the doctor to confirm the dosage.. 20ml doesn’t sound much, but trust me – it is a freaking huge amount..

Jacinta took me back to work – and I grabbed a muffin as I have to keep the blood sugars up.  Got settled in, then rode the lift to our other office where I ended up almost passing out on the ground.  I was a mess, the doctor and nurse advised that I would have hearing loss as a side effect, but they didn’t tell me about the dizzyness, vertigo, fell like I want to die feeling…

So I got a lift home, where it has taken an hour or so to feel like I could actually walk somewhere – but I can barely hear..  and in a few hours, I need to take the 2nd round of drugs.  every 8 hours for 7 days, with a bit more fancidar thrown in on the 3rd day…

I am now down to a very slight (for me) 86kg, so the good thing is – I don’t have far to go for my target 80kg.  When I arrived in PNG 6 months ago – I was hovering at 100 kilo’s, so needless to say – most of my clothes don’t fit anymore 🙂

till next time 🙂

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