Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ok, all you stalkers.
You can't just go living off my crappy story telling without giving anything back. 1 comment per post is hardly good stats. Emma you are streaks ahead of the field leaving 2 comments. (Thanks for pics btw, love em.) Come on people! Start putting in or you wont be invited to the tea party....

Also if you do decide you can manage a comment please don't use our names. It is a public page and although there are lots of pics, i'd prefer to keep our names off the page. :p

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today we packed the car and went for a Sunday drive. About 75 minutes away, is the little town of Kainantu, up the mountain range at 1600m. On a Sunday there is a hotel up there that does a BBQ lunch, the town is also well known for the produce at the local market. After about 45 minutes of winding up the hill the country side opens out revealing hundreds of market gardens, some built on the side of the road, some built on the edge of a cliff.


All the way along are women carrying their produce to market, or their purchases home in their bilums, which they hang on their backs taking the weight with their heads. We saw many men carrying an axe while a woman followed behind with a huge pile of wood on her head! It seems feminism hasn’t reached PNG…..

First stop was the amazing Yonki hydroelectric Dam, which powers Lae, Madang and the surrounding highlands. The amount of water flowing through here was huge. Not sure of figures, but I certainly didn’t want to fall in!

Next stop was the Kainantu Cultural centre. A great little find in the middle of nowhere. The story goes that an expat taught the people of the village how to make pottery, spin wool and make rugs. You can stop into the centre and buy all sorts of local wares, mainly pottery. I got a gorgeous water jug, two vases and a rug for the floor.

The building itself was pretty amazing too, all the posts were carved timber.

This is the main street, we were going to stop at k-mart but it isn’t open on a Sunday. ;)

Then it was off to lunch at the hotel. $30kina ($12 Au) gets you a big T-bone steak, half a chook, mixed grill fresh salads and chips. The kids were kept well entertained with a swing and some furry residents. The lodge keeps tree Kangaroos, a pidgin talking cockatoo and a wallaby. Not sure where the wallaby came from?! The conditions aren’t the best, and made me a bit sad, but I guess they are at least well fed and aren’t food themselves.....

Outdoor BBQ and tables.

The cocky says lots of things, like “hello cocky, bye, dance for kaikai (food) “ and a few other pidgin things I didn’t understand.

After lunch we headed to the market to see what we could find. I got some tomatoes (rare find!) broccoli, potatoes, sweet potato, pawpaw, avocado, passionfruit, pineapples, beans, something that looks like pakchoy and bananas. Not a bad haul. Passed at the chickens feet and heads though?! Blergh. (They are in the pot, the little bags have peanuts in them) I spent about $15 kina ($6 Au)

I asked if I could take a picture each time and people are generally very excited that you want to take their photo and yell ‘take one more mrs”. So I took plenty just to make their day!

Here are my purchases....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Local tucker

Well today i cooked some local tucker. I asked Janet what she would like for lunch and this was her choice! She gave me a cooking lesson. I know it may seem unthinkable, but as it is a staple around here i thought i should give it ago......... Yup, i ate meat in a can, corned beef to be exact. After my year ten experience with SPAM on a hiking camp, i vowed never to eat meat in a can again. But yanno, it wasn't too bad. It did feel a little like i was eating cat food, but other than that the taste wasn't too bad. I fried it up with some choko leaves, garlic, onion a few tomatoes and served it on rice.
The choko leaves look like vine leaves, and are a similar texture, although they cook quite well and are not too tough. It is used in the same way as spinach is. For a bunch similar size to the one on the left i pay 20 toea, about 8c. The corned beef was $8 kina, $au 3.20.

And what did the kids think?

Pretty happy i'd say!

Although a little tired........

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This is Rita. She is the house Meri from next door and often drops in for one reason or another. She speaks excellent english so helps to translate between Janet and i! She made this Bilum for LMS for her birthday, and don't they both look pleased about it!

Bilum's are made and used as purses as well as market and shopping bags. They are not exclusively for women and you often see men with a bilum around their neck. This Bilum has the pattern that is reserved for 'boss man'. But it is acceptable for the wife of the boss and his off spring to sport it! Rita is making on for LL and then one for myself. She insists they are a gift and wont take money but i negotiated to pay for the materials so i gave her 5 kina, which is about $2 to cover the yarn. The wages here are very poor, although the nationals that work for this company are paid higher than most others. They earn about 5 dollars a day.

Rita told me the story of her first son. When she was 15 she was walking in her village and came across a woman who was being beaten. She was pregnant and her family were unhappy about it, they were so poor they couldn't afford to feed another mouth. Their intention was to kill her by hanging her. Rita stopped them and cut the rope down. She told them she would take the woman to her home and her family would look after her and take the baby. So when the woman had the baby Rita's family gave her some money and the woman left, leaving behind a baby boy for Rita to care for. As she had no breast milk, every morning she would climb the coconut tree for a green coconut and feed the baby the fresh coconut milk. I still can't believe the story, she is a pretty amazing lady. She is now married and they have 2 more boys, also adopted. The boys are grown and are now all off at boarding school. Pretty much all of Rita and her husbands wages go to paying the school fees, and they scrape by with whatever they have left. Schooling here is expensive and only those with money can afford it, even then, families often go without food to ensure they can pay the fees.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcome to New Guinea

Well, here it is, a blog about us. I often wonder who would be interested in reading about the ins and outs of our life, but i guess that's the bonus of a blog, no annoying group emails in your inbox, you can tune in if you like, or not!

Before i begin i need to warn you........i was born with some kind of connection missing between my brand and my fingers. I don't seem to have any problems with talking, but when it comes to the written word, my skills are somewhat lacking. So bear with me and if you have a problem with me spelling or gramma, tune out! (Mum..... stop slapping your forehead and thinking of all that wasted money, i speak proper english, awright?)

Two weeks ago, Tarzan (husband), Jane (that's me) and two cheeky monkeys moved to rural Papua New Guinea. The monkeys are both of the female variety, the eldest (Lucy Lu- LL) is two and a half, the baby, (Little miss Sunshine- LMS) turned 1 last week. Tarzan has a job with a big Agricultural company over here.

We are living in a big, 4 bedroom house up on stilts. (Pics here
) Queensland style, lots of louvered glass windows. The houses are on stilts for a few reasons, 3 meters of rain a year is a pretty good reason! It is also for cooling, and earthquakes. Apparently the houses are designed to 'move' in the event of an earthquake. Not feeling overly excited about the that, hoping the rumor is true and house just wobbles on it's big stilts. We have a huge garden with lots of flowers, bananas, pawpaw, coconuts and many root vegetables which i am yet to identify. The house is in a guarded compound, but not like the compounds in the cities. We are on about 50 acres with a golf course, swimming pool, social club and lots of room. It is safe to wander around the compound, but outside the gates, you need to be cautious.

Fortunately i don't have to tend to the massive garden or clean the house, as most of know, housekeeping is not my forte! So i am loving the help, we have a full time 'house meri' and a 'garden man', who are currently having a battle of wills, but that is a whole other story. Our house meri, Janet is an older lady who has been working here for 8 years. She speaks a little english but we spend morning coffee and afternoon coffee working on my pidgin. "Kiau bilong kakaruk" which translates to............ egg. Well literally egg from a chook. But i am finding most things are a bit long winded. "liklik pikkanini meri bilong me, name bilong em Lucylu" : My daughters name is Lucylu.
She is forever telling me to leave the kids with her and go. Not sure where i'd go, but it's nice that she likes the kids. They are warming to her, and LL has pretty quickly discovered who to ask when mum says no! LMS is happy for Janet to rock her to sleep if she is upset. I don't mind rocking my baby to sleep, especially when there is someone there to help me! ;)

The power is not very reliable and we are averaging a blackout every 2 days. I think the washing machine has already blown up from a power surge.

Shopping is interesting, but i will leave that for another day. But i have certainly had to modify my cooking habits. I have so many stories to tell and i've only been here 2 weeks! If nothing else, this will be a good record of our time here.

Tarzan is loving his job, facing many challenges, not only with the demanding job but all the problems that come with language barriers and cultural differences. He leaves at 6.30am but is home at about 5.30 which is a dream for us. Farmers are rarely home before the sun goes down, so it's nice to have him here to help with the night time chaos....... i mean..... routine.

Well that's it for now, my freshly washed and ironed sheets are calling me. I told Janet ironing them was unnecessary but she insisted?!