Friday, March 20, 2009

Village Living Questions

We have put together some answers to some of the questions we have heard from some of you.  Let us know if you have any more questions.


Q: What was the weather like?

A: Very hot!  It was in the 90s most of the time and very humid.  Most people try to avoid working or being in the sun between 12 and 1.  There were a few really big downpours.  We were officially in the dry season while we were there so it was mostly hot and dry.


Q: What is a Was family?

A: A Was family is a family that looks after us or watches out for us.  Our Was papa and mama were about 30 and had 2 young boys and were great hosts for us.  If anything would have happened to us while we were staying with them it would have brought them and the village a lot of shame so they really looked after us.


Q: How did the people react to us?

A: They were thrilled that we would want to come live with them and learn to speak their language.  They loved to sit around and talk for hours with us.  They had lots of visitors stop by to look at us.  We were quite the spectacle.   


Q: Did you see any birds without feathers?

A: Just the chicken that they killed and fed us for dinner.  The kids were shocked to watch a 10 year old boy wring its neck.


Q: What was the hardest part of village living?

A: Making sure we had enough water to drink was a lot of work.  We had a 5 and 7 gallon plastic bucket that we use to fill up with water from a spring.  We would then pump the water through a small filter that we bought at REI.  Communication was also a big challenge.  There are lots of cultural cues that we didn’t always pick up on or understand.


Q: Did you ever feel in danger while you were there?

A: Not really, our was family worried about us a lot.  If they saw we were going to the outhouse after dark one of the ladies would follow us at a distance.  We think they were afraid we would get lost in the dark. 


Q: What kinds of unusual animals did you see? 

A: We saw lots of interesting birds.  Our village had a pet parrot named Bobo.  He would imitate a lot of things (crying, laughing, coughing).  When we first got there Jessica had a cold and would cough a lot so he would imitate her.  For some reason he decided he didn’t like one of the boys in our village and would always chase him when he saw him. We also saw a white bird with a large beak.  Our Was family gave us some feathers from a bird of paradise that they had shot.  They use these feather to make headdresses for when they do their traditional dances.  The family owned water buffalo and 2 got loose and ran right by our house!


Q: What did you spend most of your time doing?

A: In the PNG culture people spend a lot of time sitting around and telling stories.  After sunset there is not much to do except sit and talk.  They were really curious about us and loved hearing about America.  We brought pictures from home and they wanted us to tell stories about all of them.  One picture that generated the most conversation was of Paul and his brother standing in front of Mt. Rushmore.  They couldn’t believe that someone would create such a big monument.  Laura spent a lot of time washing clothes and dishes in the river and cooking over the fire.  Living there was hard a tiring work.  The kids swam several times a day and played marbles and Uno.


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