Sunday, April 12, 2009


There was one day spent in Bau between Lau and Saigara but we arrived so late on the boat and left so early for Saigara that all we really did was sleep.

From Bau we had a 2 hour boat ride up the river to Saigara. This is where the group built a school last year. Many people knew members from last year and asked about people who were missing. It was a very cool experience to see how that relationship and connection had lasted over the last year.

When we arrived in Bau we were "greeted" with threating screams. Those who had been to PNG before didn't think anything of it but us newbies had feelings of both confusion and fear. We could hear drumming and screaming. Then a man came charging out boats and threw a spear at us and then ran away. He came back a few times rubbing fruit on our faces, kicking up dirt on us and screaming right in our faces. As we moved forward there was a group playing on the drums and singing to welcome us.

I later learned more about this and how this type of welcome is a good thing and should make us feel welcome. The idea is that the village is proving that they know how and are capable of protecting their village but instead are choosing to not harm us and welcome us in.

This was the small group playing the drums and shells.

You can see the man in front who is all covered in black (a rock/mud/paint?) who was the one charging us.

We were to "challenge" them and allow them to welcome us into the village. We followed them in. Notice the headdresses-they were amazing. The cloth they are wearing on the waist is called a tappa. It is made from tree bark but somehow is very soft. Then is painted with various designs! You can see the boy on the side and the one in the back are making trumpet like sounds with shells.

Here is a video of the welcoming (sorry-there is no way to turn it the right way!):

We then went up to the school that was built last year. The kids all welcomed us with beaded necklaces and songs.

This song was sung to us and we all feel in love with the tune. When we were playing around the kids later in the day they kept trying to teach us the words (we got some) and then everyone in our group had the song stuck in our heads from the next 6 days before we returned to Saigara (and learned the words!).

This is the double classroom that was built last year.

and the inside...

This sign hung right in the doorway. The item in which you cannot kaikai (eat/chew) is beetle nut...the popular drug of choice in PNG. People chew on beetle nut all day (along with mustard root and lime powder) to gain a high. And yes....we need to remind the elementary kids (ages 6-10ish) that they cannot chew in school!

This is the guesthouse we stayed in. It was really nice!

and the bathroom (make sure you check for spiders first...just knowing where they are hanging out is good!)

The food in Saigara was the best. Their chef had attended culinary school somewhere and was a skilled chef! We ate lots of good things (though I cannot tell you what any of them were!)

And after a delicious was time to play! Tag was the game of choice...well, not tag as much as me attempting to get the kids. It is hard to run barefoot in the jungle! After a good game (in which I DID finally get them!)...what better place to rest than on a mossy rock right? This kiddo was my new buddy of the night!

After tag we played lots of cards too. We taught people how to play "Go Fish", "Uno" and "Set"! It was a blast!

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