Friday, July 3, 2009

"Red buai"

In PNG some people chew betelnut with 'daka' (a mustard/pepper) and lime and it gives them a bit of a high and a red mouth. If they just chew the nut by itself, it doesn't have the drug effect or give them a red mouth.

Here's a picture of a young person from my village living at Bunabun who has just eaten some betelnut.

When we did our shopping for the village, we saw some dried mango that we thought would be good to have and put on our muesli. I really don't know what we were thinking when we picked up the packet. I guess we didn't really look at it properly…

Does the colour of the mango in the packet above look like normal dried mango to you? I don't think so!

We discovered that this mango had this reddish-orange strange coating on it and when you eat it, it makes your mouth go red, just like when people chew betelnut!

We thought this was quite funny and Correna played a trick on the people by eating one of these mangoes to give her a red mouth and she was laughing lots too, so they thought she was high on 'red buai' (buai = betelnut in Tok Pisin).

We showed them the packet of mangoes that we had and we gave everyone a piece. They just thought it was so cool, and after that we frequently had people coming and asking us for some of our 'red buai'. It was heaps of fun, and they liked it too because their church denomination forbids people from chewing buai, so this was an acceptable pretend buai!

Here's a picture of me with my red mouth from the mango, looking as though my mouth is red from buai:

And one of the people attending the writer's workshop, sitting there doing some work, holding his 'red buai':

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