Friday, August 7, 2009

A few days in paradise

My visit to the Teop language group was like a few days at a tropical paradise, and in comparison to other villages, it was luxury too! We had a modern house to live in and a room each with a foam mattress, pillows and mosquito nets provided. There was tables and chairs to sit at too, so it was very comfortable and we had million dollar views. (Our house is shown in one of the pictures above).
We were staying on the mainland of Bougainville, but one day we went and visited the island across from us, where there is also a village. We were able to walk across during a low tide, and in the afternoon we took a canoe back. (See one of the pictures above for a view of the mainland from the island).
People from the island go to their gardens or school on the mainland during the day, and they return to their village via canoe in the afternoon, so this was a good time to go for a walk along the beach to the 'canoe terminus' and socialise with the people. I enjoyed spending time with the people showing them my photos and learning some of the Teop language. (One of the photos above is of me with some of these people. They are so dark that for their faces to look good in a photo, the camera has to over-expose my face. I am not really as white as the photo shows!).
Our toilet didn't smell because it wasn't a pit, it was the ocean! We went into the mangroves when the water was low, but you had to watch for the bits sticking up from the ground. Overnight the tide came in and washed everything away. (See one of the pictures above which shows our toilet spot).The only concern was privacy, there was no little hut to hide you!
The people were very nice and the language was very strong, which was encouraging. The little children spoke the language a lot and parents spoke to their children in Teop too. In some parts of PNG, parents are using Tok Pisin to speak to their children, so the children grow up speaking Tok Pisin and the language gradually disappears.
I cannot yet say whether I will be working with the Teop language group. It all depends on what what God's will is and also the thoughts of my future team-mate. I think it would be a good option though.

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