Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Translation committee meeting

We had the first meeting of the Teop Translation Committee in July. We were pleased with the attendance, and we were able to get an Executive Committee elected. It was quite interesting to watch how the meeting progressed. People who just happened to be going through the village were called over and added to the committee, including one man who got chosen to be the secretary!

Here’s a photo of the meeting in progress:

After the meeting, we had a lunch for everyone present. I now have a special dish that I cook to contribute to these meals. I’m not sure what to call it – tin meat coconut curry rice maybe. It’s in the purple-blue bowl on the right, next to the big bowl of plain rice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ABG Day celebrations

ABG stands for ‘Autonomous Bougainville Government’, and on 15 June the celebrated the anniversary of when the ABG first started in 2005. It was a very ceremonious occasion, with the Governor General of PNG coming, and there’s a lot of protocol involved with that.

Sir Michael Ogio, GG of PNG, and in the background, spectators with their cameras out, and people dressed up ready to perform traditional dances.

Have I mentioned that Sir Michael Ogio is a Teop speaker from the inland dialect? I have met his relatives and visited his village.

Here he is giving his speech:

The President of the ABG, Chief John Momis, was also present and gave a speech. This is a picture of him:

Three flags flying – PNG flag, Bougainville flag, PNG royal flag (flown to signify the presence of the GG):

A traditional dance group. I forget where this group was from. Maybe Central or South Bougainville.

A female dance group from the Carterets Islands.

Men from Mortlock Atoll. Their items are always a real hit as they are so different from what the other groups in Bougainville do. It reminds me of the Maori Haka dance, but it is different. Its popularity draws the crowd in closer to get a good look, as you can see in the background.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pulling our canoe through the bush

Our canoe was being carved in the bush where the canoe-tree was felled. Since it was in the bush, it didn’t get worked on daily, but it got to the stage where enough had been carved and it was ready to be taken to Teop Island for further work.

We, and a bunch of men went to drag it out. They attached a rope to it, and everyone got on the end of the rope and pulled, with one man at the other end of the canoe pushing.

Here we are pulling the canoe. You can just see me near the front if you can recognise my clothes.

Some more photos of the men pulling the canoe after I stopped.

The men having a brief break – it’s exhausting work, running through the bush pulling a canoe!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oops! I cut my leg

The people in the village are often reluctant to let me use a knife, telling me that I might cut my leg or arm, but I usually don’t listen and use them anyway. Then they tell me that I’m a rebel.

Well their prediction finally came true – I cut my leg. This is the story of how it happened…

We went to take our new canoe from the bush to the water, so that it could go across to the island and continue to be carved. It’s easier to drag the canoe over ground if you lay some sticks along the path to slide it over, so we were cutting branches to make runners.

Mostly we were cutting coconut branches that were lying on the ground and I was impressed with my accuracy, hitting the same spot regularly and not hitting it all over the place. One time we came across some thick green upright stalks which were going to make good runners, so we cut some of them, and when I did my second one, the swing of the knife continued towards my leg.

(A cluster of bush knives – mine is the shiny new looking one with a short blade. They tell me that if I had one with a long blade, I wouldn’t have cut my leg.)

It felt like it just brushed my leg, but it made a cut which started bleeding, so I told my village mum (Iaa) who was with me. She told me off for using the knife because she was concerned for me, and then she found a leaf in the bush, scrunched it up and put it on my cut. This leaf is good for stopping bleeding. Then I was horrified to see Iaa take her knife to her laplap (wrap around skirt) and cut off a strip, which she then used to tie around my cut to hold the leaf on and to put pressure on the cut to stop the bleeding.

Straight after that, the canoe was ready to be pulled. Iaa had told me, “Now you can’t pull the canoe because you’ve cut your leg.” But I was disobedient and pulled the canoe for the first 100 metres. Then my makeshift bandage fell to my ankle, so Iaa had to fix it up again and then I didn’t do any more pulling and we made our way back to the village.

Then I got the next bout of bush medicine – a shoot of wild taro, heated up on the fire and the hot liquid squeezed out of it and onto my cut. Ouch! It was to help dry up the cut and prevent infection.

Putting a brave face on:

And here’s a close-up of the cut – gaping open. (These two photos were of the second treatment with the wild taro shoot later in the day).

Then I realised that my whole body felt a bit weak and strange and I felt sleepy. I certainly didn’t feel normal for a while and I had a lie down. Maybe it was a very mild form of shock.

The next day, we got the nurse who lives in the village to have a look at my cut, and she made a butterfly strip from my medical tape and put it on. It really held the skin together a lot better, as it was gaping open. I also had a bit of an audience when the nurse came over – a 5 year old, a 7 year old, a 15 year old and a few others; I don’t mind that though.

Thanks to all the good, loving care that I and my cut received, the cut didn’t get infected and is now healing well.