Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making postaono

I have tried making village foods a few times while I’ve been in Australia, with varying degrees of success, but until now I hadn’t tried making postaono, mainly due to not being able to buy cassava.

I found some frozen grated cassava in a shop recently and bought it, saving me the work of having to grate the cassava myself too, but since I can’t find fresh cassava I can’t do that anyway.

I have helped with the various stages of postaono in the village, but I’ve never made it from start to finish, so I wasn’t quite sure on a few things and asked some of our village aunts on the phone for their advice over the last week or so.

So today was the day for making postaono. I got my ingredients together as shown below: frozen grated cassava (defrosted), tinned coconut cream (because fresh coconuts in Australia are rubbish) and a couple of bananas.

I cut open the packets of grated cassava and put them in the bowl.

Then I put in the coconut cream. This was the part that I felt most uncertain about. The coconut cream to cassava ratio is usually judged by eye, and I haven’t seen it often enough to judge the right consistency for myself. I decided to use the whole tin. This is the cassava with the cream mixed in:

Next I spread it onto a tray and spread mashed banana onto half of it.

Then I put more cassava on top of the banana and filled the tray.

Covered in aluminium foil and put it in the oven.

When it started to dry up on the top I took it out of the oven (maybe it needed more coconut cream, or maybe the covering should have been touching the cassava.

And here are two pieces of postaono – banana postaono on the left and postaono without banana on the right. Now you know what postaono is too!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Change and transition

I have a big change coming up in my life again: leaving Australia and returning to PNG on 16 November. With change comes transition, and although the change doesn’t happen yet for a couple of months, my mind has entered the transition phase – I know there is a big change coming up, and it is on my mind a lot. I’m at the stage where I’m feeling a bit uneasy and apprehensive, even though I’ve been looking forward to going back for a long time and I’m still keen to be back there.

Many things and ways of doing things (like shopping even) will be different. It is a really huge change. Nearly everything will be different: environment, climate, people, food, lifestyle. The good thing is that I am not going into the unknown – I know the changes that I am facing, so hopefully that will help.

Since it is only 2 months until I go, I’m also feeling the time pressure – so much to do, yet so little time to do it in! But sometimes I have difficulty identifying what the ‘so much’ is that I have to do.

It is the same with returning to Australia. Even though I am familiar with Australia, when I return after having lived in Bougainville, PNG, I go through a transition process before and after arriving.

I think that the transition back to Australia this time lasted about 4-6 months before I started feeling more comfortable. The first month I was down a lot (a lot of grief), then in the following months it was a mixture of feeling up and down. After about 4 months I started feeling happy more often and feeling down less often, and my contentment with being in Australia continued to gradually increase over the months. Saying that however, I have never stopped looking forward to going back to the village either.

I don’t find transition easy – I don’t know if anyone does, but with this explanation in mind, perhaps you can now better understand and pray about what I will be going through in the months ahead.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The hidden cactus garden at Singapore Airport

I had heard that Singapore airport has some outdoor garden areas within the airport grounds, and last time I went through Singapore airport (12 years ago) I didn’t see any trace of one, although I was aware of them. So this time I was determined to find one.

I went on one of the free internet computers there and I found out that the terminal I was in has a garden, and it is called the cactus garden. Then I went searching for it. I found a map which showed that it is upstairs, so I went upstairs and couldn’t find anything that looked like an outside garden. I asked a lady at a desk and she said that I needed to go back downstairs and find another upstairs section. I followed her directions and found myself in another upstairs area that still didn’t have a garden. I asked another person that was working in a restaurant there, but I couldn’t understand his English very well.

I went back downstairs and was beginning to think that maybe the cactus garden would continue to elude me. Then I saw a sign for a smoking area. It’s not a place I would normally seek out, but I thought that it would have to be an outdoor area, so maybe that’s where the garden is. I went upstairs again and finally found it! They only allow smoking in a small part of the garden, so I was able to wander through it without having to put up with nasty fumes.

I probably spent about half an hour searching for the garden, and only five minutes wandering through it! I would have liked to have spent more time there, but I needed to go back to the gate for boarding my plane. Anyway, after I went to all that effort, I hope you enjoy these photos I took there.

Me! Yes, I made it there and this is the proof!