Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mudmen

We were occupied. Busy. The kind of busy that doesnt leave room for interruption or disturbance. Deep in concentration, trance like - watching an impromptu performance of local villagers.Chanting, stomping and rattling their bits and bobs to keep us glued like little children at a circus.
This is the scene that had us captivated.
and then I felt or rather sensed, a prickling of my skin on the back of my shoulders. The whole group of us had the same feeling as we all simultaneously turned around to see the very boney finger of an Asaro Mudman beckoning us, ever so quietly to follow him and his grey friends.

They were completely silent yet completely captivating. We followed without question to the ceremony that we were to officiate at. Their cat like moves and bizarre masks are really unusual.

The Asaro Mudmen are from the Asaro River in the Eastern Highlands of PNG outside the town of Goroka.

Close up, it brings back memories of big nights on the drink in Townsville.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One step at a time leads to a house

I have been AWOL, I know, for about 2 weeks. Great reason though...our biggest big boss (bbb) in the whole wide world has been for a 5 day visit to PNG. It was magnificent but far too busy. I feel like my brain is slowing returning to its normal self. After working 7 day weeks since Christmas, I feel its impossible to switch off completely. It was electrifying meeting important folks like the PM and then travelling in our own chartered jet to see other parts of PNG. The upside was our bbb is a delightful human being, very clever and so easy to get along with. He made a difference in such a short time.

Anyway, back in real life, its been like swimming in syrup with the house. While the bbb was here we were kicked out of our temporary apartment and luckily found another much smaller, temporary room above a roudy bar. But we are very grateful to have accomodation.

Our house was to be ready on the 7th - it was, mostly. Except there are no bathrooms and no bedrooms as these are being extensively renovated. You would have thought letting us know this would have been high on someone's list...but alas, not.

The house has the most beautiful orchids. Someone really loved the garden once.

The good news is that Rusty the cat made his journey up from Oz and is all well. Seems to like the life of a jetsetter and is settling in well.

But now to a different house - PNGs National Parliament Haus. We visited as part of our bbb's visit. I was excited to see the architecture but I didn't expected to feel heart stoppingly in awe of the place. The inner chamber, which I couldnt photograph, has timber carving and tapa cloth that is just too beautiful to describe. Why isnt that I felt such a connection for a building, raw materials that are not even connected to my home of Australia? As I looked on the craftsmanship and beauty I felt like the walls could talk, wrapping me up in a show of PNG. It took me by surprise, still does, that I should feel so humbled by another country's national building.