Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Papua New Guinea is known for it's wonderful, rich coffee. Some of the best coffee to pass through my lips has been PNG coffee - or copi for my Papua New Guinean friends. And it isn't the same as the Starbucks variety. Starbucks is less rich and earthy. PNG coffee is rich, complex with a wonderful finish.

If you come to my house you will also find a plethora of wood carvings, baskets and woven bags laying around. 'Bilum' bags are woven by the women of PNG and are used to carry everything from babies to kaukau - sweet potatoes to you.

After speaking to my husband about what kinds of things I should bring back this visit, we both agreed we didn't need anymore baskets or wood carvings - unless I find something equally as amazing as the puk puk bowl or snake/pukpuk cane. Oh yeh, pukpuk means crocodile in Tok Pisin.

One of the many gifts we brought back from PNG 19 years ago was the infamous penis gourd. Somehow, after distributing these priceless, one-of-a-kind gifts to our family and friends, our hands were empty. It is the one memory of PNG that is missing from our home. This is something I hope to remedy upon my return.

I plan to purchase around 20 of these items while in PNG. Not only for myself, but my co-workers and friends who really don't know what owning one is like.

This picture was taken by my dear friend, Luke Davidson. While he and his family lived across the border of PNG in Irian Jaya, they ran into a colorful group of people. It appears that this is some kind of welcome. I don't remember seeing a penis gourd this large in PNG. But I am sure gona be on the look out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Recently I found out that the woman who was my 'house meri' when we lived in PNG still resides in Ukarumpa.

In fact, she works at the SIL Guest House where Rhett, Todd and I will be staying for our 5 days in Ukarumpa.

Irame is a wonderful woman. She worked a couple days a week for me. Replacing her when we moved back to the states proved to be impossible. Three months after moving to upstate New York my husband asked when I planned to clean the bathroom.

Irame had a darling daughter named Edelweiss. My friend, Mary Lou Walker, told me that Edelweiss works in the finance office at SIL.

I am so excited to have this opportunity to reconnect, revisit, relive so many wonderful memories. The sites, the smells, the food, the people: there's nothing like Papua New Guinea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

This isn't Kansas anymore Toto!

If you think that the ways of PNG are the same as traveling just about anywhere else, you will soon find out that this assumption is false.

Papua New Guinea is unlike any other third world country I have ever been to.

Granted, the only other 3rd world country that I have been to is Mauritania, but I can say with great confidence that Mauritania has a leg up on PNG. At least in my opinion.

That said, I must clarify that this statement is not meant to sound contrary or negative. In fact, I say this with great delight! Papua New Guinea is a wonderful place. For the most part the people are warm and caring.

Travel is slower, the pace creeps along. Days are long due to the location in conjunction to the equator. The growing season is 365 days. While the blossoms are starting to appear ripened fruit is available to harvest....all on the same plant!

For those wanting to return to the simpler way of life, PNG is for you!

I am looking forward to three weeks of navigating a different flow of life.