Sunday, October 31, 2010

Carnival

Here in Papua New Guinea we don’t celebrate Halloween. However, every year on the last Saturday in October the 7th-12th graders host Carnival at the High School. Carnival is a fundraiser – half of the proceeds go towards a charity that the students elect (this year it is for a school of the blind) and half goes towards the school. The students and parents put a lot of work into it, and it’s a highlight of the year, especially for families with small children.

This year the theme was Country Fair, and so all the students were dressed in Western style and the High School campus was decorated accordingly. For adults, the main attraction at Carnival is the food. (Remember, we have very few opportunities to eat out in Ukarumpa). There are different booths selling barbecue, pizza, coffee, desserts, ice cream and donuts. This year a new booth was the Fry Daddy, with delicious fried food like chicken, fruit fritters, and funnel cakes – yum!

For the kids there is face painting…


A dunk tank (usually it’s the teachers that they get to dunk)…


A strength hammer…


An auction…


And of course, perhaps the most famous Carnival institution – the Ferris Wheel (which is hand-powered by High School boys)


Other activities included pony rides, a maze, a beauty salon, and the Jail (you can pay to have the high school boys track down your friends and have them thrown into jail for a specified amount of time.) Brian also spent an hour driving a tractor and trailer around center for the hayride. He told me he got some pretty funny looks from the Papua New Guineans that they passed, who were thinking “what on earth are those weird white skins up to now?”

Brian and I were talking as we ate our funnel cakes and remembering the time that a national friend of ours told us that he was glad that he wasn’t a white skin “because they don’t have culture.” Sure, we don’t dress up in feathered headdresses and body paint to do traditional dances like our national friends do, but we do have our own culture, and the Carnival is a good example.


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