Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How things are done

Take a look at the packaging on many PNG products, and you will realize that the majority of Papua New Guineans still live in fairly remote, rural settings, without all the modern conveniences available in or near cities. Even here in Ukarumpa, many of our Papua New Guinean employees will still cook their meals outside in a special cookhouse over a fire, because they don’t want to pay for the electricity or gas that would be needed to cook in their kitchens.

For example, a package of sausages gives instructions for four different ways to prepare them, including boiling, frying, grilling, or putting them on top of a wire grate over a fire. Likewise, a package of rice includes the following cooking instructions:

  1. measure rice and put into pot
  2. measure water and put into pot – one cup rice to two cups water
  3. add a tsp of salt
  4. cook the pot of rice over a big fire, until it boils, then reduce the fire until it stops boiling.
  5. Reduce the fire even more and allow to heat until the water dries up
  6. remove pot from fire
  7. “kaikai wantaim gutpela abus” (literally – ‘eat with some good animal meat”)

Our friend Joy, the literacy worker, is currently out in the village. She requested that I gather a few things to send out to her on the next flight that will be going through that area. This included some application forms for a Bible College in the area. I found that a few of the questions on the application were ones you would never think to ask in America:

“Do you have more than one wife/husband, or have you ever had more than one wife/husband?”

“Have you finished paying the bride price in full?”

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