This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.
Dark faces with bright red mouths
Sitting on the footpath, chatting in Pidgin or Motu
Feels like they’re staring, so unfamiliar
Confronting to a newcomer at first.
Mass is not the same when kneeling among the buai spit
Blood red globs on the cement floor
Saturday night the cinema, Sunday morning the church.
Going shopping takes on a new flavour
The ladies (meris) sit on the ground at Boroko
Bags of buai and lime beside them to sell
Red on the footpath, red on their lips.
Boroko for childcare, pre-school and primary school
Santa on a fire engine
International days at Boroko East school
Children of all colours and ethnicities
Camphorwood chests and desks, designer shoes (for some)
Swiss chocolates for Easter and the doctor’s surgery
The city’s single traffic light – which often goes out
On weekends we fetch our Aussie papers
Freshly and expensively delivered from Down South
Staying in touch with our other home.
Explanatory note: Boroko is a suburb of Port Moresby, capital of PNG. A hub for shopping, restaurants and government housing for public servants.
Buai – betel nut which when mixed with lime give people a high and turn their mouths red.
Balus – an aircraft. Papua New Guinea’s very limited road network and challenging terrain means that the aircraft is necessary and dominant – and sometimes dangerous.
Bilum – a string bag used for carrying anything from sweet potato to babies. The handle goes on the head, across the forehead and the body of the bag lies down the woman’s back (and yes, it’s always a woman when carrying a load).