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.
Massed warriors gather
in the Goroka showground
Highland tribes with spears, arrows and axes
Feathers, beads, and arse gras[i]
Pig grease and smoke blend together
Chanel No 5 it’s not
But it is unforgettable even down the years.
Massive sing-sings with dense crowds
Dance with black mud to their ankles
Rhythmic chanting and ululations
The symphony of kundus[ii] of all sizes.
Wahgis with long skirts
beat time with their axe-heads
Huli Wigmen, Mudmen from Asaro
Fire-pot men from Fore
Watabung women -beads from Job’s tears.
Thousands in one space lead to
Deployment of tear gas
Fences are trampled as the crowds disperse.
Our children take it all in
The covert threats absorbed
Released in screams and hysterics
At a Maori welcome in Rotorua.
hamamas tru – enjoy
hambak – annoy or humbug
han bilong diwai – branch of tree
harim – listen
[i] A bunch of leaves stuck into a type of belt which covers a man’s backside (or front).
[ii] A kundu is a drum