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.
However, today’s post comes from my husband’s recollections of his first home in the Territory of Papua New Guinea when he was just a small boy. His father was in charge of the high school and technical school, his mother a teacher in the Australian-curriculum school.
A small boy stands with his sister
Beside his dad in colonial whites
Framed by their bush material home.
Less than a decade since war ended here
An old Army Jeep under the house
The wartime road made of
Coconut trunks lying in mud
Be careful or a Land Rover
Will bog up to the wheel-well in mud.
Tropical nightfall brings flying foxes in many thousands
Heading for the food gardens
Taking an hour to pass overhead.
The gecko watches the evening nibbles
Then sneaks down
Licking sugar off the jelly beans.
Under the house a cane bar
“Cass Bar” illuminated on a glass louvre
A kasbah, ha ha, where friends visited.
His dad ventures to explore Mt Lamington
Erodes the soles from his Dunlop Volleys.
Bringing education to the people
His father walks into the site of a new school
The labour line carries the component parts
To be a government school after all.
His first school, his mother his first teacher
An A-school infiltrated by white ants
Their feelers holding up the structure.
Mt Lamington as a backdrop
Two years past its eruption
If it smokes all is okay, If not – beware.
Garden bois swing their sarifs to clear the bush
Both wife murderers – a traditional act
White man’s justice means
They wear red laplaps marked with arrows.
On the coast outrigger canoes
Surf into the black sand beach.
Thank you Mr Cassmob for sharing these memories.
You can read an earlier post about Popondetta here.
Boi – the Pidgin term at the time for local staff.
Pikinini – child
Painim – look for
Payback – compensation for an injury or death eg killing a person, or a pig.
pik – pig
pukpuk – crocodile
pekpek – faeces (don’t confuse these last three)