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THE FORGOTTEN PARADISE

15/03/2012

PAPUA NEW GUINEA |

Kaibola Beach, not a single tourisit around, a paradise vision, barely disturbed by the bell of school in the distance.

On this island, there was no television or electricity (except in some hotels and administration buildings). On this island, you can walk, wander alone, and share smiles with others. And on this island, there are no police, thieves or fear like in Port Moresby just flowers in the hair!

Obweria Village where many thatched huts are built on stilts around the central square, called the Buka.

For some years, harvests in the island have not been good. Many yam houses are left empty and some have even been destroyed, because of the strengthening El Nino which the region experienced in recent years.

Girls take part in battles and dance topless, only wearing red grass skirts, shells, feathers, and flower pollens.

Mr. Tolobuwa, head of Vaikiki Village. He is always with a small wicker bag containing betel nuts and lime gourds and spatulas. His huge lime stick was made from casoar bone. In the past that spatula used to be made from human bones.

On the island, people print some money, which is called Doba. They scratch banana leaves on a wooden board. 50 leaves have a value of 5 Kinas or 1 Euro. The money is used for weddings, special ceremonies or for daily essentials such as food, vegetables and even fuel for the lucky ones who have a car.

Trobriands Islands, have kept their traditions unimpaired despite the presence of French explorers in the 18th century, successively followed by Australian settlers and the US Army during ww2 and especially in spite of the omnipresence of Western Missionaries.

Masawa, a traditional canoe with its beautifully decorated drawings and shells. Trobriands Islanders are excellent fishermen and sailors. The Kula Ring system, a maritime ceremonial trade system between the different tribes of the islands is still used.

Each islander produces the double of his estimated needs, and the rest is distributed and given to his brother-in-law who takes care or all children in the family. Exchange must be public so that everyone can witness it.

Yams are very important symbol of wealth, power and prosperity. Cheiftans like to show-off that they own a lot yams.

A cricket game, introduce in 1903 by Methodist Missionaires, is always the occasion for kind mocking remarks and challenges between villages. It is played with much whistle blowing, singing and dancing.

A hut called “Bukumatula” serves as a “Love Motel“. This type of hut is a single rooms where teens come in and make love. Trobriands Islanders have a free sexuality before and even after marriage. People call HIV/AIDSthe sickness without medicine.

An ID of a US soldier from ww2. “Bring him back to his country please”

The Beku stone is a valued present at weddings and cannot be found on the central island of Kiriwina, and comes from non coral islands through the Kula system. Here a man is supposed to give presents to his wife in return for the sexual favors that she provides him.

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Source: Eric Lafforgue

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