I was treated to a special event this weekend when I was invited to attend the dedication of the baby of a friend of mine. The family spent the whole day preparing food for the event, and by the time I arrived, the party was in full swing. A group of young men from the church were playing and singing some nice gospel choruses while the women carried food (and a LOT of it!) from the house out to the picnic area.
Everyone was so very nice to me, but it was Jarusa's special day. She was dressed all in pink and was a perfect little lady throughout the proceedings. The pastor spoke about the joy of children and the strength of family, and if I understand it right, even made a little joke about the possibility of Jarusa being the first female PNG Prime Minister.
Jarusa belongs to one of those polygamous families that are still popular in some tribal groups. While Jarusa's mother and father were the main participants in the proceedings, the other mothers dropped off siblings earlier in the day, so many of Jarusa's 12 siblings were in attendance as well. The children in a certain age range all seem to be very close, playing together, exchanging smiles and laughter, and engaging in all kinds of banter and teasing. For the most part, they are a sweet bunch of kids.
At the end of the evening, after a wonderful visit with all the members of the extended family, I headed back to my apartment. I've been invited to attend church with mom and some of the kids on Sunday, so I'm looking forward to that. I felt quite honoured to be invited to participate in the family event. Such happenings tell me so much more about my friends, neighbours, and business partners than I could ever pick out of a book or learn through casual observation. It was a really nice event.