Sep 25, 2010

A Rainy Hike in the City

So sorry I haven't posted recently. Things here have been a bit CRAZY for the last few weeks. I'm not sure whether they are going to settle down any or not, but I'm hoping for just a little slowdown.

Yesterday (Friday) was quite busy. I picked up a new contract (building a website for a landowner company here) in the afternoon and finished off the day about 5pm. I had one of the boss' daughters with me, however, and couldn't leave until her mom stopped by to pick her up. About an hour before we left, we had quite a bit of rainfall in a short time. Leo called from the apartment to inform me that the only water intrusion we had was on the wall above the kitchen sink. That was good news.

When Mom finally showed up to pick up my charge, I offered a friend a lift and she and I headed to my apartment. When I arrived, with a suitcase full of computing equipment and homework papers, I discovered that the lift was out of order and water was POURING down the stairwell.


I drove back to work to put my toys away then went back to the apartment. I shifted my bilum (woven purse) to the outside arm--water was pouring down the stairwell inside--and began my hike up the 11 stories (22 flights) to my apartment.

"Where is all this water coming from," I kept thinking. "Why is it pouring down the stairwell?" "How can there be no flooding in my apartment but this much flooding on the upper story?"

When I reached the 9th floor, I began to hear noises above me. By the 10th floor, I began to giggle about the whole situation. Sure enough, when I approached the 11th floor, I could see the door was propped open and had to avoid a worker who was mopping up the water that had leaked into the hall near the elevator, putting it into a garbage can, pulling it over to the stairwell, and pouring it out! LOL! The whole time I was hiking up the stairs there was a man at the top pouring water down on top of me!

In case you don't know it, I live in an apartment that leaks like a sieve. I've done really well in the past few months because we are in the dry season here; the rainy season doesn't start for another 3-6 weeks. For the past 3 weeks, workers have been on the roof every day attempting to make roof repairs. At the moment, it appears they have stripped away the roofing on the area near the center of the building, allowing for water intrusion there, in the hallway, near the elevator. Although Leo was really concerned about my long hike and the fact that I arrived home drenched, I really got a good laugh out of it. "Typical life in PNG," was all I could think!

Sep 6, 2010

Making the Papers

Embarrassing. Yes, I made the papers this week. I was acting silly, got captured on film, and shared across the nation. Sigh.

Check it out: Newspaper Clipping.

Sep 4, 2010

PNG Arts Extravaganza

On Thursday night, I was invited to the PNG Arts Extravaganza launch. It was a night of music, laughter, art, and performance. The performances included music by a local group of young people, a native comedy sketch that had me falling off my seat in laughter, and dance performances by the Siassi Islanders. It was a fabulous night!

The music was a nice blend of modern with more than a touch of jazz, and traditional tribal sounds. Doesn't sound like a good mix? You'd be surprised, I think. I was.

The art work that was for sale included a wide range of styles and subjects. The focus was primarily on local themes, however, since PNG offers so much diversity in such a small place. I almost purchased a couple of pieces myself, but decided to hold off for a bit and see what other opportunities come up in the next few weeks as September will be filled with cultural events.

The one-man comedy sketch was just hilarious. He started off with actions that clearly indicated he was a man alone on a fishing trip. Dressed in traditional garb, he also made it a point to let the audience know that the mosquitoes were having a time with him. And as is typical of a person alone, anything that itched got matter the location on the body! As the story progressed, we soon figured out that the man had a bit of a stomach ache coming on. The passing of gas and the accompanying facial expressions were so very funny. But the climax of the story came when he finally had to "do his business" without letting go of his fishing line. When he grabbed a handful of leaves and began wiping his backside, he hooked a really big one. Not wanting to let go, and needing both hands free for the job, he reacted by accidentally shifting the handful of leaves to his mouth. The result was absolutely hilarious. The actor was quite the showman!

I also got to get up close and personal with three Asaro mudmen. These guys are famous in my part of the world and an encounter like this is rare indeed. I was thrilled for the opportunity!

Finally, it was time for the Siassi Islanders to perform. The good friend who invited me to the event is from Siassi and arranged for the islanders to come to Moresby. Most (if not all) have never been on an airplane nor visited the capital. Coming here is a long and difficult journey, but to do it in a large group with all of their elaborate costumes in tow is nothing short of extraordinary! On Thursday night, I got to see the dances and costumes that have been passed down for many generations from the Siassi peoples, something that most PNG nationals have never gotten to experience. It was so very rich! After the show, my friend introduced me to the dance troupe and I was surprised when they applauded. The whole interaction was just incredibly humbling and wildly exotic. And I just received an invitation to join them again tomorrow for more fun!