Thursday, January 1, 2009

Central Province

Home of the Motuan, Koiari, Rigo and Goilalans, and home to my PNG family. I have been fortunate enough to explore a good deal of this province yet have missed out on a great deal. I would have liked to have made it eastward past Kupiano and to the west past Yule Island and even up into the mountains of the Goilala, but I have walked and spent some time with the Koiari between Sogeri and Kokoda and I have hunted Orchids in the Rigo hills around Lebogoro. I have had the privilege of attending a Bride Price Ceremony down at Hula and I have watched Rugby League with my PNG family at Boera.

The Central province is the Motuan coastline with the Owen Stanley Ranges providing a continual blue hued backdrop, and on clear days in Moresby, you can see Kokoda Gap, Mt Victoria, and Mt Albert Edward.

A partnership between my GF and a traditional potter at Boera has provided many highlights; the two potters have spent time together learning each other’s techniques, clays and firing practices. Watching a collection of Motuan Pots being fired in an above ground fire in only 20 minutes is a spectacular and fiery event. Motuan clay is very sandy and contains a lot of grog whereas western clay is smooth and creamy and seeing the joy of the local kids playing with this modern clay and getting the clay everywhere is quite amusing.

Meanwhile, as the kids and potters are busy messing around with clay, the rest of us sit around under the Oil Palms and Frangipanis and watch the local lads play Rugby League. Boera has a population of around 2,000 and has at least 8 League teams which play each other during the regular season and then they play each other again during the “off” season. The matches are brother and against brother, cousin against cousin and despite the concrete hardness of the pitch, the lads are keen to smash into each other at any given moment. Papua New Guineans are passionate about their football.

A great way to spend an afternoon.

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