9 days with the Mondika tribe (I)

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Different cultures

So, finally I managed. I am on a quest, together with my family, for learning, experiencing and evolving as much as we can for as much as we are allowed to stay on this planet. We have lived in the West, we traveled and worked there for years in a row. We decided that time was ripe for us to start seeing other cultures.

Mexico, Georgia, Tanzania and Iran followed. For a long time I had wanted to offer my daughter an experience out of common. And it happened. We spent 9 days, in Papua New Guinea in the middle of the a tribe. The Mondika tribe.

We landed in Port Moresby on November the 29 th and spent the day with a good friend of ours from New Zealand. It was a good chance for us to see the way expats live too. He was living in a walled compound, with security and barbed wire everywhere.

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We were told that security was a big issue over there and there were a lot of bandits roaming the surroundings. As we have never met them and never had any problems regarding security I have no opinions on the matter.

Papua New Guinea is an emerging nation and we noticed this as soon as we got out of the apartment. At 20 meters away from the buildings, the sheds, barracks and open fires were in full bloom. A fantastic difference between the have’s and have not’s. We had seen this already in Mexico and Tanzania. People are struggling to keep up with the globalization.

We never paid attention to this. When we visit a foreign country we do not go there to judge or blame. Each person or nation has its own way.

The next day we took off for Mount Hagen, the closest major city to our goal, Mount Giluwe. I was having the feeling that I act in a movie. The little plane, the flight over the forested mountains and the jungle, the ups and downs of the ride. Alexandra was looking as amazed as I was.

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We landed and had our first real encounter with the new world surrounding us. People every where, hanging on the fence of the terminal, walking back and forth and staring at us. Now we were the exotic looking ones.

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At the airport we were welcome by a group led by Esther, the sister of our local contact. This thing facilitated a lot our moving around. We went to the market to buy some fruits.

The market is extremely exotic and worth visiting. People were very friendly and were taking pleasure in us taking snapshots of them. It was quite an experience and also our first chance to have close contact with local people.

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The bus station

Once again we were surrounded by curious but friendly people that were shooting questions at us. I know security is a thing everybody wants to know about. Not for a second we felt threatened or in any danger what so ever. Of course everything was different and somewhat challenging but this is the reason we go visit and explore.

We took the PMV and after one hour and a half we made it to the village of Alkena, belonging to the Mondika tribe. We were so curious and excited about all this. The region reminded me a lot the Masaai region that we visited in Tanzania. The landscaping was very beautiful and the huts looked exactly the same. The difference was in the fact that there, in the Masaai village, they were grouped in clusters while here they were isolated and that in Tanzania were made out of clay while here from rafers.

We were led to the hut that was to be our home for the next days and took possession of our little room. Little by little we were introduced to more and more people. Bobby the Carver popped up and then Stanley Smiley, and then Mother and Father and little Anthony and Eileen the little girl.

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We spent the next days among them, living like them, eating what they were eating, talking and taking long trips through the surrounding villages and the jungle. In the evening the hut was full with people sitting around the fire, enveloped in the smoke coming from the open fire while cooking the meal. We, the two Europeans, were seated among them. I kept on being amazed by the way Alexandra was moving around. Everything was so natural for her. The years spent traveling and mountain climbing were paying off now.

We did so many things together with them. We celebrated the Romanian National Day, built our wooden structure, paid a visit to father Bisson from the Catholic Mission of Kiripia and visited the whole region. I will speak about this in the next article.

Next day we set off for a trip around the village. As soon as we hit the main road we were surrounded by people. Every time we met somebody we were shaking hands and answering questions. It was the beginning of quite a new experience for us because from this moment on we have never been alone. It became normal to walk with half of the village behind. I think now I must know how Brad Pitt feels when walking on the street. Tens and tens of people were following us. Now and then we were walking past a church or a school and more people would come running toward us while shouting and hurrying to shake our hands. I still don’t know if they were doing this because we were two white persons walking among them or because of our world wide fame. But being modest always helps. Sic!

We entered the jungle at one moment and when we got out we had a little surprise. The boys had decided to impress us and they all camouflaged themselves in jungle leaves and vines. They told us thatthis was the way they did when they had an inter tribal war. Also they showed us the way one can light a fire by rubbing a vine under the sole. It was a very impressive day and I could see in Alexandra’s eyes how impressed she was.

We came back in the evening. Once again I had the same feeling of being in a movie. The huts, with the smoke above, the people around them, kids running everywhere, Father wearing his traditional outfit, all this was kind of overwhelming. But we enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you again http://pnghtours.blogspot.ro/

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