On our trip to the capital in December, we met a journalist in Mapang.
You may remember that in my previous post I allude to this topic, but I also failed to give any adequate details. This is a notable occurence, because it is a missionary home. It is a hotel run for the missionaries of the country, but also is open to families and the general public. It is not widely known except to missionaries and the people who have read this on lonely planet, like our journalist friend, Kent.
Another unique feature of Mapang is its international communal atmosphere. Generally, this ia a small contingent of Americans, a small cluster of Koreans, and a rather sizable gatherings of Kiwis and Aussies. (Kiwis are awesome by the way. Yes, the fruit, the people, and the birds, all of it.)
On this particular occasion, we had the privilege of running into to a large gaggle of Aussies traveling to help another pastor in a village on the coast. They in turn met Kent. Immediately, they discovered Kent was from America. Naturally, they felt the need to unite fellow countrymen. So, immediately upon our entrance to breakfast, one of the Aussie group jumped at the chance to introduced my family to Kent.
To my pleasure, I found out that Kent was from Miami. Being a Floridan myself, I was excited to chat about this topic. Ohhh, the cuban food to had, the heat to be endured, and the beaches to be celebrated. It was a great conversation indeed.
Then my oldest son, found out he worked in New York City, his FAVORITE CITY, and had to talk about the skyscrapers and the taxis and the subways and the pizza… You get the idea. Anyway, you can imagine we overwhelmed him with speech.
He told us he was there to write a story about Papua New Guinea’s Witch Trials. Up to this point, I had just thought that was another one of the bizarre stories that only those that lived here knew about. Right at this point, I decided that we needed to adopt him. I know what you are thinking, he is not a stray puppy. This is a valid point, but Kent had strayed into the twilight zone known as Papua New Guinea. I felt like, while he had some dead time before meeting his contact for his story, he needed to see my country from the prospective of a lover of the land. So, we piled him into our already crammed vehicle for a few days and even took him to our friend Phil’s house.
It is true Papua New Guinea can be made into a freak show. Like this story, it talks about the weird way some use their cell phones. This one is a doosy about cannibals. It is not hard to find off the wall aspects about the country. These are not the only things that make this country worth noting.
I wanted Kent to see the kind people that live here. The nationals always go out of their way to help me and family. They may have some weird customs, but then so do we. Try translating the idea of Groundhog day into another culture. They think it is absolutely nuts. They are right; it is. So, you see as we adopted Kent for a few days, we were trying to bring him into the magical world that exists below the Ripley’s Believe it or Not exterior and resides in the smiling faces of the people that are ecstatic to share their country with you.