My Papua New Guinea family, which is so dear to me
23 October 2015
WHEN I arrived in Papua New Guinea two weeks ago to sort out visas for Rose's sisters, Rose’s family prepared a mumu in my honour.
I don't know why I deserved it, and I was once again taken aback at the great Melanesian traditions of hospitality and friendship that the feast embodied.
We should never ignore the real people who make PNG and Australia tick.
That fine Australian artist Bill Dobell painted Papua New Guineans so well. Everyone has a story to tell and a picture worth painting. But I had a camera.
In the photograph above, from right to left, are Mana Dau, Rose's birth mother. She couldn't afford a present for Rose so sent all she could afford - a bar of soap - more precious to us than anything.
Then Tracy from Buka, who is brother Willie's wife and who is holding small Rose named after my wife.
Then next to me small Margaret (now taller than me), who we were planning to adopt but despite her brother's approval, her mother stymied the idea.
On my left is John Bare, Rose's brother and my confidant who rightly despises televangelists and their influence.
Next to him is Ellis, one of the sisters who we have just managed to get a visa for, and next to her is Daddy Foreman from Kundiawa who regards me as his son.
Standing next to him in the blue dress is Kay, brother Stanley's wife, holding her somewhat difficult young boy who spits at everyone.
And sitting down in the blue and yellow is Josie, Ellis' daughter.
Angramo (Aaron) is the boy in the middle - we knew him as Frodo when he was a baby - and the little girl with shining eyes is Britney, Ellis's latest daughter, who is a born raskol but sat on my knee and spoke in English and called me Daddy Peter.
She is very naughty and her brothers, who she relentlessly teases, call her liklik rat.
You can see a glimpse of why my PNG family is dear to me.
Well Mana has enjoyed Sydney. Riding on the Manly ferry she looked up at the harbour bridge climbers and, in alarm, grabbed my arm and said "Peter, they are going to jump off!"
But she has great wisdom. She says, "Yu tupela..." well I won't try and exercise my excruciating Tok Pisin; "God brought you two together, and you must support each other in this time of trouble. You will find the faith to bring you through."
Mana says "Nina kande dungwa. Nina kande wagai kaninga."
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 30 October 2015 at 06:56 PM
Mathias - you are talking Jiwaka tok ples!
Nambaka nimbay! Ahmbikay nimbay!
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 26 October 2015 at 06:52 PM
One thing I realised at the Mumu was that it was not just a feast for immediate gratification, but a sharing of food between all lines.
Everyone had a bit too eat, as we were hungry and the aromas are irresistible; but the real Mumu moment came when the whole feast was shared out in equal measures to all families present - and even some who were not.
The portions were placed on banana leaves and dealt out with scrupulous fairness by the aunties and bubus, who ensured that everyone had a fair share, then wrapped in parcels to take home. Even the kids had their share to take home - a bit like showbags.
Maybe this tradition of mumu-sharing for all is something the politicians have lost sight of.
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 26 October 2015 at 05:57 PM
Peter Kranz, you're the man! Na bilga ta neralba!
Posted by: Mathias Kin | 25 October 2015 at 08:18 PM
Great photo Peter, and wonderful family. Oh...and the cooked food in the front. I am sure they came out straight from a mumu pit. Great!
Posted by: Arnold Mundua | 24 October 2015 at 01:18 PM
Oh, and the two ladies in the middle sitting in front of the mumu are Mana Kuman (who is with us now) and Kiak, another of Rose's sisters.
They gave me the backbone of the pik, which I cunningly knew had the best cuts - port fillets and the juiciest ribs. It lasted a week. (kept in the fridge of course.)
Posted by: Peter Kranz | 23 October 2015 at 03:54 PM
Thanks for sharing the post, it's always a wonder and pride to be a Papua New Guinean. regardless of who we are, wherever we are from, but when we become a part of a family in PNG, we are truly a family - the Melanesian way.
Lovely family by the way:)
Posted by: Bessielah David | 23 October 2015 at 12:33 PM
Peter, good to see you among your extended family. I can't wait to meet my extended family this Christmas. Prolonged drought is affecting people in PNG including my extended family but we will kill any pig that is left and celebrate family reunion.
Posted by: Bomai D Witne | 23 October 2015 at 07:50 AM
Great expose, Peter. It's wonderful to see the progress in visa related issues being sorted.
Posted by: `Robin Lillicrapp | 23 October 2015 at 06:17 AM
Thank you Peter. Wonderful family.
God bless you all.
Posted by: Barbara Short | 23 October 2015 at 06:00 AM