To help us with our language learning in context, the six Tok Pisin (TP) tisas demonstrated some work and craft items in learning centres where we had to talk and ask questions only in TP. We had the opportunity to be hands-on in some activites, while others were more involved.
Left: A Christmas Star woven from the strips of new green banana leaves. Easy to make.
Right: Men and women will weave the mat from coconut fronds for use as either a bed or for sitting on.
Right: A traditional rice basket woven from the strips of new green banana leaves. Children learn to make this from a young age although it is complicated with the intricate weaving! The Tisa made this one carefully in less than two minutes. The basket is filled with rice and dropped into boiling water.
Left: The males sew and weave the morota leaves (sago palm leaves) to make the layers for the thatched rooves of their hut.
Right: Traditional bilums were made from river reeds or tree bark but today they are also made from plastic twine or yarn. Women can be seen walking long distances wearing the bilum on their foreheads with the heavy goods hanging down their backs. It is a common sight to see a sleeping baby in a bilum hanging in a shady corner or from a tree branch.
Below: If no bilum is at hand, a basket can be woven in about ten minutes from green coconut fronds.
We have much more than language to learn from the people of PNG. As ‘whiteskins’ (anyone other than a National), we are constantly reminded of how little we know of the world outside our own country. These men and women were so happy to be sharing some of their skills, their culture, and their stories with the students. Many talked of making these items in their childhood, after watching and learning from parents and older members of their village. Pray that we may have the same child-like attitude as we come to them for help and guidance.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4
– giving thanks for the way in which PNG folk welcome us as children
– for humility in all our relationships, both with Nationals and other mission workers
– for the students to have opportunities to share our faith in meaningful ways. Not all of our PNG guides are believers – please pray for them along with us.