Thursday, March 1, 2012

Whiteskin TV, Episode 1: Meet the Family


Throughout the previous 5 weeks of our training course, we had progressively gotten to know our “wasfamili” (literally—watch family).  This is the family that we eventually lived with for 5 days and who was responsible for our well-being during that time.

Our particular family was quite young, and fortunate to have this beautiful house made mostly from materials they gathered from the surrounding jungle.  We shared this house with their family of five, and 1-2 other members of their extended family.  Our room was in the front left corner.  It was a tight squeeze for us four and all our cargo, but as we soon discovered the house is used mainly just for sleeping.  Most of the socializing takes place under the house in the shade.


Papua New Guineans value family and community above all, so much of our time in the village was just spent building relationships with those we met.  Members of both the husband’s and wife’s extended family lived nearby and it was a challenge to figure out how everyone was related.  (It was one of our course assignments too.)

The family took great pains to teach us about their way of life, and help us improve our language skills.  We were rarely alone, and I can imagine we offered endless amusement with our language blunders and curious ways.  We later joked that we must have been more entertaining than a reality show.  …Tune in tomorrow for the next riveting episode of “Whiteskin TV!”*

*Foreigners are usually referred to as “whiteskins” in the local languages.


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