The elder men wear their traditional costumes, brightly coloured woven material illustrate their clan allegiances (although any inter-clan rivalry is forgotten for the celebrations). The women, married and single, have on their best outfits and all drink a local brew until they are high. Dancing in circles the sky is lit up with fire at the climax of the ceremony and the crowds sing traditional songs in old languages that the on-looking tourists and expatriates who have travelled for days to the highlands don’t understand. Aye, it was good to spend Hogmanay up in Scotland.
So, thanks for reading my blog!
I’m writing this on the 14th January. At this point, I should have been in Papua New Guinea for 11 days, but due to the complexities of getting a work permit (and due to the visa agent sending the letter from the PNG government to the wrong embassy) I’m still in the UK and don’t fly out until the 16th.
I’ve therefore been caught in a loop of leaving parties and the same questions:
“What’s your new job?”
I’ll be the logistician for a group who run a clinic at a hospital doing administration, ordering supplies, looking after some local staff, making sure the computers and vehicles are working and generally fixing things.
“Who will I work for?”
Médecins Sans Frontières, an independent, secular, aid agency who provide medical assistance to those with acute needs.
“What are they doing in PNG?”
They run a small clinic in the town of Lae. Sexual and domestic violence is prolific in PNG, literally the majority of women will be the victims of it. Médecins Sans Frontières are providing for their acute medical needs and showing the Ministry of Health how better to help these women.
“Is PNG dangerous?
Like many places, street violence is common, often taking the form of robbery or car-jackings. Médecins Sans Frontières have procedures to mitigate the risk, and frankly, being robbed of my £5 Casio watch and my iPod isn’t going to traumatise me any more than having to spend another year in London watching city boys in suits quaff pinot grigio. And besides, I’m told that the locals understand and respect our workers.
“What will I do at the end of my 9 month project?”
I don’t know.
I’m enjoying not knowing.