Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Miniafia, Oro Province, PNG

This was my final photography excursion which makes me very sad. I heard
there are twelve NT dedications in the next year that I could've gone to.

This dedication was definitely a good note to end on. I didn't have to
rough it in the village, but I was put up in a place called the 'Tufi Dive
Resort'. I think its fun to 'rough it' in the village, but this was just a
real treat! I even had a free afternoon to do some snorkling. Tufi claims
to have some of the best in the world and although I haven't done a lot of
snorkeling I'd agree that it was pretty amazing. I hope I never forget what
I saw.

On the day of the dedication we were taken out by boat to the village. It
was only about a 20 minute ride. We had the boxes of bibles on our boat,
which was pretty neat. A boat full of men from the village were dancing,
shouting, and pounding their drums while they came out to meet us out on the
water. We had a little ceremony out there while we handed them a Bible.
They wrapped it up in a 'tapa' cloth, and then put it in a special
ornamental canoe. We followed them the rest of the way to the village.
Before we reached the shore 8 large dugout canoes came and met us. Each
canoe was filled with about 12 men rowing their hearts out. They circled
us, weaving in and out, and shouting as they went. It was a spectacular
sight! It was quite the escort. When we got to shore the Bibles were
unloaded from our boat and a large processional began.

The translators who started the translation project were there from America.
For various reasons they didn't finish the translation themselves, but
handed it over to two national men many years ago. One of my favorite
moments was watching the American couple meet up with the men who finished
the translation. It was an emotional and exciting time for the four of them
and you could see the emotion on their faces. The excitement was thick in
the air - the people were celebrating and cheering. It was incredible.

I really loved the traditional dress of this people group. Their headdress
was elaborate and colorful. It was amusing to see how some people
incorporated Christmas garland and other Christmas decorations into their
dress. It is in this area that the 'tapa' cloth is used. A tapa cloth is a
cloth made from tree material and then is painted in a reddish brown
traditional pattern. You can see many of the people wearing them around
their waists in the pictures. I was presented with a tapa cloth and I will
always cherish it!

They distributed the Bibles very differently at this dedication. Each
family line (from surrounding villages) pre paid for their Bibles, so they
divided the Bibles out into piles for each village and then had each village
group come forward to pick up their Bibles. Each time a new group came
forward they were danced in by the traditional dancers. The last group to
receive the Bibles was the place where the translation was actually done.
They saved the best for last! Several young boys, all dressed up
traditionally came up to receive a Bible and they did this heart felt dance
with the Bibles in their hands. It was very moving.

When a translation is finished we hope that it is the younger generation who
will hold on to their 'tok ples' (their heart language) and learn to read
it. Tok Pidgin is taking over in many places in PNG and languages are dying

1 comment:

Heather said...

amazing memories!! gorgeous photos!!
I have a photography assignment for you hoping you will do it :)