'A spectacle of cultural diversity'

Rachel Crandell spent time in Papua New Guinea.

Where did you go? Various parts of Papua New Guinea.

Where did you stay? In Hagen, at Haus Poramon, which means Friendship House, with a vast view of Wahgi Valley, where "first contact" was made between tribal clansmen and "whiteskin" Australian gold prospectors in 1933. The accommodations are in the style of clan huts, but with flush toilets and beds – very comfortable. On the Sepik River, I traveled by motorized canoe and stayed with families in stilt house villages under mosquito nets. No flush toilets or beds. In Goroka, I stayed at the YWCA, sharing a room with a young Papua New Guinea college student.

What did you do? On the Sepik River, I was invited to the men's spirit house to witness the crocodile spirit initiation of self-cutting. In Goroka, I attended the Sing Sing where lavishly decorated and painted tribal people chanted, drummed, and danced for three days. Truly a spectacle of cultural diversity and color!

What did you eat? Sago palm starch from the pith of the tree, ferns, roast pig, plantains, rice, chicken, fish, and lots of sweet potatoes. I dined mostly with families or in villages.

Where have you been? What did you do? Write us at Weekend

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