the PAPUA POST

Follow the Adventure: The Brazeau's Serving In Papua

Random Facts on LIfe in Papua

-Fishermen are using dynamite to blown up the reef, killing dozens of fish at once and destroying the coral. We can see the difference since 2008 when we first came to Papua. People here do not understand long term repercussions of this destruction of the reef.

-Men in Indonesia grow their nails long to show that they work in a none menial job

-At Christmas people celebrated by making bamboo cannons. There are two ways to make them. The first is simply cutting a section of bamboo that is sealed at both ends and placing it in the fire until the pressure build and it explodes. The second method is filling a long piece of bamboo or pipe with explosive material and lighting it on fire. The result is an incredibly loud bang that echos through the valleys and off the mountain.

-Mt Cyclops, the mountain that the school is on the side of, is actually a dormant volcano.

- Indonesians are very non confrontational but there are exceptions to every rule.

- To catch rate people here paint a board with glue and leave it out at night. A hammer in the morning finishes the job.

-People believe that illness enters the body through the wind. People will wear jackets, scarfs, toques, gloves and wrap their babies up in blankets in plus 40 degree heat to protect themselves. That is also the reason no one lived on the hilltops before the westerners, or orang barats, came because the hilltops were seen as places where evil spirit lived because the wind resided there.

-People hear do not question death of the circumstances surrounding it except in extreme circumstances as it is such a normal part of life. A baby dies, the mother never finds out why, they blame themselves. As a westerner is is very hard to see as it is so different than how we were raised.

- I am a 'guru di olahraga'. Olaraga means sport but the literal translation is olah, cook, raga, body. Cook body. It definitely feels that way in the heat here.

-While most Indonesians and Papuans are thin and fit people do not live very long. Diets are very high in cholesterol and the heath care is old, outdated and generally lacking.