Plotinus in the Jungle

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Jiwaka Girl

As previously discussed, Anastasia spends mornings with Miriam, a local woman. The province we live in is Jiwaka, after the local language. This week Miriam revealed that she had made Annie a traditional Jiwaka costume!

Miriam, Jessica her daughter, Eliz her niece, and Annie

Miriam, Jessica her daughter, Eliz her niece, and Annie

Anastasia knows two traditional dances, one Jiwaka, involving shuffling your feet, bending over slightly, and bending your arms at the elbow, while singing “pumbayay, pumbayay.”

Note the tanket leaves at the back, known as "asgrass" in Tok Pisin

Note the tanket leaves at the back, known as “asgrass” in Tok Pisin

The other is a Melpa dance, from closer to Mt. Hagen (the academic dean and the rector are Melpa speakers); this one involves jumping up and down while holding hands, and singing “wiper, yeah, wiper yeah, wiper wiper wiper yeah!”*

Traditional highlands hat, in PNG colors

Traditional highlands hat, in PNG colors and trimmed with cuscus fur yarn

She does these dances at the drop of a hat, and sometimes during church. (“She is very active!” is a remark we get a lot…)

Other details: shell necklaces, red and yellow face paint

Other details: shell necklaces, red and yellow face paint

There is a local cultural museum opening on Monday and there is going to be a singsing festival with traditional dance. Annie now can participate as well!

Everyone who saw her about fell down laughing, some literally

Everyone who saw her about fell down laughing, some literally. Annie enjoyed the attention immensely.

*It is very similar to the South Sudanese jumping dance, but Papua New Guineans are significantly shorter, so they don’t jump as high. Also, since everyone is holding hands, there are no accessories to carry.

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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca says:

    Chortling very much at “asgrass.” That is super!

    Like

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