Last week was the opening of the local cultural centre. They celebrated with a week-long singsing, which Anastasia attended every day. She dressed in traditional garb and performed with a singsing team. She loved it and came home exhausted every day.
Brandon and I went on Friday, the day of the official opening.
We walked around, saw other groups perform, and enjoyed the PNG version of carnival food- including fried plantains!
Then we went to check out the animal display- two snakes and two cuscuses!
Anastasia got to hold one of the cuscuses earlier in the week.
We also got an advance tour of the buildings composing the cultural center– a traditional men’s house, traditional women’s house, and a traditional pig-slaughtering ceremonial hut.
Ostensibly, the highlight of the day was going to be various officials coming to officially open the exhibits and a new bridge that they had built, but the officials were 4 hours late, at least. Eventually the provincial governor sent his secretary in his place. Here is the local police commander, the aforementioned secretary, and the local bigman (with the feather headdress) coming up to the grandstand to give speeches. We did not stay for long after that, however.
It was really funny to see PNG nationals taking Anastasia’s photo with their cell phones, like they were the tourists! Now, whenever we travel locally, we hear “Anastasia! Yu bilas pinis!” (You were dressed up!). Today Annie and I got on a bus after doing some thrift shopping and the people in the seat in front of us turned around and showed us the picture they took last week of Anastasia in her finery!