A New Guinean Thanksgiving

“More pictures!” I can hear you screaming even now, “And enough of the Vietnamese folklore.  Who wants to read about limestone pillars anyway?”

So I’ve consented.  I shall endeavor to use only fifty more words in this post (but note: I make no promises).

This past weekend, the nearest village to Ukarumpa (called Ukarumpa Village, naturally) threw a Thanksgiving service and invited the Waitskins from across the way.  And so we came:

It was a rainy day Sunday, but that by no means prevented the service from being held outside.  Though it was almost entirely in Tok Pisin, it was beautiful – you would have loved it yourselves.

I have, I fear, already used my alloted fifty words.  Will you permit me fifty more?

Not long ago, tribal warfare in the area left the village mostly burned and in ruins.  The service was meant to commemorate the anniversary of this burning.  But why a day of Thanksgiving?  Because, while the village was burned, almost all of their lives were spared – and ever since that frightful day, the conflicts and dangers of the area have greatly subsided.

As such, the service was full of poem readings, scripture readings, and lots and lots of singing (plus an hour and a half long sermon of which I understood very little).

Children sang:

A Papua New Guinean choir sang, an Ukarumpa choir sang, and a Korean choir sang:

And all the rest of us listened intently – whether we were sitting under the tent or standing outside with our umbrellas.

As I said, ’twas beautiful.

6 thoughts on “A New Guinean Thanksgiving

  1. i still cannot believe that wreck is the bridge. and for the sake of my not having a heart attack, i think there needs to be a one-at-a-time rule for crossing. what’s with the stroller? seriously?

    the service photos make it look quite inviting. a korean choir? that struck me as unusual. are there many koreans there? are they working as translators or what?

    well, gotta run. my best friend and her hubby arrive from kansas today. as of this month, we have been best buds for 20 years. i need to go to publix and pick up all her favorites….like beef crackers and blueberry oreos.

    speaking of publix…we would love to send you a care package of sorts. i used to do that with my sister all the time. give us some ideas of what to include…maybe some lasagna noodles?

  2. I’m with Christine on this “bridge” situation. There must be some sort of lobbyist group working with the PNG crocodiles to impede the construction of this bridge. For that reason, I am volunteering your brother Andy to come supervise either the completion of this bridge or (as I am sure would be his preference) “blowing up the bridge and just starting over”. Also glad to see that the natives had you over for dinner and no Cannibalism was involved (sure sounded like the old “come on over for Thanksgiving Dinner” bit….oldest Cannibal trick in the book).

  3. There are, actually, a good number of Korean folks here at Ukarumpa. Some are doing translation work, some are teachers, and I’m sure there are some in other departments as well. Their choir is quite good.


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