Stephanie is one of the girls on our media team. She has a hidden talent for sharing really good stories. So good, in fact, that I’m going to share one of them with you to give a bit of a picture into life in PNG… and what YOU are a part of there!
As we were going to Orokolo Bay for our last week I turned to my friend and said, “Im going to make a best friend here,” and she said… “OK” ( She probably didnt believe me.)
So off I went in search for a best friend. During our welcoming kids were coming up and grabbing our hands left and right. But alas I had no buddy to walk with (Maybe it was because I was taking photos and kids were a bit frightened of me. which happened suprisingly often. I somehow made a habit out of making kids cry. Good times.)
I was a little bit defeated and decided to get on with my life and do what I came here to do. Halfway into the morning I sat outside the clinic visiting with the locals who were waiting to see the doctor and snapped a couple photos. And as I was taking photos… I saw him… I saw my new best friend! I didnt even care if he wanted to be or not. I was determined to win this kid over.
His name is Konkii and I sat with him and his mum and found out he was the one in line to see the doctor. He has been pretty sick for a while and they didn’t know what was wrong, so to tide them over until he got in to see our doctors I was determined to teach them something and decided on the peace sign because I think its funny. As you can see, my first few attempts kind of failed. Good effort anyways.
By the time he went into our clinic they were pro stars at the peace sign and even mastered the pound it handshake and he was all smiles. But dispite that we found out he was pretty sick with malaria and worms. Classic PNG child illnesses.
We were able to help him out and put him on some malaria medication and also give him some deworming pills which they never normally would have been able to afford.
They went home soon after and as they were walking away I was a little dissapointed, thinking my best friend just slipped through my fingers and I wouldn’t see him again.
BUT, it turns out that his family lived close by and came back to the clinic to say hi every day until we left. I would sometimes see him peeking through a crowd smiling shyly and holding up a peace sign in my direction. And other times he would be at my feet holding up very unripe guava for me in his hands with the biggest grin on his face. Knowing I would never eat them I just thanked him each time and put them in my billum he gave me with the rest of them.
The day we left I carried him through his village to our awaiting boat and every time we passed any of his family they would all say, “Oh look! its Konkii’s sister!”
Apparantly peace signs and pound it handshakes are ways to be adopted into a family in PNG. Yay!