I am now on YWAM’s Pacific Link, doing medical outreaches in PNG’s Gulf Province. I thought I’d use the little internet available to update you on some of the things I’ve seen and done in Oro Province.
Oro Province is often called the “Land of Tapa”
Tapa is a fabric made out of the bark of a mulberry tree. Once peeled off the tree, the bark is soaked in water and then beaten down to a thin 1mm sheet of fabric. What starts from the bark of a tree which is 10cm in diameter stretches to be wide enough to be used as a skirt for SingSings (traditional dances & songs)… Most welcome dances performed for us were done in Tapa attire.
Here are some photos of Tapa:
Tapa is present in many islands of the Pacific, but in PNG, it is mostly found in Oro, especially in the Tufi region.
Tufi is also famous (within PNG!) for it’s facial tattoo.
Traditionally done as a sign of the coming of age of a women, the tattoo takes at least 2 weeks to be completed, as small portions are done daily to give time for the completed areas to heal. Unfortunately, with Westernization of PNG, some cultural traditions are being lost, facial tattoos being one of them. Most older women from the Tufi region will have them, but nowadays, young girls do not get the tattoo done frequently. I was pleasantly surprised to find a 32 years old lady proudly displaying her clan’s heritage on her beautiful face.
Stay tuned for more blurbs about Oro!