We spent one week based in a village along the solwara (ocean). From this village, we did mobile clinic and learnt a lot about the health care delivery in Oro Province, their common illnesses, their challenges and their beliefs. We also learnt about the impact of World War II in PNG, especially for the coastal area surrounding Buna, Sanananda & Gona.
But of all the things I’ve learnt in Buna, my favourite was the story our host told us as we were getting ready to depart.
“This is the story of our origin; not the story of the Big Bang or Adam & Eve, but the story of our people, the way my father’s fathers have told the story. Our ancestors came riding on the back of a giant sea turtle. It was on a full moon night when our ancestor saw the land and drifted on the shore of Papua New Guinea. To this day, our people still love a full moon and highly respect turtles. One of the most precious gifts a Papua New Guinean can give is turtle shell earrings.”
Gift which our host didn’t fail to honour us with and which earrings I’m still wearing to this day.
*The earrings were quite hard to put on and very painful… they are quite thick and tricky to put on, but my ears didn’t get infected and aren’t paining anymore, I guess it might have finally stretched my ears ;)