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Manderley
09-03-2008, 09:54 PM
For some reason, I've decided to set a very small part of my novel in PNG, a country I know next to nothing about. And so far I've spent an hour researching information for two sentences, and that was just for some simple stuff, like the exact name of snakes etc.

Anyway, I now need a bit more information on village life 25 years ago, specially women's life in the village. Does anyone know what daily chores etc would be part of women's village life in PNG roughly 25 years ago...? I don't need an essay, but a few specific examples would be great.

Oh, and if anyone knows a few typical female PNG names, it would be much appreciated.

GeorgeK
09-03-2008, 11:27 PM
Never been there, but 25 years ago is around the time they were figuring out Creutzfeld-Jacob disease in the Fore' tribesmen. They ate their dead to honor them and cooking temperatures don't kill the prions.

Stew21
09-03-2008, 11:40 PM
A girl I went to highschool with lived there for quite a while (about 25 years ago). Her parents were missionaries.
If you PM me with some specific questions, I would be happy to pass them along to her, along with the questions in your post. We are still in touch and I'm sure she'd be happy to help.

Keyan
09-04-2008, 12:05 AM
For some reason, I've decided to set a very small part of my novel in PNG, a country I know next to nothing about. And so far I've spent an hour researching information for two sentences, and that was just for some simple stuff, like the exact name of snakes etc.

Anyway, I now need a bit more information on village life 25 years ago, specially women's life in the village. Does anyone know what daily chores etc would be part of women's village life in PNG roughly 25 years ago...? I don't need an essay, but a few specific examples would be great.

Oh, and if anyone knows a few typical female PNG names, it would be much appreciated.

I've visited Port Moresby briefly around that time.

The main work of the women would be tending the taro gardens. Taro is a staple food, and since PNG is very mountainous, it's cultivated in smallish plots. So the whole planting/ weeding/ harvesting thing is time-consuming. In addition, they would be responsible for pigs - which don't actually take much care - and childcare. Food prep would also be pretty time-consuming. Taro has to be pounded to make it edible. They would also weave the net bags used to carry everything.

The names would depend on the tribe, but in general you can use Biblical names as the missionaries have been pretty active, and by 25 years ago, many people would have such names. The Prime Minister is Michael Thomas Somare, son of Ludwig and Kambi Somare (wikipedia!).

I'd suggest getting hold of Margaret Mead's book, "Sex and Temperament in Three New Guinea Villages." It's actually written about a much earlier time (I think the 1930s?) but many of the basic life-styles would be the same, especially in interior villages. One difference is that most people would wear t-shirts. In the urban areas, shorts are worn quite formally by men.

Sarpedon
09-04-2008, 12:24 AM
There is an insane number of languages there, on account of the highland valleys being so isolated one from the next.

Also there's a joke:

Q: Where do women have short, curly hair?

A: New Guinea.

JJ Cooper
09-04-2008, 01:19 AM
I think AW member Mumut spent a fair amount of time in PNG. He may be able to help you out.

JJ

MelancholyMan
09-04-2008, 10:35 PM
I can assure you that 'village' life in Papua New Guinea 25 years ago is not substantially different than life there today, or 10,000 years ago for that matter.

You may be able to find some good descriptions from World War II era accounts. There was a major allied base there, Port Moresby, from which the allies mounted their first counterattacks against the Japanese Empire. Basically, after the fall of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea was the front line of the Pacific War with Americans and Aussies doing the bulk of the fighting. Do some Googling on those threads and you will come up with a lot.

You might also Google on an adventure expedition company that goes by, or uses the moniker, "First Contact." They specialize in taking wealthy urbanites on planned treks into the NewGuinea jungle hoping to establish 'first contact' with previously unknown tribes, and apparently infecting them with our diseases. It's a pretty damn sick business model but I seem to recall seeing something about that a few years ago and there were some descriptions of village life on their website. It think...

... Here it is, http://www.papuatrekking.com/First_Contact_expedition.html (http://www.papuatrekking.com/First_Contact_expedition.html), came up at the top of the search. IMHO these bastards are sick.

-MM

Manderley
09-05-2008, 07:37 PM
Wow! I was hoping for maybe one single reply, and then I find so many good suggestions for further research! AW rocks! Thanks for input, everyone, and Stew21, I might PM you later. :)

Spice Islands
09-30-2008, 04:10 AM
As some one said earlier there is no one single ethnic group in PNG. Perhaps one third of the world's languages can be found on the island so perhaps the way to go is to be more specific. For example one tribe out of many, one language out of many.

Loads of missionaries out there...perhaps google some of them? They may want to help.