Saturday, May 14, 2011

News Of An Old Pupil

I was delighted to come across another blog site featuring the work of one of my former pupils, Larry Santana, or 'Larry Mike' as he was called when I taught him.

Larry was a third year student at the School of Art & Design in Goroka in 1979 and by far the most talented of his intake.

It would appear that he too is now treading the teaching path; at Tusbab High School in Madang.

Larry Santana - Madang

By all accounts he has had a tough life in later years while living in Port Moresby - loss of his advertising agency job and then his house, living in the notorious shanty area of Six Mile Dump and scavenging for food scraps.

It saddens me that he and his family had these experiences but at last he seems to be experiencing a much happier existence now, in Madang.

At least he has never lost his smile!

Larry Santana

Image source: Malum Nalu blog
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Making Fire

Making Fire - Eastern Highlands
Roger Smith, 1980
Dry moss (Old Man's Beard?) is used as tinder and and kept dry in a gourd.  The friction created by rubbing sticks together was traditionally used.

The slash and burn technique of agriculture was widely used to clear the bush and grasslands in preparation for crops.

Note the bilas decoration of the demonstrator which includes a toucan bill and pig tusks.

This photograph was taken in a village near to Goroka.
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Bee Line

One of my earliest meetings with an Eastern Highland's National was with Ian Mopafli who was an apiarist who had studied honey production in New Zealand.  He spent time in my home country, under an aid scheme, and returned to the Eastern Highlands to establish a viable honey industry.

I visited his home village and saw at first hand how hives were dispersed. My interested in this form of agriculture had been pricked a few years previously when I had an idea to quit teaching and become and apiarist. I even went as far as joining a Rotorua bee keeping club but nothing more came of it.

Prior to leaving for PNG I paid a deposit on a large section of bush covered land near Kennedys Bay, on the Coromandel Peninsula. It was subdivided by Jim Rabarts at Tuateawa and was part of my self sufficiency master-plan; painting and bee-keeping. In hindsight totally impractical but such is the fervour of youth!

Once in Goroka I decided not pursue the Coromandel purchase but did discover where most of the rich Papua New Guinea honey ended up - in Rothmans cigarettes.

Rothmans had a large tobacco factory outside Goroka as they grew their tobacco in its rich soils.  The EHP honey was one of the several additives that were used.

The other thing I remember was that there was also a thin cigarette produced for local consumption which used recycled paper sheets from old texts as its outer sheath.  It was not uncommon to come across one that had a copy of the Psalms printed on the outside, such was the proliferation of bibles and religious texts in the Highlands.
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