Saturday, 30 October 2010

Lost in translation

There are some American holidays that have obvious PNG counterparts.  Instead of President's Day, we observe the Queen's birthday.  PNG's "Memorial Day" is called Remembrance Day.  Independence Day is celebrated in September rather than July.  Churches celebrate a Thanksgiving, though it has nothing to do with pilgrims and turkeys.

But some of our customs don't really translate to Pidgin.  The idea of a harvest is one of those.  You see, we live in the land of perpetual spring.  Except for the recent havoc that a prolonged dry season had on gardens, food grows year round.  Some things like coffee and mangoes are seasonal, but most fruits and vegetables can be picked straight from the garden any time of the year.

Nevertheless, we missionaries hold fast to some such traditions... even if they are lost in translation!  Every year about this time, we get together for our annual Harvest Party.  The homemade costumes this year included a lumber-jack-o-lantern, clown, Mt. Wilhelm skiing accident, black cat, pirate, indian, 80's chick complete with leg warmers and security guard, and a bride who was running a bit late for her wedding to a man having an identity crisis.  

Bobbing for lemons is one Harvest Party tradition, because lemons are free and much easier to find than apples.  We also cooked hobo dinners on the coals of the fire and made smores.  Graham crackers and marshmallows and chocolate bars were imported from the US especially for the occasion.  Did you know that you can make sparklers from steel wool?  No, not an urban--or in this case bush--legend. 


One very special event this year was the carving of an orange pumpkin.  Pumpkins do grow here, but they are usually green and a bit small or the wrong shape.  Someone had given Meti some orange pumpkin seeds and they produced a crop of 3 pumpkins.  The Myers saved their pumpkin for about 5 months so that they could make a jack-o-lantern during the Harvest Party.  Emma Dooley said it was the first time she had seen one in real life.

It was such a sweet night, just being together with the missionary family :).  The best kind of fun you can have.

For more pictures of this interesting evening and last year's festivities, here is a look at what we do for fun in PNG!

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
~ 2 Corinthians 9:10

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