An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Show Time

Ferris wheel, show bags, cattle judging, ice cream, army exercises, giant slippery dips, flower displays, fireworks, tug-of-wars and hoards of people. The weekend was almost like I had been transported back to a country NSW show. The only things different were the lack of fairy floss, pluto pups, slushies and kids throwing up after coming off the Octopus.

It was the Morobe Provincial Agricultural Show for 2004. The biggest event it seems that the city has to host, and this year it was big. To me it seemed like the whole city came out to witness it. I have never, while I have been here, seen so many people in the one area before. And it was not just confined to the paying people who entered (for the cost of four kina) but the people who didn't enter seemed to enjoy themselves just as much by standing around outside blocking off entire roads.

I was there for most of the weekend. I had to be you see. The Uni had a pavilion, therefore my department has a stand and of course where we go some computers have to follow to make us seem technologically capable. So for all of Saturday and Sunday morning I hung around handing out pamphlets looking after the two computers, with one displaying photos from trips we have done and the other giving a demonstration of our e-learning solution that I am establishing (slowly).

Knox and Damaris minding the DODL fort

I gave myself breaks. I needed to as Saturday was very hot, and it was multiplied inside the pavilion, with a lot of dust as an added extra. So I got to wander around and suss it all out. I watched some of the entertainment going on in the Main Arena. Though for all of Saturday that was mainly just restricted to displays of horsemanship. Which is surprising, as you don't immediately think of horses, cowboys and PNG in the same context. All of these cowboys though are from the big farms up the Markham valley, the only farms big enough to actually need guys with horses to look after the cattle.

Other displays included one from the army, which consisted of two groups, one in a fixed position in the middle of the arena, and another group that did a faux attack on them. There was lots of blanks being fired, smoke bombs going off, flares released and of course this attracted a huge crowd. As soon as people heard that machine gun fire, the locals swarmed to see.

Next-door neighbour Martin got to see another display up close as he was judging the flower competition. From his description though it was pretty ordinary. There were people entering with a single rose in a wine bottle, and that being half wilted. Out of the 35 categories, he seemed to think that between our gardens, scrounging together what we had and arranging them, we could of won about half of the categories.

There were all the local companies making a presence with their own pavilions, selling their respective show bags full of the usual rubbish. There were the government departments telling people of the latest in technology so you can grow kau kau or bananas better - not that there is much problem there. Down the back was the entertainment area, which consisted of the ferris wheel and giant slippery dip. And the behind them was the practice area for the sing-sing which was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

I couldn't be bothered to hang around for the sing-sing as I figured that I had already seen the Goroka show and to me that would beat this hands down. For starters at Goroka you can mingle with the performers, get up close, talk to them, have your photo taken with them all for the same price as the entrance ticket (five kina). Here though it would cost 150 Kina to get a "photographers pass" so you could enter the arena with them and do the same. Forget it.

All up the experience was akin to the ones I had as a kid going to the Gresford or Dungog shows and watching the events there. Obviously there were quite a few differences but there were too many similarities than not. Pity though that they didn't have the tractor pulls, which is always a good event. I sound like a real country bumkin now, don't I.