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.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Meri, Meri, Be Quite Wary

We had a little episode yesterday in the office and it has got me thinking again about the local women. One thing I have gathered since being here is that you don't want to mess with a Melanesian woman when they are mad. Hell hath no fury like a Melanesian meri.

The said episode was a student disputing a payment for a transcript. She said she had already paid it but we could not find any evidence. The end result was her standing in the office waving her arms about and screaming in loud, angry, rapid and aggressive pidgin. Quite a sight. It took a while to get her calm and out the door.

Like I said it got me thinking about the women here and how you don't want to mess with them. I have heard quite a few stories of these termagants and they all scare me.

One that sticks out in my mind was last year when a woman accused another of adultery with her husband. Apparently there was quite a rage that occurred and the end result was that the accused woman ended up dead from being stabbed. The scary part was that this all happened in the Mt Hagen airport terminal in front of normal passengers waiting to catch their flight. The blood seeping from the body filled most of the terminal floor and ended up with the other passengers huddling against a wall.

Another incident with a similar plot-line occurred here in Lae and to someone I know. He is an ex-pat and had a local girlfriend. He broke up with this original girlfriend and found himself another. The consequence was that the original girlfriend came back and attacked his new girlfriend at a PMV bus-stop with a knife. No death occurred this time but she did have a stab wound injury.

There are quite a few other incidents that have happened to people I know regarding their girlfriends to make think "hold on this is something to be wary about". Which is what I have been.

Perhaps I am missing out because of it. But then again why take on something that will ultimately end in pain. I have no intentions of staying in PNG forever, so therefore I think it is particularly unfair for me to start something only to end it a few months down the track.

Other volunteers before me have braved the cross cultural differences and made a go at love with a local woman/man, but they usually end up staying in PNG indefinitely, because of the problems associated in taking them away and because they obviously like it here. The problems with the PNG spouse leaving are not just because of immigration issues, but also because of the close-nit families that PNGns grow up in. Taking them away would be particularly hard for them.

I am not saying I am not impartial to local women. To start off with I used to think of them as not particularly attractive, but like a lot of my views towards PNG this has mellowed and I can now see beauty everywhere. But that doesn't necessarily make me want to start something. Besides I know all about their temper now.