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kokoda track 1
kokoda track 2
kokoda track 3
kokoda track 4
kokoda track 5
kokoda track 6

popondetta 1
popondetta 2

oro bay 1
oro bay 2


silanga 1
silanga 2

ulamona 1
ulamona 2

rabaul 1
rabaul 2
rabaul 3

new ireland

dalom 1
dalom 2

nusa 1
nusa 2

Page 1

One of the most intense experience with people from PNG we had in Silanga. Silanga is a very small place, hard to find in any map. It's not even in the Lonely Planet. On our ship to Kimbe people told us about hot springs in New Britain with Silanga being the best spot to see them. So straight after arrival in Kimbe we jumped on board a PMV and asked the driver to drop us off in Silanga. Luckily he didn't just drop us off on the side of the road. People in PNG take amazing care of you. The people in the PMV, including the driver, promised very quickly to take care of us. So after bringing every passenger who was not from Silanga home, the PMV went back to Silanga with just a few people left. And us. Everybody in Silanga seems to know each other and everybody seems to know father Joe, the catholic priest. We were taken straight to his house near the massive church and father Joe was so kind to offer us to stay in the church's guest house.
It seems like this church rarely has guests so the guest house was now home to a few spiders. But however, the idea to sleep in a proper bed after sleeping on the steel floor of various ships the two nights before was just too tempting to bother about a spider or two.

One of our housemates

Silanga is the name of a little conglomerate of small villages. Decades ago during the time when PNG was German colony it was founded as a catholic mission. The church still is the centre point of all life and the focus of everybody's daily routine. Compared to the few houses around it the church building seemed massive. But father Joe was talking about it being too small and knocking it down and building a bigger one. The next morning we knew what he meant. It was Sunday morning. Everybody, really everybody from all the villages seemed to come for the Sunday service. The church became quickly overcrowded so people just gathered outside. Due to the ingenious architecture of the building (basically all walls were open) 'outside' the church was just as good as 'inside'.
During the service our arrival was announced and so afterwards people came straight to us two. In a surprising act of amazing hospitality, curiosity and interest people sang songs for us and were more than keen to shake hands. Everybody smiling, laughing, in the best of all spirits. I never experienced a shaking-hands session with so many so friendly people before!

Singing songs for the guests of the village

Ready to shake hands?

Waiting for a speech?

People in Silanga

It's very hard to describe the feeling if you are inmidst a gathering of so many smiling people. And you hear the songs they just sing for you. And just the fact alone that you are so interesting because you are a traveller.

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(c) 2009    marco hoffmann, martin poppen