Gathan Beaga

bilum bilong beki

My cousin Ross lives in Papua New Guinea, working for a conservation NGO. He’s an interesting guy: he really needs his own blog. For various reasons, including his own safety, he’s probably not likely to get himself one. But we love hearing his stories whenever he comes home.

bilum bilong beki

One Christmas he gave all the females of the family these rather nice handcrafted string tote bags, or bilums in Pidgin. I need to ask Ross what they are made of – but they are made using all local materials and and dyes.

Becky ended up not only using hers a lot, but really admiring the art and craft of them. She asked him if she could get some more. So Ross emailed back a photo of several for sale through some PNG National friends of his. By coincidence the three Becky chose turned out to be one from each of the three wives of the local head man.

The other object between them on the far wall is something else, a baby carrier that Ross sent over when Rosa was born.

So now they are displayed on our wall. I imagine their makers must think us pretty strange for spending good money on these things and then not using them…

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