013-06: Curious visitors
|Allison: "Once our
completed, I had hoped that life would 'settle into normal' and that I
would be able to quietly begin to observe and record 'Maring everyday
life' without interruptions. Looking back, I now realize that my idea
of 'everyday life' was based upon growing up in a society where
activities were carefully planned in advance and everybody's activities
were coordinated by neat schedules."
|What I considered
"interruptions," turned out to be central features of Maring life.
There were two kinds:
012-05: Marek greets a visiting dignitary.
|First, there were visits.
only did the local people come by to see how we were getting along,
there were also visits of people from other clans. I was only slowly
getting to know all of the 80 residents in the Fungai clan territory.
The last thing I wanted to be confronted with was having to get to know
an apparently never-ending number of other people. Yet these visitors
were either relatives of the local people or men on traditional trading
expeditions, and, thus, normal parts of the world I needed to learn
012-08: Luluai Warai, on an expedition
Karam area near Simbai, carries two live piglets for trade.
012-09: Each small, furry, brown
piglet had been
carefully wrapped in
banana fibre for safe transport.
|The second kind of "interruption" was
of the times," and, unfortunately for me, we ourselves were among those
just as interested in learning about our way of life as we were in
learning about theirs. Indeed, we had discovered during the
deliberations as to where we would settle, as well as during the
building of our house, that as many people as possible wished to
contribute their work so they could earn valued trade goods and money.
These items were fast becoming part of the traditional trade and
041-32: Luluai Pfun distributes salt to men who have helped build our
|And so, I should not
surprised at the number of visitors who came to see us. They arrived
along the narrow trails connecting the Simbai and Jimi Valleys, and
they came along the Kiap Road which passed directly beneath Gunts Yard.
Those from enemy clans kept on going, but many others climbed the
ladder into the yard and came right up to our house to meet us,
whatever the time of day.
008-04: Women from Fogaikump peer into the front porch of the Vaydas'
|Sometimes I wished
that a storm
would blow up, ruffling the leaves of the banana trees which lined the
edge of the yard, obscuring the view with curtains of rain. As the
Maring did not "walk about" much in bad weather, heavy rain would offer
a promise of time alone to talk, to work, even to have a nap
undisturbed. But the variability of the weather always caught us off
guard and, after an hour or two of rain, the clouds would dissipate and
we would be "on display" again.
1999-2011 Allison Jablonko.
All Rights Reserved.