Life from Meiko's Bank
and I always enjoyed passing by
and exchanging greetings with Meiko, the oldest man of the
150-32: Meiko and his granddaughter, Kringa.
|Whatever we said, the exchange always
ended with Meiko’s cheerfully
matter-of-fact statement that he would soon no longer be sitting there.
We should not expect to find him if we left Gunts and returned in the
future, for he would certainly be dead.
Meiko lived with his son, Kondibia, and,
from the edge of Kondibia’s
yard, he had a lively view of what was going on in the main path
through Tenegump where it passed in between the yards of
family, uphill, and Dinige’s family, downhill.
Activities flowed in and out of both yards and overlapped on the path.
Resting at the edge of the path, leaning on
the fence of her own yard, Kwingn could easily converse with
whoever passed by and with whoever was sitting along the edge of
154-03_04: Kwingn chats with people passing by as Kanuk plays on the fence to their yard.
|One day, Rango and Kai were sitting on
the bank busy making cord for a
|153-22: Kai measures out a bundle of gaua which was twisted with possum fur.
|153-26: Rango, with Piag in her lap, makes lengths of furry gaua.
|Kwingn’s large pig had settled
down next to her in the main path below the bank where Kai and Rango were working.
154-06_07: Kwingn cleans its fur and removes insects from the largest
pig of the family.
|Rango was finding it difficult to work
with baby Piag in her lap, so
she handed him to down to Kai to play near Kwingn.
154-0x_00: From Meiko’s bank, Rango hands Piag down to Kai
the path below.
154-08_09: Kai settles down at the edge of the path, letting Piag crawl among the leaves.
154-10_11: Kai makes Piag laugh by bouncing him on her belly.
154-12_13: Kai, lying on a banana leaf, steadies Piag with a firm grip on his upper arm.
|Meanwhile, Dunawai lay down for a nap.
We were surprised
that the path was now quite fully “occupied.” It would have been hard for a traveler to pass by.
154-24_25: Dunawai takes a short nap just under the bank of Kondibia's yard.
154-25_26: Grandfather Meiko has been watching all the activity.
|Play over, Kai took baby Piag back to
154-26_27: Kai hands baby Piag up the bank towards his mother.
|Just about that time, Kwiank,
Dunawai’s little brother, came along with
a lizard he had just shot. He ignored the half-grown cassowary in
154-35_36: Kwiank gives a lizard to Kanuk as Gunia watches.
|Meanwhile, Kondibia’s wife,
At’ema, was setting up a frame on which to
string all the fringes of the new pulpul. The family piglet was
158-30: Kringa watches her mother preparing to make a pulpul
|Of all the toddlers in the Fungai clan,
Kringa was the shyest. When we came into her family’s yard, she
dared approach us only because
her father or mother gave her confidence.
158-21: Kringa crawls bravely toward Marek, her father behind her and her mother at the other end of the yard.
151-04, 151-05, 151-09: Meiko takes care of Kringa, his
granddaughter, encouraging her not to be shy of us.
1999-2011 Allison Jablonko.
All Rights Reserved.