Life from Meiko's Bank

Marek and I always enjoyed passing by and exchanging greetings with Meiko, the oldest man of the Fungai clan.

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 Kondibia’s 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 Kondibia's yard.

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 new pulpul.

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 in 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 his mother.


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 the path.

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 resting nearby.

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.

Composed in August, 2011


    Copyright © 1999-2011 Allison Jablonko. All Rights Reserved.