First impressions of Koiari and Orokaiva villages along the Kokoda Trail give little hint of the complex relationships that exist within. The simple life of building, gardening, cooking, nurturing, teaching and healing is underpinned by the complexities of clan relationships and the influence of missionary pastors, traditional lululais’ and sorcerers.
Elders maintain their distance and examine trekkers with furrowed brows and quiet curiosity as they arrive, collapse, rest, hand out a few balloons, ask a few shallow questions, shake hands, and wave goodbye. Most elders speak Motu, some speak Tok Pisin, but their English is often poor or non-existent. This limits their communication to friendly smiles and a wave of the hand. But mostly they just look. [Read more…]