As in many other places there are times of joy and celebration as well as times of great sorrow when large numbers of people come to share the joy or provide comfort. This week was we saw both take place. We were not back to the village long before we heard about a car accident that took two young lives. One was an 18 year-old from our village. There were hundreds of people who came from all over New Ireland to support the family at their time of loss. It was a time for us to see the community coming to the aid of the family. People brought pigs and other food to cook for the funeral feast. As people came from other villages they brought food and money to contribute. It was moving to see the way everyone came to support the family at this time of grief.
Just a few days later there was a big celebration. A man, one of the leaders in the church, has been married for many years, but never paid the bride-price. It was as if the marriage was recognized by the church but not by their families. A big feast was planned and money was collected by the man’s family to pay the bride-price. After the money was collected the man with his clan with him went to see the clan of his wife’s family. With a lot of ceremony he paid the bride-price. The picture here is one of the clan leaders telling a story as part of the bride-price is being paid. This was another example of how the community had come together to help support this marriage bring the two clans together.