Saturday, August 25, 2012
Despite the off-and-on rain that has been persisting for several weeks the village of Butibam* put on a show this Saturday. I noticed the sign when I drove home a week ago and saw the clearing filled with small stands being built. This initiative by a local village is the first of any of its kind that I have personally come across in Papua New Guinea and it made for the perfect Saturday morning excursion.
We spoke with Carol the organizer who told us she started planning for this three months ago because she wants to make Lae a place that is better. She wants people to be able to walk around freely and safely, to attract more tourists and to enjoy themselves. She’d like to put a similar event on once a month.
In not knowing how safe this would be as a non-member of the community I brought a student who has relatives living in Butibam along with us. It felt safe enough and we probably would have been ok on our own but it’s always a good idea to travel in groups here. The stands displayed various crafts and flowers, many from Carol’s garden. A youth group put on a dance for the crowd and many local businesses helped by sponsoring the event and offering free samples.
*Butibam is one of the true villages in Lae (in contrast to the many settlements). The main difference being that a village is inhabited by people who own their land, a settlement is inhabited by people who are renting the land.