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Life

Our People
The Kiwai people, who live on islands in the Fly River delta, are noted for their sea going abilities and interesting dances. Face painting and body ornamentation are common among the people of Papua New Guinea. Song and dance occupy a place of prominence in village life as well as in their Christian ceremonies.

There are 738 dialects in Papua New Guinea with the major languages being Melanesian Pidgin and Hiri Motu.

Due to a border designation that followed the Fly River, people of the same tribe have been separated into Papua New Guinea and Indonesia which has resulted in refugee problems for the diocese. There are approximately 12,000 to 15,000 refugees in the Western Province.

Some villages are located a distance from the Fly River because it floods so far over its banks. Villagers who build close to the river build their huts on pylons high above the muddy river banks. They move frequently due to changes in the course of the river. Life along the Fly River is far from ideal. The Fly flows through wetlands where mosquitos and crocodiles appear to be the most successful inhabitants.

Papua New Guineans portray their rich and artistic culture in personal adornment. They decorate their bodies for celebrations creating an aura or atmosphere associated with such celebrations. They make wonderful use of plumage, fur, feathers, shells, animal teeth and bones. The use of color in painting faces and bodies is striking. The application of ochres, lime, clay and strong pigments produce a kaleidoscope of colors.

Men, whose noses have been pierced, wear a boar’s tusk, a small tube of bamboo or a polished white nose peg. Hallowed out hard-shelled tree seeds are attached to arm or leg bands, or bunched, for use as rattles. Men and women wear a variety of necklaces and pendants.