Sunday, May 28, 2006

Kusebo


View across to Alotau town from top Goilani
I'm not quite sure of the precise moment that I stopped being a Londoner and became a Kusebo! Kusebo means "friend" in the Bwaidoga Language of the People of Goodenough Island in Milne Bay Province - located at the extreme end of Papua Niugini.

I have been married to Agai, a man of the above mentioned domain for the last 24 years and it hasn't been easy, let me tell you that!

Agai Saul  January 2008 at East Cape
On the one hand, it seems that I have married a whole family - not just the man - and as such I am expected to house, feed and entertain whomsoever turns up at our house without notice, needing a bed for a night or two, or three, or more.......
Spouse and I had many arguments about this in the early days. Finally I got smart upon the chance discovery of Good Old English Cookery!
After serving(with a smile of course!) porridge for breaky, macaroni cheese for lunch and meat with three well boiled soggy veg for dinner, nary a dish of rice or kaukau in sight, guests seemed to be inclined to cut their visits to two days maximum and take off to the houses of other relatives.
As a bonus, nobody much favours our residence on subsequent trips to Alotau. By using the Selective Feeding Method, I now control who comes to stay and for how long which keeps the marital relationship sweet!

The concept of housing and how to use it is entirely different in the mind of a Pacific Islander. Here I am in my Dimdim(local term for European) designed house thinking that since our three bedrooms are filled already with ourselves, other family members should tactfully notice that we have no room to accommodate extras.
Kales and Sunema on the verandah of our Alotau home
Not so! We have a huge open plan lounge which can fit six bodies in line at one end if we bump the coffee table up to the TV rack, plus a large veranda able to sleep another eight. Never mind that we are all late for work because of the queue for the bathroom and that it takes forever to prepare breakfast for fourteen guests, it is expected that such a large space be shared! Thank God for discovering the Selective Feeding Method.....

Perhaps it's lucky that being born a Libran, I can see both sides of the fence from where I sit on top. Looking down on one side there are "my" people who have a tendency to treat ethnic others with inverted snobbery, condescension and worse. On the ethnic side of the fence my adopted people look at the rest of the Caucasian populace with some amusement and more than a little jealousy of their economical status.

Self, Sunny Boi, Golden Gurl and Agai 2000
Mind you when it comes to being one half of the mix in a mixed marriage none of the above observations are really helpful. I'm hoping someone will read this blog and share their experiences.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Hey mum! I like what you have written :) Very true and got a few chuckles (and sniggers heh heh) off me.
Love you mum. You are awesome!!!