It has been so fun to share with the people here in Phoenix the key things that makes South-Africa distinct from the US – speaking about the wildlife in South-Africa, some of the food that’s different, various temperatures and landscapes, traditions we have and so forth. Just like South-Africa and Arizona have peculiarly unique aspect about them, so PNG has those interesting things!
1. Papua New Guinea is the home of the Birds of Paradise – anybody recognize these from Planet Earth?? They are probably some of the most amazing birds you’ll ever see in your life. You can see a video of these incredible birds here. A male Raggiana bird of paradise is on the Papua New Guinea flag. The poisonous bird, the Hooded Pitohui, is also found in Papua New Guinea. Beneath are 2 different kinds of Bird of Paradise.
2. Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse place on earth! PNG has 850 different LANGUAGES. Speak about feeling foreign with every 1 mile radius you enter, right? Most people in PNG can speak the well developed trade language – Tok Pisin.
3. Papua New Guinea is the Second largest island, right next to Greenland (though comparatively much smaller) It has a population of about 8 million people. The following comparisons are made using The True Size
Papua New Guinea compared to Greenland
South Africa in comparison to PNG
Arizona in comparison to PNG
4. Papua New Guinea is on the “Ring of Fire” meaning that it is in an area that is on the edge of the tectonic plates of the earth, and subject to volcanoes and earthquakes as these plates are colliding with one another.
5. Papua New Guinea is a RAINFOREST with Tropical Weather. The most rainfall is in the Highlands of PNG (Where the Finisterre Mountain Range is at) The highlands have an average annual precipitation varying between 2,000mm and 5,000mm (79 to 197 inches) Where there’s a lot of rain, there’s a lot of clouds. Clouds will literally roll through our house in the Maweroro village – I think that is pretty cool! The humidity in PNG ranges between 70 and 90 degrees.
6. BANANAS in PNG! In the Mibu village in the Finisterre mountains, where the Tartaglia family lived, there were 30 different kinds of bananas. I might want to start getting creative with banana recipes! In PNG there is a banana plant, Musa ingens, with mature bunches of fruit weighing from 30 to 60 kg (but apparently it is not good to eat because the fruit are full of hard black seeds.) In the village they love to wrap their food in banana leaves to cook them in.
This is but a foretaste of some things we may experience in PNG. It has been very enjoyable to start learning more about my future residing country, PNG. But as Christians, any country we live in is in ONLY a temporal residing country (1 Cor 7:29-31) for “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) Ultimately, more than anything else in life, more than tasting funky bananas and possibly seeing flamboyant birds, I’m eager and excited for the day when we will share the Gospel with the people of Maweroro, and praying that they too will come to know my precious Savior and that we will together long for the day that we will see Him face to face and enter into our eternal home!