15 years ago Air Niugini gave me a free educational tour package to Mt Hagen which was my first oversea tour and also most unforgettable tribal experience- thank God for his divine arrangement.
We had to connect flight in Pt Moresby before flying to the very cooling Mt Hagen which was still very un-tourism-polluted. Lots of very warm, friendly and simply cheerful tribal aborigines in modern colourful clothes. Along the mountain roadsides, you will see many churches of different denominations, mission schools and open market selling all kind of pets which I couldnt figure out were they selling rabbits and puppies for food or pets.
In the most luxurious mountain resort which we stayed, there was a real cosy romantic fireplace at the hotel lobby. It was an interesting experience to chat around the lobby with their authentic black mountain coffee. The lobby and in fact the whole resort was well decorated with beautiful wood carving which they call it "Story boards" selling at very respectable prices.
My biggest mistake then was trying to swim in the very boring and lonely pool which turned out to be empty for a good reason - the water was too cold for any sensible person to swim in. Embarassed by some waiters laughing at me.
One of the highlights was to have Barbecue Lunch with the tribal people whose womenfolk still walk around topless despite of the near 0degree weather.
They excavated a huge pit in the ground and threw hot rocks which has been heated over fire. Then layers of banana leaves are laid over the rocks before the actual food of chicken, pork, various kind of veggies incl. sweet potatoes, tapioca and bananas were thrown on the leaves and covered with more banana leaves.
ITs the most healthy way of cooking without any saturated oil or no worries about cholesterol. The food were eaten with their staple food - potatoes. NO seasoning or marinating so you can guess how bland the food tasted though the chicken was real fresh and tasty.
Many of this tribal people were protestants or catholics but many with a mixture of animism belief attached. Mark Wai,a middle aged guy in tribal clothes - simply leaves made me wonder were there any brief beneath those leaves? He spoke fluent English and even shared how he separated from his second wife to be reunited with his first wife after knowing the LOrd Jesus who had transformed his life. Its a real joy to hear such testimonies how God works in the hearts of "wild mountain people".
IT was also an eye opener how such mountain tribes had so little and yet so joyful and contented in their simple lives. Children playing in the wild rivers without their parents but just trusting their safety by faith.
If the airfare has lowered below USD 300 by now I will love to fly there again to meet Mark Wai and his tribal community in Mt Hagen.
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