10 February 2004

Morobe Field Diary, May 1976 Trip to Kui

The [M.V.] Sago pulled 4 canoes to Kui, 2-1/2 coves away toward Lae just inland from Lasanga Island. The ride took about an hour and cost the kaunsil, his wife & canoe & me 70 toea [100 toea = 1 kina]. The occasion was a meeting of the Malalo Paris of the Lutheran church here.

The first time I saw Kui was in the middle of the nite and I could only see a few houses, a broken down wharf and a lamp or two. This time it looked quite splendid indeed. It stretches along a cove twice as wide as Siboma's and deep-watery and waitsan-dy [Tok Pisin waitsan 'sand'] with a large school ground in the middle. There are really three subvillages: the main one Kela who came to Kui to go to church from Buso. Apparently Siboma had the only church but it was a bit of a long way so they split the difference and started a settlement and later a school at Kui. The school is Standard 1-6 and serves Paiawa, Siboma & Buso and of course Kui. The kaunsil has 2 sons and 2 daughters there.

The trip back was exactly what I hoped for and dreaded. We paddled, the kaunsil, his wife & me. When we set out at 8:00 (so the school kids could help us pull the canoe down to the water) I envisioned an all day affair with possibly a siesta midway and a hot sun (aye, that it was). And I only had my lotion, not my sunscreen. But my hat protected my face, a towel covered my knees and my feet were in the canoe so only my arms got really cooked. Oh, it felt good tho to paddle like a machine. I conked out when I got back but am none the worse for wear and am on my way toward getting some useful callouses on my hands. They had to force me to rest sometimes but we did the trip in 2 hours with two rest periods when I wasn't pulling so my arms are cooked but not blistered.

The water was clear down deep and the coral formations beat the Honolulu Glass Bottom Boat ride. Very small bright blue fish abound here, lots of others come and go. We wrestled with a [large] clam a bit on the way but let it go. The kaunsil had his shotgun ready but the birds seemed to be on to him, so no bird meat.

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