03 March 2004

Morobe Field Diary, August 1976: A Month of Fridays the 13th

Yesterday, Friday the 13th, was no worse than the rest of the days of August, which is month of 31 Fridays the 13th by reckoning of the people along this coast. Em taim nogut: planti sik i kamap, solwara i sulukim nambis, pik i kaikai man, pis i siutim man, bikpela ren i kam wasim bris, kano i go lus, kainkain samting nogut ['It's a bad time: many illnesses arise, the sea erodes the beach, a pig bites a man, a fish stings a man, a big rain washes out a bridge, a canoe drifts loose, every kind of bad thing']. And it's all true. A fever is going around and has found me among its many victims. It really laid me low and I still haven't fully recovered. I would advise anyone else doing fieldwork along the coast south of Lae to spend August in Lae or Ukarumpa or something. The SILers working on Kaiwa told me in July they planned to stay in Ukarumpa until September to avoid these hazards.

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