The art of sleeping in a treehouse

by thoughtfulconservative

Part 3 of Danna Harmon’s Jungle Diary is up at the Christian Science Monitor web site. To catch folks up, Ms. Harmon has been trekking the Papuan jungles searching for a remote tribe that may still practice cannibalism. Prat one and part two links are at the beginning of the article.

My interest? I spent 21 years off and on, in a remote area on the eastern side of the island, the nation of Papua New Guinea. I want to compare notes. My looks can be found here and here.

First quote of note,

[In the evening we] hang out entertaining one another and eating beetle larvae (them) or sandwich cookies filled with pineapple cream (us) until bedtime.

Cookies are great but I don’t think beetle larvae are too bad, either, especially the younger ones. Melt in your mouth good almost.

The next passage tells about what you’ll find in a house,

The scenes within are usually chaotic, filled with chatting, coughing, and spitting, as well as babies crying and small pigs and dogs making a racket.

This includes church services, which, as you might guess, makes them exciting.


I sit with the women of the family who are topless, wear skirts made of sago fiber, decorate their hair with tiny mice bones and tails, and wear dog’s teeth as necklaces [very valuable to them, if they’re anything like the group we lived with]

Another one,

Bedtime happens at about six, when it suddenly becomes pitch dark. I try reading with a flashlight for a while, but the light attracts bugs that go flying directly in my eyes, and I give up.

Mosquito nets don’t even help, especially with the “no-see-ums,” the little biting bugs that are vitually invisible. We also used to wrap ourselves with white sheets to better see the “mozzies.”

And my favorite of this article,

In what seems like the middle of the night, I wake and watch the old men preparing sago patties on a smoldering fire nearby – spitting into their palms to knead the root. A mental note regarding eating sago patties from here on out is made. A little girl with evidence of a fungal skin infection has cuddled up near me. I pull my hand out of my sleeping sheet to see what time it is: 10 p.m.

Ah, New Guinea!

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