Village on the Edge: Changing Times in Papua New Guinea by Michael French Smith

By Michael French Smith

Kragur village lies at the rugged north shore of Kairiru, a steep volcanic island simply off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. In 1998 the village appeared a lot because it had a few twenty-two years previous while writer Michael French Smith first visited. yet he quickly stumbled on that altering conditions have been shaking issues up. Village at the Edge weaves jointly the tale of Kragur villagers' fight to discover their very own course towards the longer term with the tale of Papua New Guinea's travails within the post-independence period. Smith writes of his personal stories in addition, dwelling and dealing in Papua New Guinea and attempting to comprehend the complexities of an strange lifestyle. to inform a lot of these tales, he delves into ghosts, magic, myths, ancestors, bookkeeping, tourism, the realm financial institution, the Holy Spirits, and the that means of growth and improvement. Village at the Edge attracts at the insights of cultural anthropology yet is written for someone attracted to Papua New Guinea.

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Village on the Edge: Changing Times in Papua New Guinea

Kragur village lies at the rugged north shore of Kairiru, a steep volcanic island simply off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. In 1998 the village seemed a lot because it had a few twenty-two years previous whilst writer Michael French Smith first visited. yet he quickly stumbled on that altering conditions have been shaking issues up.

Extra info for Village on the Edge: Changing Times in Papua New Guinea

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Kragur villagers’ own understanding of Catholicism tended to encourage the kind of painful self-doubts colonialism often sows. Kragur people also, however, had found ways to use Catholicism to assert their independence and moral worth. Looking too sharply askance at Catholicism in Kragur would have made it very difficult for me to understand life there in general. Keeping my anti-mission bias in check also let me accept, without feeling too hypocritical, the considerable assistance and hospitality that mission personnel offered me.

One anthropologist at UPNG suggested that West New Britain Province might be a good place to consider, but someone else told me that the main airfield there was flooded and closed indefinitely. None of the anthropologists, geographers, and others I consulted, however, could think of any reason not to go to the East Sepik Province, as it was now called. So, I secured a letter of introduction to the provincial government from the Institute for Papua New Guinea Studies—the organization then charged with overseeing foreign researchers —and set off for Wewak.

To explain how, I first have to describe religious life in Kragur in more detail. ) —A Kragur villager, 1976 “[God] is different, because you can’t see God, you can’t see his face. Your mother and father, you’ve seen their faces. ” (“[God] i arakain liklik, long wanem yu no lukim God, yu no lukim pes bilongen. Mama papa yu bin lukim pes bilong ol. ”) —Another Kragur villager, 1976 In 1975–1976, Catholicism seemed to permeate life in Kragur and Kragur Catholicism focused on the Virgin Mary. Two missionary priests had established chapters of the Legion of Mary throughout the East Sepik in the 1950s and 1960s and then had left.

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