Friday, October 1, 2010

Beautiful Papua

* Once again, these are not my photos. I'm drawing on the gorgeous photos of friends that went home to visit this summer. These were taken by my friend Theresa, who married a high school classmate of mine.

Papua is stunningly beautiful. It is near the equator, and yet has mountains with glaciers. It has swamplands, beautiful beaches, rain forests, and stunning wildlife.

As a teenager I didn't take the beauty for granted. Both when I was at home and when we were on vacations or trips to the villages in the interior of the island I would take long walks, just soaking in the beauty of the place.

From papua

One thing I didn't appreciate, though, was the incredible heat of our coastal town. I loved the mountain villages. They were clear and cool and refreshing, and I even loved it when the rain and fog would roll in. Something about that enveloped atmosphere always made me feel protected and safe.

From papua

Papuans are beautiful too. Look at these faces:
From papua

I love those grins:
From papua

And this guy... he'd been taught to give "thumbs up" to Americans, but really his grin is what kills it.

From papua

From papua

And then there's this guy, in classic Papuan garb complete with his bow and arrows. He's grinning too!

From papua

Places that are poor hold such contrasts. Such joy... joy that breaks out in laughter and fun. That is side-by-side with great burdens of disease, death, pain, etc.

From papua

3 comments:

Camels & Chocolate said...

WOW. That first photo is just mind-blowing! I can't wait to get there myself...someday...

Aunt Barb said...

Kacie..... Uncle Paul and I were just in Sentani for a weekend. (We were asked to run an errand there.)I 100% agree with you about so much of the beauty in Papua. But golly, the towns are so ghetto. Is it the same as when we left 3 years ago or am I just seeing it with "stateside eyes."? I thought of Ailie's in-laws who I have always wanted to take to Papua to see our world. I kept thinking "Ewww..... I don't want them to see this!" Could we helicopter from the airport to the beach? Jump on a plane to the interior and skip the coastal towns? There has been enormous growth in the last 3 years. No sign of a recession there!! Many more people, stores, motorbikes, cars..... It took some of the rose tint from my glasses. I don't know why I'm even sharing this with you. It doesn't hurt that you have a more idyllic view of Papua. I don't need to tarnish that. But just remember it's beautiful in the way that America is beautiful - parts of it are breathtaking, and parts of it are horrific. Itu manusia.

Kacie said...

true... but then... some of the ugliness is beautiful to me when it is connected with a childhood I can't go back and visit very often. When Emily and I were saying goodbye to Papua we drove the motorbike all around Sentani saying goodbye to thinks like the big pothole we always went around, the stinky ditches, the spot that was always a traffice jam, the spot the drunk guys hung out at....

I do think Papua is beautiful, but you're right, Sentani and the cities aren't always... but still, I do love them, because they were my childhood.