As Europe and the rest of the world is facing huge waves of refugees, Papua New Guineans could well feel like aliens in their own country.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) counts 600 islands, 7 million people and over 800 languages. Only 18 % live in urban centres while most of the population lives in customary communities.
Pursuing my researches on Feng Shui and environmental health, I visited many different areas of PNG in 2015. It is an amazing country with a variety of landscapes. From volcanoes to swamps, mountains to islands – each has its own beauty. Tourism is very slow due to the high level of danger and Port Moresby is rated as one of the 10 most dangerous capital cities in the world.
In PNG, there is no dole (no sit-down money), little welfare and scarce employment. In cities, the minimum wage is the equivalent of +/- 1 Australian Dollar per hour, that is for the lucky ones who have a job. People live from the land in their villages and also in Port Moresby where you can see vegetables growing wherever people can grow them: on the side of the streets, in some hills or in their little gardens. Then, they sit on a little outdoor space and sell their harvest to the pedestrians.
PNG has encountered the modern world like other developing countries, jumping from the Metal Age (they all have machetes there) straight into the Age of Technology. What a shock! In some villages today, I have seen many tribal men proudly walking with their mobile phone in their hand!
Not everyone lives in a village, some of those who pursued their education and working career often may have been moved with their families to major cities. In Port Moresby, expats and some locals live in heavily guarded compounds. Other locals live in other banded areas in basic houses with no electricity and sometimes even without tap water and no bathrooms.
As I walked in the compound where I was staying, indigenous children and teenagers came out and happily talked to me. Our conversations were about their lives, languages, wishes and needs. The compound was mainly housing and industrial buildings, no park for them to play, no place to have fun. They all come initially from villages that they visit again with their families during school holidays… but in the meantime they stay in the compound, in the small house with a very limited outdoor space like everybody else behind pointy fences and barbed wires.
When I asked two teenage girls what they did at home, they answered proudly thinking it was the right answer: “We are watching TV”. – “How sad”, did I reply – “Do you filter the information?”
Tribal people watching TV or other media take everything for real. What is shown on TV is too often bad news, violence, corruption and other money oriented topics: the marketing that makes us think about what we ‘need’ to keep up with the Jones. Seldom it gives good news, education or inspiring ideas unfortunately. What are we all showing to our children? Where is this world going?
They came from paradisaical villages that Westerners today visit while on an expensive cruise liner; they move into a concrete compound in a house shared by too many people, small windows and hardly any soil to plant a papaya tree. They are ‘de-rooted’ and plonked in a city with many other PNG ethnicities which raises the tension levels… Just for the sake of a job, for money. There is hardly any money in their villages!
What do I like about PNG, will you ask me?
Most of the people smile and greet you kindly. Many of them love when you stop and pay attention to their lives and their families.
Do you fear attracting violence? Then so you will. It is the Law of Attraction: you attract what you fear.
Do you feel comfortable and positive to walk and live there? Then you will be happy and see the good things that this country has to offer. That’s what I did.
Feng Shui tips for those living in a small over-crowded concrete house with little or no garden:
1) cut some beautiful photos of landscapes and blue tag them on your walls. Looking at large open space will enlarge your view on life
2) find a place inside or outside your home where you can sit a few moments per day on your own, prepare a little altar or mini garden so you welcome some inner peace
Wherever people live, they can arrange their surroundings to make them feel happy. They don’t need much material possessions: only a few pictures can do the trick!
International Feng Shui Master & Author www.fengshuisteps.com.au