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06 February 2014


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A beautiful piece Gary. It also took me back to my childhood and the holidays my siblings and I spent with our grandmother in Kokoda.

Fond memories of fishing for ingono, playing in Maiadi or one of the many rivers in and around Kokoda, picnics eating burnt bananas with dry coconut and a tin of meat, climbing guava trees and skidding though wet slippery grass during an afternoon downpour.

A simple life, but oh so much fun.

Governor of Oro, I enjoyed reading this after hibernating in the mountains of Simbu for two months.

Our society survived thousands of years without modern medication but unfortunately formal education and cultural imperialism have wiped away all good traditional knowledge of healing and nourishment and everything else that sustained life in the last 40 000 years.

If we had retained this knowledge bank we could have been treated in our backyards instead of going to expensive hospitals where we lose half or all our fortnight's pay for western knowledge and medication.

That is a good idea Bernard. Someone needs to start up a College of PNG Traditional Medicine.

I remember one of my Keravat girls teaching me what to do when I scratched my leg when I was out hiking in the bush. You had to find a certain very young shoot of a fern which had a "bracken" like foliage and break it up with your fingers and squeeze out the juice on your scratch, then it wouldn't become infected. I think she might have been Tolai but I'm not sure.

Once I saw stung badly by the stinging nettle bush but the locals showed me the other bush nearby that would relieve the pain.

There are so many traditional medicines. Maybe somebody has already collected and published them. I seem to remember reading it some somewhere.

A Heath Extension Officer at a rural clinic in Bogia can prescribe a traditional remedy while waiting for the supply of new Western medical drugs.

The art of traditional medicine.

Chinese medical colleges have degree programs for both modern and traditional medicine.

PNG has forsaken the indigenous knowledge of traditional remedies for Western remedies.

A vivid picture, Gary. Thanks.

Wonderful writing Gary. You have really inspired me to try to start writing some stories from my early life.

Pity the tribal remedies have not been recorded somewhere. They might be needed again if the drugs the government buys from dodgy companies fail, as well they might!

I also loved cooking those red plantain bananas and last night tried to capture the memories by cooking a local banana in (wait for it) - butter, brown sugar and sherry. The toffee was marvellous but the Aussi banana was a "pale shadow" of those wonderful PNG bananas.

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