Man bilong dispela Tari meri i dai pinis.  Sori tru. by bobfoto

Man bilong dispela Tari meri i dai pinis. Sori tru.

When a Huliman dies, a Huli husband dies and a Huli wife needs to mourn so that she can take the next step in her life. Depending on the status of the husband and how he fared as a warrior, a house or small shelter is built over his grave. In the small house, the Huli man's spirit will live in a restless state. The Huli wife and her sisters will stand watch and guard the spirit until the mourning period is over and this all depends on Job's Tears.

Job's Tears are the name of the shell and seed necklaces that the women are wearing here. The Huli woman who stands covered in grey clay and bilums is the wife and she will wear upwards of 25 kilograms of shells and seeds around her neck, each day while standing vigil at her husband's grave, she will remove one strand of shells, until all of the strands have been removed. This will take months of mourning. Finally when she has shed all of her Job's Tears, her mourning process is complete and she can wash herself of the clay, and remove the bilums and she can return back to tending her vegetables and feeding her pigs... she can even go out and find another husband.

*When I visited the Huli, another couple I knew were staying at the same location as I and we travelled around together. The couple had two gorgeous young girls whom were blonde of hair and blue of eye. The Hulis could not get enough of these two cute kids and even the mourning widow here smiled and raised a tiny wave to the two girls. I have another photo of this quartet all with smiles all waving and staring, just fixated with the two radiant children, but I thought this photo best represented this sombre period of their lives. We all stayed at a really well run resort high up in the mountains called Ambua Lodge (google it for some more cool photos) and I stayed in many of the Lodges that were run by the same company throughout PNG and they offered some great tours, guides and spectacular scenery. This guided tour to see the Hulis was staged to some extent, however some of the 'actors' had lives to live so often, before seeing the Huli Wigmen and these women, our Guide would ask questions as to what was happening out in the Huli community that day. While it was one of the more 'touristy' experience of my time in PNG, the stories and the people I met in Tari moved me powerfully. It was an emotionally draining few days to see life carried out this way and it has been a real pleasure to share these photographs with you, dear viewer*

Photo taken 18 November 2006. Title reads: This lady's husband has died, I'm sorry.
what a great group of folk .. a world away from many of us Jason, thanks for sharing
November 8th, 2012  
@steveh - You're welcome Steve.
November 8th, 2012  
How different and how interesting! Their lives are without tv, dishwashers etc and obviously focus on customs!
November 8th, 2012  
@maggiemae - mobile phones are becoming popular... technology is sneaking in.
November 8th, 2012  
@bobfoto too bad about the tech. Sometimes I'd like to ditch it for another lifestyle...sometimes. :)

Great stories and wonderful photo. I can't get enough of the face paint and all the wonderful colors and traditional decorations worn here. Keep them coming.
November 8th, 2012  
@geocacheking - I do have a good story coming up that I am sure you will like Cameron... all about life and a lack of technology. Round about the 21st of November... I think.
November 8th, 2012  
@bobfoto Rock on! Looking forward to it. :D
November 8th, 2012  
Wonderful image. =)
November 8th, 2012  
@malenababy - Thanks Malena #:0)
November 8th, 2012  
wow
November 8th, 2012  
@houdiniem - thanks.
November 8th, 2012  
Thanks for the story. It must be so cool to learn about all of these customs first hand.
November 8th, 2012  
@5unflow3r - You're welcome Trina and yes, it was cool to be there and meet these wonderful people. I was a shy man back then, and kinda wonder how I would approach things today?
November 8th, 2012  
Another fantastic story.. I have missed your encounters whilst being consumed with uni work.. This shot is amazing.. a precious and profound moment captured.
November 8th, 2012  
@michelleyoung - glad you have your priorities sorted! Glad I didn't have 365 or fcbk back when I was a student!
November 8th, 2012  
Unfortunatley it means I have to drop both when I start drowing in course work.. But it is always great to know I can pick this back up, just like I was never away.. Its a great community.. Love your new profile pic on FB by the way.. The style suits you :)
November 8th, 2012  
very interesting but what a HARD life for Huli women. Hope things hv changed fir the better.
November 8th, 2012  
@michelleyoung - I think the crop helps on fcbk... that was a few years back in Madang and it was 5:30am and the sun was so bright and was so hungover! Even when I hit the shutter, I thought "not a good time to take a selfie"

@tooki - Things are changing Tooki, slowly, but changes are creeping in...
November 8th, 2012  
Jason this is an epic image and an epic story to go with it! well done
November 8th, 2012  
Intriguing capture and terrific story, Jason!
November 8th, 2012  
@toast - Why thank you Weng. :)
November 8th, 2012  
That's it ! New Guinea is going in my travel wish-list! Your photos and stories are way too enchanting .. want to experience it all live ! x
I am truly a fan .. waiting every day for a new photo + story to learn something new :)
November 8th, 2012  
Love reading your stories and seeing your photos of these people whos lifestyles are so different to ours. I take it that they don't mind being photographed!
November 8th, 2012  
@grammyn - Thanks Katy :)

@windmill - Yana, I was lucky enough to visit every state/province of PNG, but it took 3 years of living there to do so... it would take some good planning to get to see the most of it. I know of a few tour operators who could give you a fair look around.

@mejbronant - Thanks Mair, I did ask our guide if it were appropriate and he asked the ladies and they said yes.
November 8th, 2012  
Fascinating. They don't mind being photographed?
November 8th, 2012  
@michaelelliott - it was kind of a pre-arranged tour, but there were never any guarantees that certain events were happening in the community, so not every tour groups gets to see the same people. All depends on their lives. They would have been paid or compensated for us to visit, and I did ask permission to take their photograph. I think they didn't mind as long as they got to cuddle the blonde girls!
November 8th, 2012  
I'm always excited to read the story that goes with the picture every time I see you posted a shot! Another great story! I feel liked I gots some learned tonight!
November 8th, 2012  
@bobfoto - haha nice angle they got going.
November 9th, 2012  
Ahhh , so it was a bit of a set up. That was what I meant by schtick. I guess it's an americanism.
November 9th, 2012  
wonderful image and description.
November 9th, 2012  
Another great story, and another view of the world most of us will never see in person. Thank you.
November 9th, 2012  
Goodness!!! Your photos are amazing. Im a HUGE fan!!!
November 9th, 2012  
@livin365 - Thanks SNRT. :)

@michaelelliott - the blonde kids were great currency!

@tigerdreamer - Its not Disneyland... and once this widow removes her Job's Tears she will go back to her life, and the Guide will have to negotiate with the community to see if there is anyone else willing to share their grief. So they say that sometimes a year will pass without sharing this part of their culture with the tourists... Same with the Wigmen, once they have their 3 Wigs, they're off to go find a woman. ( I daresay a little bit of acting was involved )

@daguerre @rvwalker - Thanks Lisa and Ross :)

@aprilmilani - That's sweet of you to say April, thank you :)
November 9th, 2012  
Job's tears--so fitting!
November 9th, 2012  
This is awesome, Jason - the picture and the story.
November 9th, 2012  
Another good "story" shot, Jason. Thanks for sharing!
November 9th, 2012  
@lorihiro - yeah, I reckon a modern influence here... I doubt if Job's Tears are a traditional Huli word? The Missionaries were clever in PNG by letting the tribes know that their traditional values and beliefs were created by God, the same time the man upstairs invented planes, clothing and guns.

@sangwann - Thanks Dione, cheers!

@cmuir1963 - You're welcome Cindy, thank you. :)
November 9th, 2012  
thanks for another great lesson jason! :) it´s a honour to be your viewer/reader/follower! :)
November 9th, 2012  
@agentzuckerguss - Oh thank you Katia, that is really sweet of you to say so! :D Now I've got a big smile for the whole day!
November 9th, 2012  
another look into this culture.....that is slowly slipping away (thank you, missionaries). very somber shot........very interesting how all different cultures react to death and grieving in different ways. thank you so much for continuing to share your experiences and thoughts.
November 9th, 2012  
@sticksandstones - Ahhh the M word... there used to be three types of people who went to PNG; Missionaries, Mercenaries and Maniacs. You can change Mercenary to Miner these days.

The Missionaries totally stuffed up Australian Aboriginal culture in what appears to be only just maybe 20 years, made a real cock up of what was a beautiful culture and a magnificent race of humanity, but they learnt their lesson by the time they got into PNG, and well they kinda did some weird things over there, but PNG culture and its people remained strong. The Missionaries introduced the idea that God had created their culture, their beliefs and their history, and I think the PNGeans accepted that pretty easily so the two do kind of sit alongside each other, in relative harmony. Everyone in PNG believes in God, no Atheists there! I am bitter about what Missionaries did in Australia, but I kinda don't mind what happened in PNG.

Mobile phones is what will kill off culture in PNG. The Digicel revolution is 4 years old and very destructive/progressive. Your choice.
November 9th, 2012  
Amazing story, this one!
November 10th, 2012  
@bobfoto my pleasure! :)
November 11th, 2012  
@kjarn - thanks Kathy A :)
November 11th, 2012  
@agentzuckerguss - still smiling here!
November 11th, 2012  
What a sweet and sad custom... she really does look full of grief. I imagine it's a neat way to time these things but doesn't really allow for the heart to mend at its own rate. Maybe it helps them to pace it. Wonderful photos, I feel like you've visited a forgotten tribe in a previously undiscovered country.
November 11th, 2012  
@filsie65 - I can remember walking away from these ladies just not sure what to think, I kind of felt hollow inside, as if I had taken everything for granted up until that moment.... and then a Superb Bird of Paradise flew by into a tree, and our guide got so excited, because he had never seen one this close to the village before. They have been hunted out of the area and you normally have to go deep into the jungle to see them. The Huli Wig Doctor is wearing plumage from the Superb on his forehead.
November 11th, 2012  
That's an incredible story really... to think of the mourning process is amazing, and to think what they must think and meditate on while doing the ritual.
November 12th, 2012  
@hellcat - You're amongst my November project now. I said it was gonna be cool... there is some amazeballs to come.
November 12th, 2012  
I am all for mourning and grieving in any way you chose but I am very glad I did not need to do this. Mind you, I wish I had some sort of "thing" I could wear that meant I wasn't forever faced with the question of "so what does your husband do". (Response may vary between "not much" to instant tears).
January 1st, 2013  
@corymbia - Oh Amanda. :(
January 1st, 2013  
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