Papua New Guinea tales

Sun, 08/03/2009 – Michel Fanton

Here we are in Port Moresby promoting “Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi” documentary and filming for our next films.
Port Moresby has a terrible reputation for danger and looks dirty but we like the company on the dingy buses. Apologies to the westerners that do use them and I am sure they must be a few but in our first week on PMV (Public Motor Vehicules) it seems that we were the only white skins riding.

They were masses of Papuans and New Guineans in a multitude of ethnicities riding happily. We conduct interviews while travelling. We travelled to three markets this morning.
We have strangers looking after us all the time wherever we go. As soon as we arrive somewhere we talk to stall holders. We acknowledge even the bad boys, the criminals, called here the Raskols. We eye contact them. It makes it hard for them to show aggression when they have said hello and smiled.
In one first week we have filmed about four hours which is not too bad when you consider the constraints. Today at Boroko market we interviewed a women selling sago rolled in pandanus leaves, a women selling cooked chicken and pumpkin shoots and interviewed a security guard about his life holding the peace in difficult circumstances. Also we saw the police and security companies pushing out betel nut stall holders, rather inexplicable policy considering more than half the people chew betel.
At Manu market we interviewed people selling seafood and vegies. Some were even growing taro and ibika spinach bushes along the edge of the supermarket building next to the market.
Still no one stuck a gun in our backs. We took the bus again to Koki market at first looking a very poor one with a few drunks and many chewing betel nuts. We filmed interviews with sellers of bananas, sweet potatoes, shellfish, shark, turtle and many reef fish. Women are permitted to collect shellfish, but not fish unless they are with a male family member. Michel gave a commentary in French so as to build up a library of clips for francophones. Once we have published them, you will not see white faces on any of the clips.