Sunday, February 7, 2010

PNG Culture

It didn't take long after returning from Australia to be reminded of PNG culture. As we were driving home from the airport, we saw some cars slowing ahead of us. Not sure what was going on, we too slowed down, and then we saw the reason for the slowing. In the rainstorm that occurred just before we landed, a tree had blown onto the road and there were lots of folks outside around the down tree. The trunk of the tree wasn't on the road, it was only the upper branches, and it wasn't blocking the whole road, just one side, but that didn't stop the people from trying to collect money from those passing the tree. They were trying to collect money for the "road work" they were doing in removing the tree, or not moving the tree, as the case may be.
Stopping traffic to collect "tolls" is a frequent occurrence here. When there are potholes and guys fill them in with gravel, they want a toll. If a tree is down and it needs moved for traffic to continue, they
want a toll. Unfortunately, sometimes it is these same guys who have diverted water in order to create these potholes, or have put the tree on the road in a way to collect money. We typically aren't made to pay these "tolls" since we are missionaries who work at the hospital. When they don't know who we are, we tell them and then they let us go.
So we got by without paying the 2 Kina toll, but saw other cars who did pay the toll, being a missionary does have some advantages.