Tuesday, September 7, 2010

PNG culture

A young mom walks into my exam room carrying a small child in a baby bilum. She is closely followed by a 30ish female and a 4 year old girl. As we say hi, the medical student asks me if the women holding the child, who doesn't look more than 15 is really the mom. So we ask. She tells us yes and doesn't seem shy about it, so we take the opportunity to ask some more questions. We learned quite a bit. The mom really is only 15 and her baby is 6 months old. She has been married a little over a year to a guy much older than her who has many wives. Currently, she is one of only 4 wives, but he had others who left him when he got new wives. The 30ish female was not a wife, but the daughter of the 15yo's husband. With her was her 3 yo daughter. So we had in front of us, a mom and her small son. The son being the half brother to the 30yo lady, and an uncle to the 3 yo girl. It was kind of crazy. Pray for the young mom, as she also had bruises on her face from her husband's abuse.
his family isn't the only family like this in PNG. Polygamy allows men to marry as many women as he wants or can afford, and the wives become younger and younger as he gets older. Pray for women here, who often have no choice in who they are forced to marry. Pray for their protection physically from the abuse that is too common in marriages. Pray for parents to not sell their daughters to a man who is willing to pay a lot of money, but that they will allow their daughters to choose a man they love to marry. Pray for Christians to take the lead in this and not give in to cultural pressures.