Papua New Guinea: Highland village life

Life in Papua New Guinea highlands is simple and revolves around three things – sweet potatoes, coffee, and pigs. Land is tribal, hereditary, passed though marriage. Sweet potatoes is the main and often sole staple food (very easy to grow, just stick a leaf in the ground and it grows, pick 4-6 harvests per year). Coffee is the main and only export crop (every house has coffee bushes that are manually picked, sorted, pressed and sold to wholesalers as cheap as $1 per kilogram). And pigs are the currency, store of value, prestige, and borderline God-like (more on that in a next post). Finally, the little houses you see on some pictures – those are burials – people are kept above ground in a nice house so that the spirit doesn’t escape but rather sticks around and enjoys nice afterlife with good window views.