Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just a line - on evil powers

Over the weekend I took a trip to my beautiful home in Simbu.

I caught up with news et cetera with my elder brothers and uncles. They were, as usual, happy to see me. On Saturday evening we sat down to an excellent and highly nutritious village meal consisting of sweet potato, tapioka, eating banana, highlands greens, all spiced up with bimoli oil, fresh birdseye chili, fresh ginger, and garlic. This was topped off with a few cups of strong sweet PNG No. 1 tea.

With full stomachs, we lazed around the evening fire in the communal men's hut and just talked about things - Christianity, politics, the latest deaths in the community, and the 'Sanguma' belief endemic in the Simbu Province.

I will talk about politics in a later blog post. Now just a little about the 'Sanguma' 'belief.

Many people in PNG express verbally that they do not and will never believe in the dark or evil supernatural powers, that supposedly exist in the jungles, river gorges, mountains, caves, and villages all over Papua New Guinea.

While, these are based firstly on common sense, then on Christian beliefs, there are some unexplained phenomena that need investigated. I will just share one real story. You can make up your mind on what you think, would like to think, or would not like to think.

In Simbu there is a bird called ' medondi' in the local tongue. The Simbu people believe that this bird is a vehicle used by the evil Sanguma spirits to visit people in the spiritual realm and bring sickness and death. These birds are usually not nocturnal - and if they are heard at night it is only very rare when another bird, or snake, or a falling branch disturbs their night roost.

My mother was visited by one of these birds at night over a period of ten weeks in 2005. This bird literally lived in a mango tree with thick foliage near her house. Over the ten weeks it would call - and its call while not too loud is blood chilling - the whole evening for about three hours and again in the early morning from about 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM. In the past, our fathers would know what was happening and call in a medicine man to stop the bird and subsequently the death of my mother at an early age, but this did not happen due to my brothers and I losing touch with the beliefs of the evil world. Because of this ignorance my mother passed away early.

After the shock and grief of my mother's passing was over, I decided to call upon a kid of about 18 years, who claimed to have the supernatural evil powers of the Sanguma, that lived in another village about twenty kilometers away from mine. I wanted to satisfy my curiosity about the bird and my mother's death.

As son as the kid came to my village we went immediately to my mum's house. Without wasting time or any prompting questions, the kid pointed at the mango tree and told me that one of my own older cousin brothers and his mother had taken up residence in its foliage and over time had slowly caused my mum's death. They had used the 'mendondi' bird as their vehicle for operations. Then he told me details of how they went about killing my mum and that they were now planning on killing some more of us, as the more they killed the more powerful they would become in the spiritual world. Do remember that this kid was not a relative, nor had he visited my village before, or had heard any stories about my mother's death. He just seemed to know what had happened.

It is now eight months since my family strongly convinced my older cousin brother and his family to leave our village and live in another part of Simbu.

If you are intrigued by this story you can contact me through this blog and we will see what else we can discuss.


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