Funeral of a Kovol ‘dad’

He died two days ago. We heard the wailing starting in the night and we knew it was him. Yesterday was a day of mourning and sitting with the family. They dressed him in a nice white shirt and black long pants. Today was the burial. Nothing fancy. Very simple. They built the coffin, dug the hole, put him in there and filled the hole. No ‘last will’ to take care off as far as we know, no fancy meal or decoration, no program, today there was not even much crying from what we saw. Just sad blank looks. But it took all day from morning until almost 6pm to burry him.

Fence building

Much of the Kovol people’s work is out in their gardens and so we should often be making the hike out to see them. Well that’s ideally. In reality because the hike takes an hour and i’s tough to make an appointment we only get out there occasionally.

Pig surgery

You never know what’s going to happen when you start a day of language. Yesterday I decided I’d hike down to a nearby hamlet to check out some sentences I’d created. I’ve been working on figuring out Kovol clauses, but there’s a little complexity to it which I think may be explained by calling them dependent clauses. Anyway I had some sentences I’d come up with to check out my ideas on dependent clauses.

I get 20 seconds away from my house and see a friend swinging his machete at a banana tree. “Good morning, what you you up to?” I ask, “I’m removing my pig’s balls” he replies. Obviously then I switch to Tok Pisin to check in a language I’m more fluent in if he said what I thought he said. Sure enough, that mornings work was castrating his pig. I ran to get Rhett because I know he’s into his things and we settled in for the show.
First a ‘fence’ was made which looked like a little circular wicker drum. Some leaves are pointed out that will be used to “take care of the blood” – but not as I thought for wiping or absorbing blood to keep the workspace tidy – more on that later