Bubu (grandfather) still remembers the days of his youth, when his arms where as strong as the tree trunks he was carrying—one tree on one shoulder, the second on the other shoulder. And holding both together carefully, so he would not waste the pile of dirt packed on the top. They had no tools in those times; they don’t have much even now. But they had zeal and perseverance. Their hope was to finish an air-strip, so the planes could land. Though most of the time they could not see the planes, they could hear their motors. And they were working hard, keeping their eyes on the sky.
I had come from that direction. While telling his story, Bubu was constantly staring at my face and grabbing my arm, as if checking that I was truly there, in flesh and blood. As hard as it was for me, I had to stop him and tell him the truth: “No, Bubu, I am not one of your relatives’ spirit, returning from long ago.”, I gently said in Tok Pisin. He sighed and looked away, almost with shame. Then, he replied in Kewo-Meba: “The first whiteskin came, not long ago. He stayed for a little while and left. He was a tall man, but not strong. Now you are here, a small woman with a strong voice. Hauim! (haoo-wim), he declared firmly. My translator, the village teacher explained to me: “This is our word for the Bird-of-Paradise’s feathers. We decorate our head with them in time of joy and celebration.” They were all watching me. ”Urufumie!”, I thanked them enthusiastically, using my new vocabulary for my new name, and they all jumped to their feet and shouted with joy “Ahyahoo!”
May they greet this way our Lord, as their Lord, when Christ returns.