A yearly mask festival is held in Kokopo, Papau New Guinea and this year I was one of many bystanders witnessing this event. But of course in the Land of the unexpected , it was different that i thought.
At 5 Am my new grey colored hoodie felt amazing on my skin . It was just 10 minutes after my alarm rand and woke me from a dream filled with birds , for some strange reason.
At 6 Am I arrived to the beach area , a little on the right from Tropicana Jetty.
I put my hoodie on my head to cover my blonde hair for a minute longer. Of course locals knew instant that i was a foreigner, but still it felt nice to be able to hide a little longer. They seem to understand completely and simply ignored me.
I walked towards the beach where many man with red cloth wrapped around their waist and hips walked around. They sang all together and waited for boats to arrive . Ancestors arriving , as per tradition.
It was a tradition , that i still have much to learn about and from locals i gather that this tradition have lost its charm a little over the years. But its still a tradition for Tolai people . I stood in between , what looked like a sea of locals. I was one of the tallest so i had no difficulty to see unlike few other who stood right by me. It was first time i have seen anything like this and i was amazed. From all what mask festival have to offer, this was the most precious part( Now i know , after the festival ) .
It was not the boats moving closer or volcano in the background or even man with spears . I think the crowds made it a real experience. Hundreds of locals gathered to see this event, to me , meant that tradition lives on.
It took about 2 hours , singing , dancing and few ignorant tourist flying drones around and few others squeezing in to get perfect shot. Event was over and it was time to prepare for rest of the day !
Papua New Guinea