[The picture above is Everett looking at our cat under the house with some of the village boys.]
Our first lesson in Menya is: Don’t promise to pay for work without being able to witness or supervise it.
Before Wes left Menya, he asked some guys to clear the overgrown “road” that leads up the hill to our houses. He promised 20 Kina per day expecting three or four guys to work a few days. Surprise, four guys worked nineteen days! And another guy logged four days. When I told them Wes had only expected a few days work they explained he had only asked for a narrow road for our four wheeler, but they decided to make a wide road with ditches on the sides for water drainage–so that took longer. Price tag: 1600 Kina. So what would you do? Remember, we want these people to teach us their language and listen when we preach the gospel. I sweet talked them down to 1400 Kina.
A week before we came I called one of the guys here to ask him to cut the grass around our house (with a machete as is their custom.) After all, the snakes live in the long grass. Four people worked six six-hour days! Price tag: 280 Kina.
As we were shuttling our stuff, a group of guys helped load at the airstrip and unload at the houses. When we were finished they were all standing around to get paid. We agreed that 10 Kina per man was fair and paid eleven guys, no wait, make that twelve because so-and-so already went down to the river to wash so I’ll take it to him. The next day five more guys showed up at the door to get paid. One of the few guys I can recognize vouched for them and said, “Ok, Joseph. That is everybody. It’s done.” Wouldn’t you know it, a few more guys showed up at Dave’s door today.
Mo money, mo problems! Am I right?