Bilum Training

Here in PNG it’s sort of like a right of passage for girls to learn how to make bilums—the string bags they carry everything in, from produce to babies. All ladies make bilums. (Well, all PNG ladies—I don’t know how to make a bilum, but maybe I’ll learn with the girls.)

Our big girls have been wanting to learn for a while, and we finally started last week. They’ve still just begun, but hopefully soon we can show you a finished product!

These crafty girls have learned to knit and crochet (thanks Joy Jones!), so of course they needed to know the local yarn art too! We started with this plastic string, which is supposed to be easier to learn on. Then they can learn to use yarn and also make fun patterns. But for now they are just learning the basics!

A couple of my friends, two sisters, were sweet enough to sit down with our two sisters for a couple of hours and help them get started.  One of the ladies even loaned us the necessary tools—needles made from the spokes of an old umbrella and plastic strap from a package.

Oddly enough, though we were able to buy the string at the market, we didn’t have a way to buy those things! The next day a couple other ladies helped them trouble shoot. It’s becoming sort of a community effort. It is so fun watching all the ladies teach the girls and the girls learning from the ladies!

  1. Karen Swoap

    This really warms my heart as you see your daughters being taken in by Menyan ladies. They really seem like a kind-hearted people and your family is a perfect fit for them.

  2. Joy Jones

    This is awesome! I can’t wait to go back to PNG and have Belle and Lucy teach me to make a Bilum!!! Great job!! They all look like they are enjoying working together!!

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