Sarawaget Range, Morobe Province


 


Who are we?
 

 
 

One of the most common questions to Nathalie is:
- "Being deaf and woman, how did you dare to start this all by yourself?"

I was doing a Round the World-trip and arrived in PNG in spring 2005. At that time I thought I would become an organic farmer when I returned to my native Sweden. But instead I realized there were a lot of botanical field work to do, and that the needs were huge among the deaf people of New Guinea.

I had already been in many tropical countries for extended periods, so I already had the experiences and skills.

I also have a very skilled guide and interpreter, Foreting Juhonewe. A deaf PNG:ean who grew up in the jungle. I also have had malaria and a nubmer of unknown diseases, which toughened me. So it was an easy step to start this work.

PNG indeed is a very tough place (I compare it to the 30+ countries I have been in). It was a part of Australia until 1975, and many Australians get shocked when I tell them that I live in PNG. Cannibalism is not practized anymore, and the tribal wars have decreased considerably, but it is still a violent country. So during our fiel work in all of PNG's corners we must be careful at all times and not expose ourselves to unnecessary risks and avoid areas of tribal fights.

Background

Foreting

He was born in the remote village of Baindoang and the jungle was his playground. He became deaf when just a few years old. His mother didn't become ashamed, instead she was always by his side, and it saved him. He learned to sign PNG sign language at the elementary school for the deaf in Lae.

When still young he got active in improving the situation of the deaf in PNG and also promoting organic farming. He loves the amazing biodiversity of the jungles in his native Papua New Guinea, because you never know what you will see.

Nathalie

She was born deaf in Sweden, and has a great desire to support and empower deaf people. She also is a dedicated botanist and conservationist, especially within the genus Hoya, which has fascinated her since she was 13 years old and might continue to do so the rest of her  life.

She also loves learning languages and now can communicate in more than 10 languages. She therefore studied botany and sign language survey in both Sweden and the US. She also studied and worked with organic and sustainable agriculture, especially Permaculture, in 15 countries.

Our skills in Permaculture (organic sustainable agriculture) would help the villagers if desired. The slash and burn agriculture wears both the soil and the people's bodies. A Permaculture garden would save both their soil and their bodies.

In short, we are working for what we believe in and are not easily scared off by new tasks and challenges.


Nathalie & Foreting

Juhonewe

 

 

Nathalie på en bro
One of the many bush bridges in the jungle that had us wonder if we really could cross it safely.



Jungle is full of biting creatures and thorny plants, especially leeches and fleas
.


Herbariematerial
A pile of hoyas to be pressed and deposited at the national herbarium in Lae.



Toea
A short movie of my cuscus, Toea, 10 months old on October 14th, 2012. (Translation from Swedish sign language "He is my cuscus and his name is Toea. He is like a baby and loves to sleep in my arms. This species is being eaten by papuans, and the species is now disappearing in the forests.")
 
     

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