The tribal family from America among the Hewa people

0
3057

The children are living a very unconventional life compared with their peers but have taken to jungle life with gusto.


Source: Daily Mail UK

A mother has revealed how she has given up her idyllic life and home comforts to become a tribal wife in Papua New Guinea.

Jessica George, 34, and husband John Michael, 33, from Florence, Mississippi uprooted their lives along with their three daughters – nine year-old Lucy, Mattie, seven, and five-year-old Mia.

They joined Hewa Tribe in the Hewa Territory of Enga Province five years ago and have learned to live without modern conveniences as their home is a ten-day hike through hostile territory to the nearest town.

Jessica George (third right) has given up her comfortable life in America along with her husband John Michael (centre) and their three daughters - nine year-old Lucy, Mattie, seven, and five-year-old Mia - to live among the Hewa tribe
Jessica George (third right) has given up her comfortable life in America along with her husband John Michael (centre) and their three daughters – nine year-old Lucy, Mattie, seven, and five-year-old Mia – to live among the Hewa tribe
The couple are Christian missionaries who moved to Papua New Guinea five years ago to try to convert more people to Christianity
The couple are Christian missionaries who moved to Papua New Guinea five years ago to try to convert more people to Christianity

The George family first came to Papua New Guinea as missionaries continuing the work of colleagues who had lived with the Hewa tribe for 12 years.

Mrs George said: ‘With their help, we learned that the more we could live like the tribesmen and spend our days like they do, the more they would trust us.’

In order to be accepted by the tribe the family had to adapt to a whole new way of life.

Mrs George said: ‘I would say that our lives are more difficult, but simpler in Papua New Guinea.

‘I have to make sure my children make it through each day in one piece. But each of those tasks are made more complex by living in the extreme conditions of a remote jungle.

A traditional Hewa home in the tribe. The huts often over-heat in the summer, making them extremely uncomfortable for residents
A traditional Hewa home in the tribe. The huts often over-heat in the summer, making them extremely uncomfortable for residents
She also helps to look after the tribe's children
Mrs George has become ingratiated with the Hewa community in the remote jungle – she is pictured with a local woman (left) and a child (right)

‘Everything I cook, I cook from scratch, often with foods harvested in my garden right next to my house.

‘I am at constant war with the hordes of jungle insects that can easily invade my house that is made of jungle lumber, ply wood and mesh screens for windows.

‘Imagine living your entire life on a screened in porch in the heat of summer. That is how we live year round.

‘When I want to visit with a neighbour, I go sit in a one room, smoke-filled hut made entirely of vines and leaves with no electricity, plumbing, or furniture to sit on.’

‘I spend hours with the Hewa ladies as they teach me how to garden like they do, and my husband helps the men build their houses, or pig fences or anything else they may be doing that day.’

Lucy, Mattie and Mia George sit outside a large wooden hut - which is a typical home in the Hewa tribe in Papua New Guinea - made of jungle lumber, ply wood and mesh screens for windows
Lucy, Mattie and Mia George sit outside a large wooden hut – which is a typical home in the Hewa tribe in Papua New Guinea – made of jungle lumber, ply wood and mesh screens for windows
Two Hewa tribesmen, one with a gun, and one with a wooden spear. Violence is still common among the tribe who kill women they believe are witches
Two Hewa tribesmen, one with a gun, and one with a wooden spear. Violence is still common among the tribe who kill women they believe are witches

As well as dealing with the day-to day running of the home, Mrs George is also charged with the education of her three children, to ensure they have age appropriate literacy and numeracy skills.

The children are living a very unconventional life compared with their peers but have taken to jungle life with gusto.

Mrs George said: ‘Of course there are no schools for my daughters to attend in the jungle, so the majority of my day is spent in home school.

‘Our children really seem to love Hewa and consider it home. They have adapted very well, and love playing with the other Hewa children.

‘Village life is nice for kids as there is always fast and easy access to a playmate. I have three girls, and in Hewa culture girls don’t really play very much, they mostly work.

Mrs George cradling a newborn Hewa baby. Her family have lived among the tribe for the past five years
Mrs George cradling a newborn Hewa baby. Her family have lived among the tribe for the past five years
Mattie (front) is pictured with other youngsters from the tribe and her sister. The siblings have become close friends with many of the local children
Mattie (front) is pictured with other youngsters from the tribe and her sister. The siblings have become close friends with many of the local children

‘But from seeing our girls, the Hewa girls are starting to do more playing which mostly involves running, chasing games, climbing trees, and swimming in the local creeks and rivers.

‘My children are learning to garden with me and care for chickens just like the Hewa girls do with their moms.

Recently one of Mrs George’s co-workers set up a school for the children, as the village has been asking for a teacher for years and is yet to receive one from the government.

Mrs George said: ‘Many of the children were going to be sent away to attend school, and we felt this was dangerous for them and hard for their parents, so a school has been established until they can get a national teacher.’

The family have had to deal with several disconcerting occurrences while being out in the jungle, which has strengthened their resolve to establish Christianity among the Hewa tribe.

Mrs George (left) plays with her children among the lush Papua New Guinea landscape. The family have learned to live without modern conveniences as their home is a ten-day hike through hostile territory to the nearest town
Mrs George (left) plays with her children among the lush Papua New Guinea landscape. The family have learned to live without modern conveniences as their home is a ten-day hike through hostile territory to the nearest town
Mrs George cuddles a baby of one of the tribes people. She describes the community as 'primitive' but felt she had to live among them to gain their trust
Mrs George cuddles a baby of one of the tribes people. She describes the community as ‘primitive’ but felt she had to live among them to gain their trust

‘Most of what they use in a day comes from the jungle around them. I have seen them create almost everything they need just with vines, leaves and branches from their homes all the way down to egg cartons.

‘They are animistic in their worldview, so they believe that there are spirits around them, both good and evil, that control the outcomes of their daily lives.

‘Contrary to what most people believe, animistic cultures do not live in harmony with their environment. They are in a constant struggle to appease and manipulate that environment just to survive.

‘This often hinders their lifestyles greatly. For example, they live in huts with as many as four fire pits in them, but have no windows and only small doors that they board up securely at night to keep the spirits out causing them to suffer from the effects of mass smoke inhalation.

Mrs George helping to prepare a very basic meal along with tribesmen in one of the Hewa huts
Mrs George helping to prepare a very basic meal along with tribesmen in one of the Hewa huts
The tribesmen are seen here sitting with their rifles and smoking. Many believe that people can still be possessed by evil spirits
The tribesmen are seen here sitting with their rifles and smoking. Many believe that people can still be possessed by evil spirits

‘We see a lot of asthma, lung, and breathing problems among our people,’ she explained.

Mrs George said the most tragic Hewa belief is that evil spirits can possess people.

She said: ‘The Hewa believe that evil spirits can enter a person, mostly women and children, and this spirit leaves their body at night consuming the insides of otherwise healthy people causing them to get sick and die.

‘They believe the only way to stop this spirit is to kill the innocent woman or child that is possessed.

‘It is impossible to get an accurate count of all the women and children across Hewa territory that are marked as witches, but the number is probably in the hundreds.

‘We along with our co-workers have worked tirelessly to evacuate as many of these marked women and children as possible to a safe location, such as other tribes in Papua New Guinea who do not share the beliefs of the Hewa, and do not practice witch killing.

The George's love living among the Hewa people as they believe that living in the tribe is the only way of spreading the Christian message
The George’s love living among the Hewa people as they believe that living in the tribe is the only way of spreading the Christian message
The George family hope to spread Christianity among Hewa tribesmen and women and teach them the Bible. Pictured, a tribesman
The George family hope to spread Christianity among Hewa tribesmen and women and teach them the Bible. Pictured, a tribesman

‘Unfortunately, many of the families of these women will not allow them to leave and in the last year we have seen two innocent ladies murdered because of this tragic belief system.

‘We have tried to get police and government officials in to help with the problem, however it is very difficult for them to capture and punish perpetrators when they can easily run and hide in the jungle when the only way in or out of the village is by airplane which can be heard a long way off before it actually lands.’

The nearest town to the Hewa village is a 30-minute flight away, which Jessica’s husband, John Michael explained, does pose some dangers to the family should any of them be taken seriously ill.

‘I think the greatest realistic danger for my family is just sickness,’ said Mr George. ‘We are very remote and only accessible by small airplanes and helicopters.

‘If we end up with a bad illness or infection it’s not like you can just pop into the nearest doctor’s office.

‘We treat most things ourselves, but we also extremely fortunate to have a couple of brilliant doctors that work at our organisation’s campus in one of the towns here that take good care of us.

Lucy poses with tribal friends as she is daubed with traditional Hewa face paint. Mrs George says living without TV, phones and internet affords her plenty of family time with her girls
Lucy poses with tribal friends as she is daubed with traditional Hewa face paint. Mrs George says living without TV, phones and internet affords her plenty of family time with her girls

‘The town where our aviation and medical clinic is located is an hour and half flight away though.

‘We have a short-wave radio that we use to talk to other missionaries both in other villages and in town.

‘We also have very limited email capabilities here in the village that somehow works through our short-wave.

‘However not having, TV, phones and internet affords a lot of family time and gives me a lot of extra time with my girls.’

Despite being settled into tribal life the family of five are not immune to craving the comforts and convenience of civilisation.

Mrs George said: ‘We all miss America, our families in particular. I certainly miss being able to order pizza for dinner when I want a night off from cooking.

‘We go back every two to three years, depending on timing, family needs and finances.

Best friends: Mia holds hands with one of her friends from the tribe. Despite being settled into tribal life the family of five are not immune to craving the comforts and convenience of civilisation
Best friends: Mia holds hands with one of her friends from the tribe. Despite being settled into tribal life the family of five are not immune to craving the comforts and convenience of civilisation

When people hear about our lives they are shocked that we would choose to live in such an extreme environment with no TV, internet and very little electricity – only our solar power – and among such extreme people.

‘Almost all people are encouraging and supportive even if they think we are crazy.’

The family decided immersing themselves and living among the tribe was the only way to form deep relationships allowing them to teach the Bible.

She explained: ‘Our ultimate goal is to plant a church that can eventually function on its own and reach out to the neighbouring tribes without missionary presence or assistance and to provide the Hewa with a Bible translation in their language.’

While the George family are living with their tribe for religious reasons, they do appreciate the natural lifestyle their hosts provide.

Mrs George admitted that her family do miss their home comforts - like grabbing a coffee from Starbucks and ordering a pizza
Mrs George admitted that her family do miss their home comforts – like grabbing a coffee from Starbucks and ordering a pizza
The family try to visit America once every three to four years, pictured in a cafe enjoying ice creams
The family try to visit America once every three to four years, pictured in a cafe enjoying ice creams

Mrs George said: ‘I love the community living. It is so nice to just walk outside and be able to spend time with my friends and neighbours.

‘We don’t have to check our calendars or rearrange our schedules to spend time with one another.

‘We are just living and working alongside each other each day which just naturally strengthens our relationships.

‘It is nice that when there is a need, sickness, or death in the village, the whole village stops and helps take care of the family or person who needs it.

‘Our lives naturally revolve around each other and not just ourselves.

‘It is truly a blessing to a person who comes from an independent, individualistic society where we try to have everything revolve around us personally.’

To follow the George family online visit tribalwife.blogspot.com

Original Article Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3535416/Mother-three-reveals-gave-world-comforts-live-tribal-wife-Papua-New-Guinea-jungle.html

Comments

comments