Fr. Ferdie Samar

What is a Compensation Ceremony?

By Fr. Ferdie Samar

(Part Two)

Strange Processions

My stay in Koibuga was short-lived. But it was in Koibuga that I witness to big procession on two different occasions. I say big because almost the entire tribe joined. It was however a different procession from what we have in the Philippines because instead of religious images or statues, the people paraded pigs, cassowaries (a large flightless bird), horses, cows and even crocodiles for “compensation”.

Compensation, next to bride-price-exchange is a common event here in Papua New guinea when a tribe pays another tribe for an offenses or damage made by a member of the tribe like an injury, destruction of property, even death (intentional or otherwise). Failure to compensate would mean a tribal battle.

What a Compensation Ceremony

By Fr. Ferdie Samar, SOLT

Solt is a group of Filipino missionaries in Papua New Guinea, and Ferdie Samar is one of their priests. Ferdie tells us here about the terrible problem of tribal warfare and how it bedevils life in some parishes in PNG.

First SOLT Team

When our first SOLT missionary team left the Philippines a couple of years ago our port of entry was Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. But our real destination was Mt. Hagen, at the heart of the PNG highlands, approximately an hour by plane from the capital city. Arriving in Mt. Hagen, we were only given a month to familiarize ourselves with people, places and culture. After a month of orientation, we were given our definite assignments. The bishop gave us two adjacent parishes in the Nebilyer District of Western Highlights Province.