The week of March13-18 was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. One important part of the celebration was a mumu, which is basically a giant BBQ. This particular mumu was the largest that some of the missionaries remember, with over 30 pigs cooked along with many chickens.
The preparations that we saw began on Thursday with the digging of giant pits that would hold all the food. Later that day food was brought in by various groups: maintenance staff, x-ray staff, nurses, pastors, Bible college students, etc. The delivery of food was a ceremony in itself.
Early Friday, around 4am, the pits were prepared and the animals butchered. Rocks were heated and placed in the ground with layers of banana leaves meat, kaukau (like a sweet potato and a staple of the diet here), cooking bananas and other food that I’m still learning about.
There were six places around the station that were involved in cooking the food. An e-mail was sent out letting everyone know where the mumus would take place. Being new, I wasn’t sure where these houses were, but while out walking Friday morning the smoke from each one made them easy to spot.
All day long people gather to help with the cooking. A mumu is an important social event, but the focus is on the preparation and cooking. Once the food is ready it is separated out for each family and they go home to eat the meal. Because most PNG families do not have refrigeration, all of the food will be consumed that evening. From what we hear, there will be many more mumus to experience in the future.