Feature Articles

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Sago ministry in Malaita

By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK

MAKING sago to minister to the Malaitan people in the Solomon Island is testament that God works in strange ways to extend his Kingdom.

And this is an area that the Assemblies Of God church (AOG) PNG will use to starts its missions work in the Solomon Island by going into sago making in Fiu village.

The sago making art and the variety of sago food product is already raising eyebrows and stimulating taste buds among the villagers to embrace the Pentecostal revival breakout among our Melanesian brothers and sisters.

The tropical rainforested Malaita is just like any typical coastal PNG Province where it has similar village settings with rivers, swampy and mountainous areas. They are subsistence farmers and fishermen with vegetable gardens, various wild lives, birds, insect inhabited forest and rivers, swamps inhabited with various fish and marine lives.

 Along these rivers and swampy banks are an abundance of sago palms.
Despite having similar village daily lifestyles that includes living of similar indigenous foods like us, they don’t know that these sago palms contain a huge warehouse of delicate food products.
 They became aware of the potential of eating sago products when they were informed by the first AOG mission team that visited last April.
Pastor Philo Kasseng, who was part of that team, told them that sago can provide food them for months.
“I also told them that they can produce sago bags and bring it over to Honiara and sell them to a huge PNG population and generate income for their other household needs,” he said.

A surprised Fiu village Anglican Renewal center Pastor Eliot Bula said that they only use the leaves (commonly known in pidgin as morota) to make sago thatched roof and spathe (commonly know in pidgin as pangal) to make walls for their houses.

“But not for food. We know that pigs love to eat the spongy part of it located in the center of the trunk,” he said.

This spongy part can also be known as pith or starch.
So he requested Pastor Kaseng if the PNG Team would teach them the art of sago making.
Pastor Kasseng said that the current team were ill prepared but assured the villagers that the second team would return and teach them how to make sago and cook a variety of sago food products.

So when the first team returned to Gerehu AOG New Life Family Church, they briefed the second team members to take sago beating sticks with them. The 14 members of the second team were mostly women from Sepik, Gulf, Oro and Simbu Provinces.

Before the second team went back to Fiu village last November, they sent word to the villagers a week in advance to cut down a sago palm tree.

So when the team arrived in Fiu, they rounded the villagers and proceed to remove the trunk to expose the spongy substance and pounded the spongy substance by grounding it into a reasonable soft powder. They then built a trough from the huge hollow part of the stem of the sago palm leaf. The trough is supported with strong sticks firmly placed upright into the ground. The powder is kneaded in water over empty rice bag. The water then is collected in a dish at the end of the trough. After the water is collected, sago pulp is settled at the dish.

The villagers even tried their hands out in the sago making art by beating out the spongy part and squeezing out the sago into the dish.

The collected sago pulp was then processed into nangu with boiling water which is popular among the Sepiks and the sago was wrapped in banana leaves mixed with banana to make poe which is popular among the Gulf.

These two sago products have become a favorite among the villagers and the team members have vowed to teach them how to produce more variety of sago food products.

This was one of an activity that had been shared and enjoyed by both people that prompted Solomon Island High Commissioner to PNG William Nii Haomae to reveal that relations between PNG and Solomon Island are growing stronger in all aspects.

“It is getting stronger at present in cultural ties, economically, politically, educationally, spiritually, musically,  in all aspects of live,” he said.

Mr Haomae said that during the launching of the AOG PNG-Solomon Island Mission at the Assemblies Of God (AOG) New Life Family Church at Gerehu in Port Moresby last month.

Mr Haomae also thanked the AOG PNG for contributing to strengthen relations in the spiritual area by working with AOG Solomon Islands to bring development to Solomon Island.

In supporting Mr Haomae’s comments, AOG Solomon Island General Secretary Pastor John Subu thanked PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil for giving K20million to the Solomon Islands Government. Mr O’Neil last month presented the money to the Solomon Islands Government in Honiara.

Pastor Subu said that not only AOG PNG church is providing supporting but PNG Government and people of PNG are providing support to the Solomon Islands people.

Pastor Subu thanked AOG PNG for donating a computer and printer set for the AOG Bible College at Auki in Malaita Province, in the Solomon Islands last year with a workabout sawmill and chain saw to build an academic school at Fue village also in Malaita.


Pastor Subu also gave a valuable and sacred traditional shell money neck laces (taboo) to AOG PNG missions Director Pastor Paul Hambukie as a symbolic and customary appreciation for this partnership. 

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