Torn Between Two Worlds

Margaret Reeson (1972). Torn between two worlds. Kristen Pres: PNG.

In 1950 two boys caught their first glimpse of white men. A patrol of the Australian Administration and Mission representatives of the Methodist Church in Australia had entered their home valley in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. In the years that followed, the two lads, Wasun and Sond, were drawn inexorably into the pattern of change.

The resulting tensions created in them a complicated pull between the ways of their clan and the ways of the newcomers, and between animism and Christianity. Wasun and Sond were faced with value judgements among the many shifting shades of old and new, right and wrong.

By gathering oral history from Wasun and Sond as well as researching contemporary documents and personal observation of life in the Southern Highlands of PNG between 1961-1971, the writer has attempted to set out some of the complexities of culture change in that time and place.

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