In the Markham Valley of Papua New Guinea, traditional village life revolves around food. Families rise early to tend their gardens, harvesting fresh watermelon, peanuts, cucumbers and mangoes. Adding to the bounty of the local landscape are bananas, taro and sweet potatoes, supplemented with protein sources like the meat of the wild bandicoot.
Savé PNG organized the Markham Banana Festival, a unique event to celebrate the Valley’s food and cultural traditions. More than 10,000 people attended the festival to enjoy the culture and performing arts of the Markham people and to share local knowledge, plant varieties and agricultural skills. In accordance with this year’s theme – Food is Life – festival-goers constructed a traditional Tzitzipy structure, a vertical lattice that weaves ropes of bananas up a massive ladder more than 20 meters high. The impressive structure symbolized the strength and unity of the many peoples of the Markham Valley.