The Sepik River is the longest river in Papua New Guinea. The Sepik River tribes build long houses and spirit houses on stilts. Only the men are allowed in the spirit houses, where ceremonies are performed. These villagers watched our group as they welcomed our group to visit.
Upon arrival of our group, the villagers performed the dragon dance to welcome us. Many of the villagers formed the dragon, with the elaborate mask and headdress, and others played drums and danced. The etiquette upon arrival is to follow the dragon the length of the village before doing anything else.
This is one of the tribal members who accompanied the dragon dance. His mouth is red due to chewing betel nuts, a mild stimulant that leaves a red stain. It is popular, although it is classified as a carcinogen.
The Sepik River tribes are known for their masks, and the villagers spread out their masks and other crafts for our group to admire and purchase. My husband and I bought the one on the right. It now hangs in the media room of our house, which is decorated with tribal art from Africa, Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand.
My husband and I brought a suitcase full of gifts for villagers in Papua New Guinea. My husband took this photo as I was presenting gifts to the village chief. I demonstrated how to use the items, as we gave things like Etch-A-Sketches and similar items that children can use to draw without needing pencils and paper.