When a Sight Hits your Eye Like a Big Giant Stye, that’s Amore! (doggy style)

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December 3, 2013 by kittynh

(Oke Millet, our guest blogger, is a Canadian who lives in Chile, and works in weird and wonderful places. He loves to travel, especially to the obscure & rarely seen.)

In this series of little blogs, I am going to focus on recounting interesting anecdotes on beliefs I hear, during my travels around Papua New Guinea. As a sceptic, I try to view the world through the eyes of scepticism. When I hear someone discuss a belief or a position that seems odd, unusual, or compelling to me, I generally think ‘Evidence?’, or perhaps ‘How does that work’?

In any event, as I share with you these little tidbits, I hope that my scepticism doesn’t make me appear judgmental or in some way ‘holier than thou’.  I’m not being critical of my Papua New Guinean friends and colleagues. Indeed, I love to collect these rare gems of folklore much as I also love to collect art glass, and other interesting and valuable objects. In Papua New Guinea, some of the people I am living and working with today, can trace their ancestry back only a couple of generations, where their people had never encountered someone from the West before. Whereas many of us have close relatives who may have fought in World War II or perhaps Grandparents/Great-grandparents who fought in World War I, some of the Papua New Guineans I meet can say that these same generations from 80 – 100 years ago didn’t speak a word of English and had never seen a ‘white’ person before. Therefore, these little cultural gems are indeed unique and precious gifts, which frankly, I think need to be preserved and collected.

okes post

Anyway, last night I was at a social event attended mostly by expats, but with several Papua New Guineans also present.  I happen to be suffering from a stye in my eye at the moment. I hate these darned things, and I get them in my right eye with a degree of regularity – perhaps once or twice a year. They are painful, gross, and I am a bit self-conscious about my appearance when I have one flare up.  I’m seated next to this friendly Papua New Guinean woman, whom I know fairly well.  I see her once or twice a week, and she is the long term girlfriend of a friend of mine. This is how the conversation went:

Woman:  You have something on your eye!

Me:  Yes, I have a stye. Thank you for noticing.

Woman:  <Coquettish giggling>

Me:  What’s so funny?

Woman:  <More giggling>

Me:  Well, now you’re going to have to tell me.

Woman:  <Stifling her giggling> You know where you got that?

Me: Well, I think it’s an infection you get in your eyelid, sort of like a pimple or a boil.

Woman:  <More giggling>

Me:  Well, where do you think I got it?

Woman:  In my village, we say that when you get that in your eye… <barrage of giggles>…  You must have just seen two dogs fornicating.  <She didn’t say fornicating but rather another verb starting with ‘f’ best not used on a polite blog>

Me:  Oh really? Well, how should I prevent myself from getting styes in the future? Because I see lots of dogs getting it on around this place.

Woman:  <More giggles>  If you see dogs doing ‘that’, then you have to go like this with your hands, otherwise you will get a problem with your eye.  <Makes a gesture that looks a little bit like removing a ring from your second finger>

Me:  Well great – thanks!  Now I know what to do to prevent the evil stye.

no peeking!

no peeking!

Naturally, I haven’t stopped using hot compresses and an antibiotic ointment on my eye. Nor have I averted my gaze from any dogs I see around the place. Unfortunately she didn’t have any sort of folklore cure for a stye, only a preventative measure. Given the number of randy dogs in Port Moresby, I’m surprised that not everyone has a stye. I checked out the veracity of her story with a few other Papua New Guineans in the office this morning. While no one came out and fully agreed with her version of the story, they all found it amusing, and no one told me she had it wrong. Nor did anyone offer an alternative solution.

Anyways, more Papua New Guinean preventative health tips to follow soon…

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2 thoughts on “When a Sight Hits your Eye Like a Big Giant Stye, that’s Amore! (doggy style)

  1. […] When a Sight Hits your Eye Like a Big Giant Stye, that’s Amore! (doggy style). […]

  2. Geek Goddess says:

    Reblogged this on Two Different Girls and commented:

    Another ‘travel’ blog from Oke!

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