On the remote, steep slopes of the grassland and rain forests of Highland Papua New Guinea, live the Awa, subsisting on root crops and raising domestic pigs. Like many cultures, the Awa must deal with and find solutions to the problems of human social existence: inevitable and rapid culture change, interpersonal squabbles, lying and deceit, adultery, sorcery, and unexpected death. They wait ambivalently for the building of a road that would put them in direct contact with the encroaching world of trade stores, outdoor markets, schools, and the government station. In the middle of this walks an anthropologist who learns that fieldwork is first and foremost about understanding lives, both his and theirs. This is a personal narrative that provides an intimate glimpse of the actual conduct of fieldwork among diverse individuals with remarkably distinct views of their own culture. It is an account of intertwined lives--of living anthropology--and a road of hope and promise, despair and tragedy.
History, Australia-Oceania, Papua-New-Guinea,