Introduction / History
The Bwaidoka people live in the southern part of Goodenough Island, with most of their twenty villages and numerous hamlets scattered along the narrow strip of flat land between the steep mountains and ocean. Access to the Bwaidoka area is by air or boat. There is a World War II airstrip on the eastern plain of Goodenough Island. From there travel is usually by pre-arranged vehicle or boat. Traveling by boat from Alotau takes 12-15 hours.
The Bwaidoka people live in thatch-roofed houses and are primarily subsistence farmers, fishing occasionally. Soccer for the men and netball for the women are favorite sports, with teams traveling to other villages to play. One of their favorite pastimes is telling and listening to stories, which can be quite interesting. Christianity was introduced in the 1890s through United Methodist missionaries. Later, Catholic missionaries came but have not had major inroads into the Bwaidoka area. Other religious groups have come but have not been very successful.
Because most people don't really understand the gospel, animism is still very much in place, with even many of the pastors still practicing garden magic. There is a great need for people to understand the Word in their own language. Most of the men and some of the women know Dobu, the local trade language, to some extent, using it in preaching and in relating to outsiders who speak it, but they still use the Bwaidoka language in their homes. Bwaidoka is the de facto lingua franca for Goodenough Island and the northern end of Ferguson Island. English is used often in government.
|Profile Source: Anonymous|