Introduction / History
The North Wahgi people live on the northeast edge of the expansive Wahgi Valley. Their valley is located in the mountainous region of central mainland Papua New Guinea (PNG). With a population of approximately fifty thousand, they are one of the largest people groups in PNG. The cool climate in the valley along with the altitude makes it an ideal place to grow coffee. Sweet potatoes, beans, bananas and corn are also grown. It is also an excellent location to grow leafy green vegetables due to the abundant rainfall. Goats are raised on the slopes along with chickens and some cattle. Much of the family income, however, comes from subsistence gardening.
Although Christianity is the major religion, most of the people still practice their traditional religion as well. These practices include black magic and sorcery. Also, vigilante killings are all but uncommon. Only twenty-five percent of the eligible secondary school students are actually enrolled. Both the language of instruction and the textbooks are in English. Literacy in the mother tongue is very low, and there are no active literacy programs.
There are paved roads between towns, but four-wheel drive vehicles are still needed to reach most destinations. Most of the transportation is still done by foot. At the present time, the greatest need is Bible translation. People are needed to organize and train pastors for translation while simultaneously setting up a literacy program to enable the people to be able to read the translation.
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