PNG Facts

  • Second largest island in the world (Greenland is larger)
  • Located just north of Australia and south of the equator
  • About the size of California
  • Over 800 mostly unrelated languages reflect PNG’s extreme diversity: “for each village, a different culture”—and language, or tok ples
  • 572 airports, but only 21 of them have paved runways; 12,179 mi. of roads, but only 426 mi. are paved; there is no road from the capital, Port Moresby, to Goroka
  • Staple food is the sweet potato, known as kaukau
  • “Papua” means “frizzy hair”
  • The elevation of my village, Kiari, is 7,000 feet—too high for snakes or malaria mosquitos
  • Though the population is 96% “Christian,” most are Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, or Seventh Day Adventist