Today we trekked to Foke Village – a collection of several thatched huts and a total population of 30. We waded through a strong river and walked in the shade through hundreds of palm oil trees – all covered with moss and a ferns. This beautiful village is set right at the base of the mountains – on a plateau surrounded by pristine rainforest.
We arrived at the village and noticed how eerily quiet it was. We kept walking through and then we heard an eruption of shouting “Oro, Oro, Oro” (meaning “welcome”). The entire village population was gathered near one of the thatched homes and had gathered to greet us as we arrived. Then came the flower petals – hundreds of them were showered on us and as we bent over – flower garlands were placed around our necks. Then came all the fresh fruit – large cucumbers (presented as fruit) with amazing papayas, pineapple, bananas and pomelo (all grown in or next to the village).
This village has a huge garden on the side of the hill where they grow most everything for their needs. The village headman is young and is the district manager for all of Kokoda (which is a fairly large region). Every time you need to reach the village you must wade through the river – during flooding, their village is cut off from the rest of Kokoda.
They have pigs and chickens in the village; when they want wild game, some of the villagers go out with dogs and they hunt tree kangaroos in the steep jungle covered mountains behind the village.
One of the highlights of our visit was a walk to a nearby raging river and a beautiful waterfall. A number of small creeks flow out of the mountains here and the villagers drink the water fresh with their hands. The waterfall was along a very steep, slippery and dangerous part of the river. We went barefoot up the slippery rock and had great views of the cascading water.