Editor’s Note: we have received the following e-mail from former Troy High School Exchange student, and Papuan Highlands tribe Headman, B’rni (Barney) Wewak. Our newly reorganized Australo/Oceania Linguistics Department provides the translation from the original Papuan Sepik dialect, below:
Greetings Friends who dwell in the beneficent sunshine and balmy temperatures of my once adopted home; where the luscious flesh of the avocado and the generous disposition of your women make me long for reunion. Tidings have reached me that one of your headmen has been disgraced (it could only have been through extreme cowardice in battle, or failure to meet his taro quota), has been exiled, and is being replaced by your odd and barbaric custom of “election.”
Furthermore, I understand that among the new candidates for headman is a member from a tribe located on the idolatrous shores of Fashion Island who is trying to pass as one of your own! Moreover, that this interloper is bribing tribe members with promises of bright feathers and glass beads!
Friends, how can this possibly be? Strange and sad news! That the people of my beloved Fullerton could entertain such perverse behavior from an outsider is certainly an omen of terrible times of trouble ahead.
And so I must exhort and plead with all the earnestness at my command to reject this alien influence in your midst before you become enslaved in the strange and perverse ways of these outsiders.
And so, Friends, farewell. May your benevolent deities continue to bless you with ample mangoes and confused enemies; and may the tree bark grubs fall easily into your banana leaves.
B’rni (Barney) Wewak
Troy HS ’75