Boots Bilong Mi
By Patrick Ritter
Grand Prize Gold Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards
On a dugout canoe trip through the interior of New Guinea, how far would you go for a pair of shoes?I heard a splash behind me and I froze midstroke. Sounded close. I twisted around to see a large tree crashing into the water. The Sepik River winds across the swamplands of Papua New Guinea like a massive snake, its diet trees and eroded silt. The tree shuddered in the current. From the branches startled kingfishers escaped into flight, screeching. I glanced to Randy, my buddy from California, at the front of the dugout canoe. His face was sunburned and questioning. “No,” I said, “not a puk-puk.” In New Guinea the Pidgin English word for crocodile is puk-puk.