[guest post by Ryan]
Papua New Guinea has a culture of large gifts cementing trade and other relations. People compete to give away as much as possible in feasts and through direct gifts and, through the sheer size and quality of their gifts, become big men. Also receiving a gift obligates one to try to repay it plus some. One corollary to this is bride pirce, a negotiated price paid by a groom's family to the bride's family. These sums can be enormous---up to 100,000 kina plus other small gifts. One of our guides' families just finished paying off his brother's bride price---72,000 kina or about $25,000. To put this in perspective, correcting for GDP differences between the USA and Papua New Guinea, this would be the equivalent of a guy's family paying his bride's family about $400,000. No ideas, Leigh (besides isn't a grandchild worth more than $400,000?).