One of the biggest thrills of travel is meeting and interacting with people from different worlds and different cultures. These tourists were aboard the FV FeBrina, a scuba diving liveaboard that took them around the remote waters in Papua New Guinea. Exploring Kimbe Bay, they were treated to some to the most spectacular scuba diving in the world. The coral reefs and ocean life are unrivaled in their beauty and diversity and the colours and sights beneath the waves are breathtaking. But when they came up from an hour of exploration beneath the waves, they were surprised to be met by a few families from one of the remote islands. They live off the land in a very traditional way with very little influence from the outside world and with very little exposure to technology. Paddling out from their village in dugout canoes, the women brought fresh produce and coconuts. In a form of commerce that is centuries old, the boat crew also provided the villagers with some essentials such as rice and cooking supplies. They regularly donate books and school supplies to these island people as well, helping them with their own system of education. The ocean provides the people of the islands with a lot of food also. They spear fish and harvest sea cucumbers, crabs, and other edible creatures. Life in this world has not changed much for the people in the past 100 years. In fact, many remote highlands areas of Papua New Guinea made their first contact with white people from the outside world as recently as the 1930s. A small group of prospectors were among the first people to make contact with isolated civilizations. It had been thought that the geography of these areas presented such difficulty that people could not survive in the highlands. This isolation of the peoples has led to the diversity in language, with Papua New Guinea having more than 826 separate languages. These kids were fascinated by the very pale skin of the tourists on board the boat. Although there was no ability to communicate with a mutual language, smiles, laughter, gestures and small gifts made interaction easy enough, and extremely enjoyable. The villagers provided Dave with coconut and a delicious seaweed that went well together. Dave entertained them with backflips of the stern and with his iPhone, which they used to take group selfies. Kristy joked with one of the mothers as they all laughed at the "kids", including Dave and she shared her bag of candies with them. While we can easily focus on the things that make us all different, it is equally important to focus on what makes us the same. As these new friends demonstrate, laughter is the universal language.
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