Thursday 25 August 2011


Awumbuk means the feeling of heaviness and sorrow you feel after your guests have departed. It's a word from the Baining people who live in the mountains in Papua New Guinea. But it's so eminently useful that I feel it should be imported into English at once.

Self-diagnosis is a dangerous business, but symptoms of awumbuk include sleeping in and feeling bored. According to the Baining, awumbuk lasts for exactly three days, during which you will be no good at either gardening or hunting. However, if you leave a coconut shell full of water out around the house, that will soak up the awumbuk which can then be disposed of safely.