Packed in small packets as powdered juice, they come in different flavours: orange, strawberry, mango, pineapple, and etcetera. They make good refreshing drinks. Orange, and pineapple flavours are popular with consumers.
They are served at barbecues, picnics, feasts or mumus, and at meal times.
Kids love it. It’s a student’s favourite lunch time drink, and buai (bettle nut) sellers and chewers preferred mouth rinse.
On good days playful children through gaps in their front teeth would spit projectiles of this juice and are scolded by their mothers, who would threaten to pour the remainder on their heads.
Occasionally when a mother or father or both, whilst hustling their way to a game of cards, would scream at their children to stop nagging them and buy something to have with the money they’ve given them. More often than not the juice is implied.
A mother who has been loosing money would persist on playing cards and opt to feed her child this juice as she barks orders to her elder daughter(s) to cook something quickly. But it becomes a heavenly seep when she has lost all and ends up with a throat that feels like a desert that misses the rain for a thousand years.
Steam Bodies – slang for people who consume Steam (alcohol produced from illegal backyard brewing) – use it to dilute their brew. This group’s noise making skills, albeit without the aid of musical instruments, is unrivalled.
Often a drunk would use the juice as a matter of convenience, to sprinkle over the heads. This act of baptism, in an attempt to ease the tight embrace of the brew with its chill, often works well. A sweet and sticky residue however, which attracts honey bees to their faces, remains after all had dried up.
Picture a Steam Body in his/her drunken stupor, fights off honey bees. It is funny as it is serious. And if beaten, disregards the pain and continues to drink this precious fluid with a swollen face.
Owners of roadside markets make money from thirsty pedestrians, many of whom would have been loitering in and around shopping centers or government offices and are on their way home in the afternoons with their last kina in pockets.
Often up to four or five days a week, poor families in Port Moresby’s squatter settlements have it with a piece or slice of baked barn before laying their heads to rest. How tomorrow feeds them is another saga in their wretchedness.
Imported from Asia, a packet is going for fifty toea – it is cheap, and makes juicy and refreshing drinks for the whole family. It is called Tang juice.
This product has become the beverage of choice for the masses living around the fringes of Port Moresby city. It is and will be a favourite as long as it can be obtained cheaply.
It is part of us now – it is a way of life.
Come to think of it; what if a factory in the country starts producing Tang juice or its equivalent? Isn’t there a business opportunity when the demand is huge?
Well, this is for the money men and the government to think about. However, until these bastards start behaving selflessly, importation of this fine product will continue.
For now I shall pour myself a glass – orange flavour – and slowly seep my thoughts to slumber.