PNG in Perspective

Greetings again. PNG national activities described in this blog were extracted from the Courier Post which is one of two national papers. Comments in the paper are often surprisingly hard hitting and photos of accidents and crime scenes are often more graphic than would be considered acceptable in the Western Society. As usual click on the highlighted text for the link to this week’s reportPNG in perspective

This weeks front page photo is a view of Mt Bagana errupting, looking across Arawa Bay

and of a rather unusual plant photographed in a village

Anyone know what it is?

Take care


Onwards towards Gopinis!

We are nearly at the 3/4 mark of our assignment – in a little over six months we are due to complete our Bougainville assignment and head off back to New Zealand! The time has flown and the weeks seem to continue to roll over at an alarming rate. This has been a relatively quiet week so I have dispensed with the usual separate report. One old fart had a birthday party on the 24th

and he was able to blow (spray?) out the candles between dribbles. We celebrated with a very pleasant potluck dinner on the Friday evening, but missed seeing the All Black trounce the French (pardon, Caroline!) on Saturday because the broadcast bill had still not been paid. (The good news is that it came back on on Monday morning at 8am, so we will see regular highlights as well as the Samoans just beat the Springboks on Saturday!)

Apart from that I have continued to enjoy helping out at Oxfam with the programme of hygiene training and water supply and toilet installation. Today Rosie accompanied us for the best part of a day on a field trip down the coast to inspect three villages that had been Oxfam pilot projects for the area, and where there appear to remain some challenges. At the end of a trip like this one feels a bit like how I would imagine it would feel being in a tumble drier for half an hour, with heat, humidity and being thrown around!

To finish off a picture of a beautiful lilly I spotted in a neighbour’s garden, plus a close-up of one of those hanging tropical blooms – in our garden.

plus a section of coconut tree stem photographed to-day

Cheers and – keep safe – until next week!

Planning and Monitoring

Not much too exciting to report this week- we had our mug-shots taken for our possible extra roles in the movie – stuck against a blank wall holding a chalk board with our names and ages on it- an interesting experience for the NZ police who are more used to taking such photographs!

On Thursday morning I got to work to find I was supposed to be attending a three day conference arranged by the PNG Planning and Monitoring Division . I thought it sounded interesting – planning expenditure and monitoring expenditure against targets and outcomes to date appears to have been an unknown concept in PNG. Anyway I was pleasantly surprised with the Division making impressive progress in developing a Long term management Plan until 2030 and a medium term plan to 2015, originating from targets set in the United Nations.Unfortunately they were a little late in completing it and the 5 year plan is really only a 4year plan to match UN targets.  Our conference was the first in a series of presentations around the country introducing the concept and advising provincial governments about how to make application for funding in line with the principles in this procedure.  The challenge now is to fill in the templates to apply for funding for the various projects that need to be done in Arawa, and the deadlines appear quite tight, so we will be busy for the next few days.(Interestingly I downloaded the presentations and documents onto a flash drive for our use but decided to do a scan on the drive before downloading into our computers – there were 22 viruses on it!- hope I got the lot!)

On Saturday we had a big lunch to end the conference followed by a performance by a local bamboo band – a segment of this is at the end of this page

I have also been trying to locate a portable pump for pumping sewerage – to assist with dealing with blockages – and a replacement refuse compactor truck – to replace the existing old unreliable beast – all on the internet. A bit of local competition has seen the rates for internet connection drop by nearly 50% by one company and 85% by the other – so internet access is a bit more reasonably priced now- also more reliable. I have been training my counterpart at the Council on the intricacies of the internet  so he can do his own thing.

It is amazing how many options there are available for all sorts of things all around the world- especially in China -and it is rather difficult to know which option to pick.The Council has the money for the pump but will have to find some to replace the truck. It is also interesting to see the mark-ups put on by local companies on imported goods!

Rosie continues to help develop Kirikai school’s library and to do the odd bit of teaching there too. We are hopeful that the books traveling up with the Mr Pip film crew are not far away , so that Rosie will be able to finish off the library project, and report back on its success to the wonderful donors! The kids are really enjoying the quite good stock of books they have already, so the new batch will be the icing on the cake!

Arawa has continued to be hot and relatively dry- although the humidity is still high. A highlight of the day is slipping into the local water hole in the nearby river most evenings – it seems to lower your core body temperature and is a great reviver. We had another trip to snorkel on another bit of reef near Kieta but this has been dynamite fished ( chuck a stick of dynamite or hand grenade into the sea and wait for the dead fish to rise to the surface) and is only just starting to regenerate – an undersea paradise turned into a virtual desert by a few selfish individuals.It will take years to recover.

Note there is no separate report this week.

Fruitfully yours

The main topic of this post is about some of the more exotic fruits and vegetables  we come across, plus a brief report on a walk Dave undertook with friends in the Arawa area, plus our latest venture into surrogate grand-parenting! As usual click on the highlighted text to work through to the written report!Fruitfully yours May 2011

On Dave’s  work front, we are still trying to access funding to do some projects , although it looks like we will shortly have enough to make a small start. The promised millions from the PNG government is supposed to be starting to arrive next month- however I am not holding my breath waiting for it.

PNG news continues to be full of murders, robberies and jail-breaks, with politicians being feted for handing out the millions of Kina they are allocated each year to spend on projects they approve of.  It seems like a recipe for political cronyism and corruption.  Latest article was on a group of armed off-duty soldiers trashing a Service Station and causing millions of Kina’s worth of damage.

  Bringing up the rear – the track to Pavaere

Some government departments are being relocated from Buka to Arawa and there is currently a Land Summit taking place in Arawa to try and work through the quagmire that constitutes land ownership in its various forms in Bougainville. This has been largely organised by Sarah a young VSA volunteer, with remarkable tenacity, tact and drive. It would be nice to think that something positive comes out of the discussions, but considering the complications, things may take a while longer to resolve.

Power pylons are being restored and wires run so it may not be too long before we have 24hr power!

A chipped tooth and lost filling has caused me a few problems but it looks like the local New Zealand trained dental nurse will be able to clean it up and fill it for me. Here’s hoping it all goes well or it may be a trip to Port Moresby or further for further treatment.

Take care