Celebrating Independence with the People: From the diary of Sam Basil

4 10 2010

Words & photographs by Sam Basil
MP- Wau-Bulolo, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
  
from Winima Village, Biaru, Wau.  
September 16, 2010

Sam Basil with Wisini Goat Farmers

I always make sure that every independence anniversary I always make time available to spend with the very remote villages in my district just to remind them that I do care for them and also remind them that they do have a government and a country to celebrate for.  

I always say that, What have we to celebrate after seeing all the corruption riddled with bad governance in Waigani while the remote areas suffer. No good roads, not enough medicine, no doctors and other declining factors that we all know of.  

But regardless of all those we do have a country to celebrate for and hope together we all can transform this country one day with the improved export earnings currently experiencing especially when the LNG project gets off the ground and good governance.  

Let me say thank you again to MMJV through their CA Manager Mr. Stanley Komunt for helping out with the chopper from Wau into Wisini, Biaru. I took the road back for two reasons 1- To allow a very sick man to fly back into Wau in my place and 2- for me to inspect the bad sections of the road while also catching up on the agricultural disbursement programs in the Biangai Villages.  

Biaru also connects Kasangare / Sim the first LLG Wards of Waria LLG which connects Morobe Province to Central Province villages this particular route is also proposed for the Trans-Island Highway to link Papua & New Guinea which we all hope will come to fruition one day.  

Wisini Grandstand

Wisini Singsing Group

The Independence Celebrations took place immediately as soon as we landed with a singsing group leading the VIPs onto the grandstand which will be used later on as the football official grandstand. I was invited by Mr Steven Wata who is a local businessman in Lae who rewind motors employing locals and have captured some big customers including MMJV mine jobs or its contractors who uses large electrical motors.  

Mr Wata also engages into coffee buying in Biaru and competes with other local businesses including outside businessmen from Lae to buy coffee from the locals by sending their land cruiser ute into the villages to buy the coffee parchments. The trips into Biaru often runs empty which provides an opportunity for trade store operators to hire their vehicles into the villages.  

Biaru people basically earn their living through coffee aside from other cash crops they produce and sell in Wau like tobacco and others that is why we have brought along 8 coffee pulpers while complementing the pulpers with 8 sewing machines (for women’s groups) for the eight villages of Biaru valley.  

Speeches were made while we interacted with the locals and many of them have voiced their concerns about the Wau Biaru road conditions. I told the people that the JDP&BPC has made a D5 dozer available which is down at the moment in Kasinic Village after making few entries into wara kawar and back into Biangai. The machine is now awaiting repairs in Kasinic Village for its tracks the machine was also backed up with a new land cruiser to the LLG president John Yawa to provide logistical support.  

The Wau Rural LLG President Mr John Yawa arrived a few minutes later and also took the heat from the people and also agreed me to organise another bigger machine which we have agreed to while he driving me back into Wau. We have encountered bad sections of the road (see attachments of pics) which gave me a clearer picture of how to reorganise the road program because it is just too far therefore an urgent self-sustaining program must be put into place as soon as possible that can cater for camping on the run operation.  

The program ended after the donated items were handed out, Mr Steven Wata the tournament organiser who has sponsored this independence cup for over four years now asked the district to provide the trophies and we did under my DSG Non-Discretion funds as can be seen from the pictures.  

The 2009 champion K-United briefly displayed their shield which they won last year followed by sporting speeches followed by a kick off, Steven drilled the ball passed onto Wau Rural President Mr Yawa who was passed onto me for a strike I kicked the ball with all my might. The ball slightly missed the goal post to the left side which I blamed the safety boot which I wore that day anyway it was great. 

We then proceed off to the bow & arrow competition which Tony McCarrets of NBC Morobe, Rigo Ngandang of National and I took part I got close but one village got the bull’s eye and won the live chicken for dinner. 

We cooled off the nearby creek mind you a very cold creek I shivered for a while but recovered after warming up we had a wonderful dinner while I made time available for villagers who wants to discuss any matters at all or matters of concerns. Many issues were raised by individuals that evening regarding national politics like why the PM threatened to kill me or why some opposition Mps moved into government and many others. 

The night grew quite and late the villagers were beginning to retire for the night and I must admit that we were lucky to have Rigo Ngandang (The National reporter) also a musician who used to be a a lead singer/guitarist in the early gospel group called Rock of Ages, he borrowed an old guitar from the locals and beat some old time favourites under the moonlight. Eagles, Dr Hook, CCR were some of our old time favourates Rigo played that night. 

I spend the night in the guest house living room while Tony McCarrets shared the room with Father Ezron and others I can tell the next morning by seeing Tony’s red eyes that he didn’t have a good night’s rest. 

We forgot to remind him of the Papa Ezron’s snoring skills which we have all been victims of but I also thought that what if I told him the night before he might dessert his room and I will end up in his place because I was the last one to retire before Rigo. Well now that I have revealed my secret and I know Tony will read this the next time we land in a village I will mark my room ahead of others. 

evidence of abundance

Well this was my second trip into Biaru the last time I was there was to erect a Vsat system in the school and the people there have been benefiting from this communication project ever since December last year. It is now time for me to improve their road system to connect Sim in Waria and Wau Urban because it is their lifeline. The JDP&BPC will invest almost K2m for their road system with a new 20 ton dozer with all operational expenses and logistical support paid for in advance and let the program roll out. My next JDP&BPC will be held next week to deliberate and pass this important budget for the people of Biaru and Sim in Waria. 

Anyway we took the road that morning on September 17, 2010 driving and pushing our way through the bad sections of the road into Biangai starting off in Elauru and stopped briefly in Kasinic Village to visit the D5 Machine and being treated with an early dinner treat of creamed taro & kaukau from Pres(ident). Yawa’s mum. 

While heading into Wau we heard the helicopter chopping its way past above us into Wau from Biaru with Papa Ezron, Ms Pokana and the sick patient with our luggages which we later caught up with then had a brief meeting with Gibson and his missis at big bean estate. 

We then drove into Bulolo and went straight for the planned meeting with the displaced Sepik’s executives to catch up on my weekly Wednesdays meetings which I missed while in Biaru. We finished at about 9pm and headed for Mumeng while driving back I can recalled last year’s Independence day (2009), I spent the day in Middle Watut – Gwasak Primary School which I helped Steven Clay from Telikom’s Vsat department digging the pit to erect the satellite dish post and spend my independence day with them. 

I am now wondering which remote area I should spend the 2011 independence day celebration with well maybe I can make that decision sometimes early next year but I will still choose a very remote location to be with. 

 END 

Find more photos on this story here.

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One response

5 10 2010
bet365 italia

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I come from roma, I was fortunate to find your subject in digg
Also I learn much in your blog really thanks very much i will come daily

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