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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As It Stands: Kirap na Opim Tingting

14 09 2010

Wherever you are in your respective niche in society, know that you are but simply a medium of information and knowledge to others less fortunate in education and information. It is your duty to God, Man and yourself to educate and inform them free of bias.

To enlighten and liberate the souls of their minds to the endless possibilities out there for them to explore.  To show them that the world is much bigger than your pettiness and my trivialities.

Much bigger than your Sepik and my Simbu and your Morobe and my Sepik. Much bigger than your Southern Bloc and my Highlands Bloc and your Momase Bloc and my Islands Bloc. Much bigger than your Hailens and my Nambis and your solwara and my maunten. Much bigger than your SP botol and my White Can and your buai and my daka. Much bigger than your pokies and my bomb kandis and your gossip and my backbite.

(Wan Shane yo, Mi wanbel na full support long trupla toktok blong yu long Fonde apinun (9/9/10) long Rait FM – 99.5 FM. Kaim oh kinningk pii lde. Trupla!)

If you are reading this then know this. You are not the future of this nation. You are the present. You are the now. You have been born into this era for a purpose and a reason. Live true to this fact.

You don’t have to look far to see that this nation is at the crossroads and you are right there at the helm, with your actions, words and thoughts setting the course for this ship. Now ask yourself this everyday. AM I building up or breaking down?

Every single action you take counts on whether we make it or break it as a nation. Every single word you utter will either light the way or cast a shadow over stumbling blocks.

I therefore beseech you to let reason prevail as you abandon all petty squabbles and politics of your tribe and hauslain and instead let your being and soul feed the flames of passion for this NATION and its GREATNESS.

Live True!





HOPE Trek’s Shirt-for-Books Campaign

8 03 2010

I don’t know if had mentioned this earlier but I was working on something crazy. Well not the diabolical kind but outrageous nonetheless. Well, now its here at long last in all its naked glory!

Hope Trek gives you the opportunity to participate in a worthy cause through the Shirts-for-Books campaign. This is a fundraiser exercise in which printed T-shirts are sold to raise funds in helping to freight library books to children in remote schools.

It is basically an awareness trekking initiative with its primary focus in providing library books to remote schools within PNG to help in the education and early development of children. As a demonstrative exercise, members of Hope Trek will take on the Kokoda Track on May 23rd 2010 to raise awareness – NOT funds – in promoting the reading of books as a fundamental cornerstone in education and literacy.

In its pilot run, the initial books numbering to more than 2000 have been donated with the kind help of Hope Worldwide (PNG). Still more books are on their way from the Rotary Club of the rural township of Emerald in Queensland, Australia.

The initial target schools are Bukapena Top-Up in the Mul District of Western Highlands Province and Saluk Community School of remote Lembena, located in the border area of Enga Province (Kompiam District) and East Sepik Province (Angoram District). Bukapena, in a first of its kind, has erected a school library through local initiative and is in need of books to fill up its shelves, while Saluk, given its remoteness has only grades 1 – 4 and is in dire need of learning resources and books.

Further to its main purpose, this venture will also serve as a platform for raising awareness to certain key issues facing this country and its people. As such this initiative can be seen as a multipronged exercise aimed at bringing to light the following issues.

  1. Environment and Conservation awareness – people need to be reminded of the importance of the natural environment. Scheduled to coincide with the World Environment Day (5 June 2010), this point will be highlighted in line with this year’s WED theme of ‘Protecting our Biodiversity’. Highlighted also will be The Managalas (Ijivitari district, Oro) people’s bid to get their area to attain Conservation Area status in August of 2010.
  2. Climate Change awareness – related to the first point, this is a hot topic that is facing the wider global community including PNG who is already in the forefront of this agenda, with it having the first “refugees of climate change” in the world (Carteret Islands) . It is therefore imperative that our people are armed with this knowledge as this agenda requires affirmative action from one and all.
  3. Eco-friendly Income Generating Ventures – there is commercial viability in the sustainable management and use of our rich natural resources and forests without the need to delve into more destructive land use practises. Trekking is one of the many eco-friendly tourist attractions that we all should look into for income generation. This will no doubt encourage the protection and preservation of our rich cultural and traditional heritage.
  4. Responsibility and Self-reliance – as a demonstrative exercise, it is envisaged that this initiative will challenge people to be more proactive in their wish to see development within their area. That we as individual members of the community can participate meaningfully in the development process of our province and the nation as a whole instead of wasting our time and resources either waiting for services that never eventuate, or go chasing after claims and free hand-outs from the government, politicians and leaders. It is high time we eradicate the Cargo-Cult mentality from our mindset and set out to be more self-reliant and innovative in our thinking to see true progress.
  5. Youth Mobilization – the participation of youths from Morata and Waigani in this exercise will no doubt be an eye-opening experience for them. By participating in a worthwhile cause, it will enable them to see themselves as more responsible citizens instead of just bums squandering their lives away in the city.
  6. Books and Literacy – the primary focus of this initiative as outlined will be to challenge young children (and adults alike) to take up a book to read, thus helping to broaden their horizon, not only in the subjects taught in school but about the wider universe at large so that they can grow up to be better, more responsible citizens.

I therefore appeal to you and your organisation for your support in this worthy cause through the purchase of a few T-shirts. Proceeds from the sale of these T-shirts will be used to airlift these books to their intended destinations as well as to meet other necessary logistical expenses.

The T-shirt designs are attached herewith for your perusal. A detailed definition of this trekking venture can be made available upon request.

Nickson I. Piakal
Hope Trek Founder

For further information please contact me on the following.
B: 7695 1446

D: 7168 1837  

E: niicaux(AT)gmail(DOT)com

E(work): npiakal(AT)pwmpng(DOT)org(DOT)pg

T-Shirt Designs

FRONT view: white t-shirt

FRONT view: black t-shirt

BACK view: standard white t-shirt

BACK view: standard black t-shirt

Back view: customised white t-shirt

Black print with orange and white texts: “05-06,`10”, “KOKODA to YUAT”, and “Powered by…” followed by YOUR company’s/ organisation’s LOGO.
Condition: Minimum purchase of 10 units.

Back view: customised black t-shirt

White print with orange and black texts: “05-06,`10”, “KOKODA to YUAT”, and “Powered by…” followed by YOUR company’s/ organisation’s LOGO.
Condition: Minimum purchase of 10 units.





Sick Go Hungry in PNG

14 05 2008

Despite Papua New Guinea’s various staple food crops, today’s urban residents mainly rely on rice as their staple diet. Apart from the urban households, rice also features as the base in most menus in almost all of the public and private run institutions like schools, colleges, correctional facilities and hospitals.

Lately I could not help but notice that news relating to the shortage of rice and food stocks all over the world has persistently maintained a regular presence on the pages of the morning dailies. Then the headlines “Sick go hungry” (The National, 07/05/2008) and “Medics attribute child deaths to lack of food” (The National, 09/05/2008) nailed home the stark reality of this bleak predicament that we are in.

The headlines mentioned above highlight only a fraction of the plight of our medical services in this country. Apart from limited supply of food, the delivery of basic medical supplies, drugs and anti-venoms scandals, deteriorating standards of the wards and basic medical facilities are all issues that have plagued the medical sector of recent times.

Amongst other basic rights of a human being, the right to adequate food, shelter and medical care (Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights) are the very fundamentals of life as we know. As such, when an organisation installed by the government of the common people is empowered to guard and protect the well-being of its citizens, it has to perform it diligently.

In failing, whether through mismanagement, ignorance or pure negligence, the party responsible for this tragedy is in direct violation of the basic human rights, as in the case of these children who sadly and unnecessarily lost their lives. They therefore should be held accountable for it and should be penalised accordingly.

Is this a preview of things to come? What can the authorities, policy makers and even us as individuals do about it? With the current rice(food) crisis, the rising cost of fuel and the pass-the-cost-to-the-consumer formula combined with an outdated minimum wage, there is a high probability of headlines like “Sick go hungry II” and “Sick go hungry III” appearing more often.

The government has to see this as a wake up call and has to ACT NOW to address the issue of food shortage and rising costs. Maybe our government can take a leaf out of the Indonesian, Fijian and the Tongan government’s initiative by temporarily reducing or even eliminating import duty on all basic food items coming into the country. At least that is one option worth considering.

Failure in doing so may see a breakdown in social order, eventually leading to mass abuse of human rights in the fight for survival, giving rise to a humanitarian crisis. Then a heading like “More Sick Starve to Death” may not even raise eyebrows, much less sell a paper.

Or is this a big call?

::sja::

Note:

  • As a participating blogger in the Bloggers Unite for Human Rights campaign, I was planning to write about the abuse of “power” by some odd elements within the Royal Police Constabulary of Papua New Guinea, mainly on the juvenile sector of the population, as brought to the public’s attention and knowledge through the power of mass media. However, seeing the food shortage crisis as a more pressing issue, I decided upon this post.
  • To Give is Twice Blessed
    I would also like to make a special mention on the effort of some members of the community who selflessly and tirelessly put in their time, effort and resources into helping others through donations of cash, kind and human service. One such group are the United Church mothers who weekly make visiting rounds to the Port Moresby General Hospital as highlighted in the news report above. Your work is truly appreciated and God will immensely bless you.The effort of all medical personal all over the country as well as the world should not go without a mention too. For giving your best to saving lives; at often times with scant resources and at the expense of your own health and comfort. Thank you and God Bless.

Some Links worth checking out

  1. Human Rights Watch – Overview of various Human Rights issues in PNG
  2. Every Human Has Rights – Read and Sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  3. Amnesty International

::sja::





Bloggers Unite for Human Rights

11 05 2008

Bloggers Unite

Marking the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, BlogCatalog  has initiated the Bloggers Unite for Human Rights campaign.

This campaign is supported by Amnesty International  who will be drawing attention to bloggers that participate in this cause so that they can be brought to attention collectively at one given time.

In this campaign, bloggers all over the world who participate will post a blog on the 15th of May 2008, photo or video to highlight cases of Human Rights abuse. It can be any instance of human rights abuse that has already been brought to attention by the mass media or maybe a local case that is isolated to your locale and needs to be brought to the attention of the outside world . Some resources have been provided on Amnesty International’s website as listed here.

If you are a blogger out there and want to take a stand for human rights then join us and grab a badge for your blog here.

::sja::








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