Day 2: Elijah Memedu – Apprentice Electrician

26 09 2012

I am into my second day and the scale reads 88kg. I don’t know if that is the truth or if it is only me with a bit of wishful thinking.

No matter, after leaving office at around 1726 hours, I happened by an old friend of mine. He’s a caricature artist by the name of Charles. (I think folks over at Sunday Chronicles hire him to do cartoons and stuff). So Charles tags along with me on this one.

Not long after I meet this sharp little kid of 4 by the name of Jaybes. He and his mom Maria were on their way into (that rather detestable) Vision City. I had a quick chat with them and took their photos but, sad to say, I forgot to get them to sign my release form so I will not be putting up their faces here.

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Elijah Memedu is from Goroko and Alotau

Further down the road, just before reaching Waigani* I bump into Elijah Memedu.

Well in fact Memedu was about to overtake me when I introduced myself and told him about what I was up to and if he was interested and he seemed fairly keen. By then even Charles lit up to the game and fell into beat with some support remarks on the side.

At 16 years of age, Elijah is a trainee electrician doing his apprenticeship with Starlight Electrical after having completed his vocational training at Morata* Vocational School. Neat eh? 🙂 Good kid.

Elijah loves rugby and resides in Gerehu Stage 1* but was “walking to relax” that afternoon after being dropped off by his boss near the NCDC City Hall when I caught up with him.

His eyes lit up when I presented him with not one, but TWO APPLES. Charles also took a break from his buai and sunk his teeth into the delights of an apple too.

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Day 1: Kure Yosi – Social Worker

24 09 2012

Weighing in at 89 kg, the first day of my 30 Day Challenge kicked off to a rocky start but I never expected it to be a walk in the park either. It was a walk nevertheless; and it will be so for the next 30 days. 😉

The first person I bumped into was this office worker type in Westpac bank colours. Opening with a courteous “Abinun, bro”, I observed on the traffic congestion in the manner of small talk.  But I may have introduced myself too soon because I could see that he was all suss about me from the way he eyed me.

You could tell he was thinking, “Who is this mausgrass psycho and what manner of scam is he peddling?” He had a polite wall up, which he successfully marshalled with a brisk pace for much of the way so I let him be.

Day 1 - Kure Yosi

Day 1: Kure Yosi of Lufa in the Eastern Highlands

But then I caught up with Kure Yosi.

Kure seemed a friendly chap from the word go, all the way to the North Waigani traffic lights where we parted company.

He was walking with a very slight limp that I later found out to be a sprained ankle.

At 33 years of age he works as a Youth Officer at the National Capital District Commission. Hailing from Lufa in the Eastern Highlands Province, Kure resides at ATS* but on that day I bumped into him he was on his way to crash at his wantoks’ at June Valley near Tokarara.

During our conversation, he told me a great deal about how stuff works at Lagatoi Haus, and I told him a great deal about my new friend Jesus.

I thought that was pretty cool because I learnt  quite a few NEW things from this quiet spoken man and so shared with him my stash of apple. 🙂

*Areas within the general vicinity of the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron.





Painting my 30-day Challenge with Faces

21 09 2012

That’s it, I’m done talking politics.

Well most of the time I’m either quoting someone or blogging a gripe. And I hate to see myself as a person who sees the glass half empty all the time. Although the system and the gremlins that work the system are largely responsible for fueling my words.

But that is not the point of this post. Folks over at Stella Mag recently brought to my attention this super cool idea of doing something out of the ordinary for 30 consecutive days. (By the way, that is one cool magazine you should get your hands on or better yet, subscribe to).

So here I was on Independence Day, trying on for size ideas for endeavours that anyone who knows me would not normally find me doing. And no, I am not going to go to work dressed as Zorro for the next 30 days (although I know of some who would in a heartbeat if they could).

However, I was toying with the idea of bungee jumping every afternoon. Unfortunately I had to forgo that idea for the simple fact that my afternoon schedule could not fit in a trip to the white cliffs of Vararaita National Park and back; and I have not even factored in the time it would take to strap on the gear. Yeah, sound check and all.

On a similar note, I sadly had to cross off a daily round of BASE jumping and croc-wrestling as well. During this brainstorming session, my patriotic zeal got lost somewhere in the mix, and I noticed my shoe lace was undone so I reached down to tie it. It was then, as I bumped into my gut, that I knew I had to do something about my expanding midsection.

Here was something practical I could embark on without unnecessarily creating a hole in my pocket, not to mention drastically reducing my lifespan. So I have resolved to do something about my weight with the help of the trusty old bathroom scale.

My modus operandi is quite elementary really. It is good old fashioned walking coupled with a simple garden diet.  So instead of hopping on a vehicle, I plan to walk home every day after work. Plus I am going vegan for a month to boot!

Weighing the pros and cons, the only negative aspect of walking is that I might suffer a little discomfort from the sweat and the strain of my backpack. But I can stand my own sweat than to have my olfactory receptors assaulted by the collective body odour and goodness knows what else 35 people and an bus offsider who has not touched a bar of soap in more than a month can cook up in a crammed bus on an equally crammed road.

Or shall I factor in the PMV experience of having one’s ears mercilessly assailed by a badly strung computerized techno jam overflowing with otiose drum rolls? Every day is high town madness with a driver who wishes he was cruising down the freeway in the hot, hot sun. O how bizarre. How bizarre.

Wait. Was that a line from a song somewhere? In any case, you get the picture.

On the other hand however, there are so many points going in favour of the simplicity of walking. It is economically sound. It is a good, fun-filled and wholesome exercise. You also have the wide open space to strike up a conversation with anyone you are walking with. If you walk alone, then it gives you precious thinking time to muse over the issues of life and beyond.

Now I like to tinker with stuff – even ideas. So I have decided to throw in a twist into this whacky script. I plan to meet and get to know a complete stranger on each of the 30 days that I am walking.

In celebrating the occasion of meeting this new friend, I will share a fruit with them, be it an apple or an orange. Apart from being an icebreaker, this is hoped to drive home the message of healthy eating to get folks off that rather loathsome buai, while further promoting the Melanesian spirit of sharing and giving.

To top things off I will get their photos taken – with their express permission of course, so they can get to feature on this blog. These people will make up the portraits of the faces that paint my afternoon walks.

The best part about this 30-day drill is that anybody can do it. Even you can do it. So get on board already. 🙂

Waigani traffic rush hour

Waigani traffic at rush hour. Port Moresby’s bus and taxi service providers were on strike on the day this photo was taken (20-9-2012)








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