As you can see am not done with Manus yet. I wanted to share more heart-warming experiences there…the week of PNG’s 35th Independence anniversary celebrations.
We were warmly welcomed as we arrived at the Lorengau showground, the day we arrived, by the Manus Show’s lead coordinator. Accompanied by the beat of the garamut we were flanked by traditional dancers on either side. It was a welcome befitting of nobility. I was really humbled. We were led up the steps of the stage and were warmly received by the Governor of the Manus Province the Provincial/District Administrator, other Manus dignitaries and VIPs. After the public introductions I was asked to say a few words which I did.
We were told by the inspirational MC that we are now in the middle of the cultural performance programme and there will be more traditional dancing. This was what I wanted so much to see. We settled down and the show continued. Wow! what blessing indeed I felt.
I was really taken with the kindness, the generosity, hospitality of the people who welcomed us so warmly into their midst. I was glad that my celebrations of PNG’s 35th Independence anniversary began in Manus amidst a cultural extravaganza. The significance of it hit me hard from the perspective of a new CEO in the tourism, arts and culture sector. This is where I want to be – in this job – amongst the people that make my job worthwhile, exciting and satisfying no matter the challenges.
As we watched one group of dancers after another on that exciting and heart-warming afternoon I thought to myself, yes, it is the culture and the arts that give us our identity as a people. Our cultural and artistic diversity must be preserved. In those moments we were entertained by dancing group after dancing group I felt a great conviction to do my job and do it well so that the policies we put in place for tourism, arts and culture are mutually re-enforcing. I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that we also must not take our culture and our arts for granted – both must fit hand in glove so that the essence of the attraction others feel for PNG outside and within our shores is preserved by the respect and pride we ourselves feel about our own culture and our art.
Inspite of the sweltering tropical sun and the heat, the place rocked.
As we departed the stage and the end of the celebrations, the modern band struck up some dance tunes…
The 2010 Manus Show promises to be a fusion of traditional and modern, a sign of things to come not just for Manus but for Papua New Guinea.