“Oh Kwato Is A Green Place…”

Looking up from the Kwato wharf - on the left is the big badila (nut) tree and the raintrees. But what was most disturbing was the fast rising sea level on this foreshore.

As our dinghy pulled up along side the wharf at Kwato, I was struck with the beauty of this island where my siblings and lots of relatives grew up and lived. I went to school here. The big badila tree reminded me of waking up early in the mornings to collect the nuts that the flying foxes have dropped on the ground the evening before.

We used to sing “Oh Kwato is a green place, a home for the flowers…”

The walk across the cricket ground and up towards the main road brought back lots of memories. But hey, the big gisoa (mango) trees were gone. The place did not look right. I searched for a small landmark which my Grandfather left and what a great relief that brought tears to my eyes. It was still there.

The iconic Kwato Church. One of the two stone churches in PNG. Both are over 100 years old. How majestic the dubu looked.
 
This is the first time I am able to take a shot like this. My Nikon D90 did not fail me – more like the panoramic lens. This is a Papuan dubu design. We walked around it and then looked beyond – now one could take in a 360 degree view from this vantage point. The dubu is situated on a small plateau on Kwato. Isiiii kapole hinage…the day was sunny and bright and was the right time to visit Kwato. Met up with some relatives and wish I had time for more meetings but we were on a schedule so next time.
 
We walked up to Tupi and met up with Uncle S who incidently saw us earlier on during our climb up towards dubu. He was with a couple of the guys repairing parts of Aituha ( short distance from the back of the Church). His house has a priceless view of the Papuan mainland and surrounding islands.
 
He had a great collection of hibiscus and other beautiful flowers. Uncle S let us take as many shots as we wanted of the flowers and here’s one of them of the magnificient pink and white hibiscus at the front of the house.
 
Magnificient pink and white hibiscus - '"...a home for the flowers..." alright. Amatoi lailai Uncle S for receiving us so graciously and letting us take photos of your beautiful flowers.

We bid Uncle S goodbye and headed down the old Sipi Road towards the B & C building and the wharf. It was a wonderful two (2) hour tour of Kwato Island. Thank you much Jenny (Driftwood Resort) for letting me be the tour guide for this trip to Kwato.

Doini Island beckoned as we quickly had some cold drinks and headed towards the wharf.

I reflect on this week and what has happened or has not happened depending on one’s perspective. I think PNG went through a process that showed how mature Papua New Guineans have become in looking at political developments and how these events impact on our daily lives. Whilst the seriousness of the impasse and the legal judgements and constitutional dos and donts were debated in Facebook and other media and our freedom hung precariously in the balance, I was amazed at how well we handled ourselves as a nation. Not even Australia can say anything nasty about Papua New Guineans anymore. The smear campaigns their papers run and their politician’s perceptions of PNG as a failed state are blown right out of the water. Politically we are more mature than anyone I know. 

PNG leaders must sort themselves out and resolve their differences because we the silent majoity are taking our democracy very seriously and are putting them on notice with every hour that goes by.

I can’t help thinking that Peter O’Neill now is like the Grand Chief Sir Michael in the early 70s. History is replaying itself again it seems, as the young takes over the reins to take this country to another level. Its proud and risilient citizenry watches silently in hope and positive expectation as another era in our democracy is born before our very eyes.

PNG is a beautiful and amazing country. Let’s keep it that way.

PNG Still Makes Me Smile Regardless

Returning from Tawali Resort - a view to remember...eneeeeeeee

At this point in time in Port Moresby with all the prevailing confusion caused by the political leadership tussle and no one piece of  news gives us any consolation that a solution is nigh, one needs to reach out to the lovely things that make Papua New Guinea a beautiful country. Those lovely things are the real deal.

Yesterday with all that was being reported over the radio, the national dailies and in Facebook etc, I observed that most people in the downtown Port Moresby area and surrounds were busy going about their business.

It did occur to me that in times like this the lovely things about Papua New Guinea must come out. My thoughts turned to the hundreds of photos I’ve taken since my return from England and how it would be great to share these magical moments on this blog…

So here are some of the many images I’ve snapped of this beautiful country which should not be trashed and tarnished through the reckless and callous actions of a few.

My photoblog starts today sharing some more magic moments in PNG…

Sunset on the Tawala side – returning from Tawali Resort
 

A lone fisherman on an outrigger canoe in the bay. The mountains on the Tawala side looked ever so majestic.
The above photo was taken from a Driftwood Resort dinghy taking us on a day trip to Kwato, Doini and Samarai just after last year’s Canoe and Kundu Festival in Alotau.
 
In sum, regardless of the current ridiculous political wrangling and confusion that is and can be unsettling if you are in Port Moresby right now, there are things that can still make one smile. Those things are real and tangible within the heart of every peace-loving Papua New Guinean and those whose spirits have made the connection to the beauty of this country and its people.
 
We are all in some way connected through our smiles and the quiet confidence we exude in the way we have taken this most challenging and historic time in PNG’s political history in our stride.