Saturday, September 28, 2013

Steering clear of the dark side.

So I begin this post by saying yes, its been forever. Not to say nothing has happened but exactly the opposite, too much has happened. One thing I've noted, if youre young, have a good career and perks and single, the tendancy for people to make up stuff about you like your kidding about your age, you must be married, etc seems to skyrocket exponentialy. Also it seems to be a winning formula for attracting fools who think its okay to scam you and then lie through their teeth like the antisocial personality disorder addled humans they are (fullfilling more than three criteria mind you).

But I learned a long time ago that it's okay if people talk like that because deep down, I'm still the woman my mother raised me to be. Yes, the truth of the matter is that after work all I do is go home and study or watch TV and sleep and its boring but it pays to be comfortable in your own skin. I mean, hey someone's got to have that boring life. And being a tech head fits in with the homebody lifestyle a great deal.

Speaking of technology, its amazing what has been thought up to help the world of medicine. Just returned from the PNG Medical Symposium and my my, the stuff I wish we had. Imagine having the lab back up to do viral cultures at each hospital, to do genetic studies to predict disease, to be able to do fiberoptic scopes at every hospital. Okay, pretty much still a dream outside Port Moresby but still. I know most people will say, forget the technology, what about all the people dying from diseases like Malaria and TB, but I say, look to the future of what we can offer our people. Lets not live in the dark ages of medicine and guess fire work (I think it must be this so I will guess and treat with this). Dont you wish you could say: I think it is this so now am going to investigate, prove that it is this and then treat? What a day when that happens in every place you go to in PNG down to the health centre level.

So I've decided not to live in the dark ages, to try and strive to see where the light of education and information leads me, and definetaly to steer cleer of people who dwell in the shadows of disbelief, dishonesty, those who try to change who I am for the worse. I figure I am one paduan steering clear of the dark side. May the force be with you all.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Moving back to the relatively real world

So I had to move recently to grow in this career. Turned on the phone and noted 3G network, more than two radio stations all in english and increased human traffic on the streets. Now I note that I miss that little beach town I had to leave behind. Walked to work this morning and noted the many vehicles, the noise, the dirty drains and my thoughts turned back to walking to work along the beach, pausing to note the size of the waves and the colour of the sea. I'm homesick for the town I left behind.

Standing at the airport when the plane landed and thought of the airport I left behind where my sisters all came. My brothers feigned excuses not to come say goodbye that they didn't want to see waterworks when I knew they were sad to see me go. The airport where my cousin hugged me and I knew he wanted to cry but was holding it back. Where my nephews and nieces helped me eat the chocolates I was supposed to take with me and where they insisted on staying while the delayed flight sat on the tarmac for an hour (it helps immensly that the sun doesnt set there till 1900HOURS).

Walked into the market and there was green produce aplenty and smiled as I thought of Koiya (a small Indonesian mini town) market and buying vegetables from the supermarket after the container ship arrives. But when a fight broke out outside the market and people starting running, I had palpitations and wished I was a million miles away.

So, yes I moved back to the relatively real world but I miss that sleepy little town where the sun doesnt set till late and everybody knows your name and respects your work. Where I found my voice, learned to lead and found laughter, friends and re-united with family...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Depends on the ship

You may have gathered already from my previous posts that I live in a small coastal town although previously being a city dweller at heart. One thing I’ve learned is that certain food items I took for granted in the city are not so easy to find in this small place. These items are not your necessity items, it’s the other stuff like certain types of cheese, a decent chocolate bar, highlands grown vegetables (cauliflower, capsicums, etc) and sometimes that particular food item you crave. Such as fresh peas (pause to utter a long sigh).

Yesterday I tried to explain to someone where to find cake ingredients and without realizing gave her a detailed explanation of which ingredients to get where and that only one store in town sold soft icing sugar and ‘you had better stock up because once it runs out you won’t find it for a while’. I had to stop myself chuckling as I’m starting to sound like a local (bear in mind my definition of a local is someone who has spent more than 5 years continuously in one spot, place of origin not counted). When I first arrived here I had no idea how I was going to bake anything, where I was going to find Orchy or if I ever was going to eat another cherry ripe again. A year down the track, I’m happily baking, Orchy is easy to find and have found that a certain pharmacy regularly stocks up on Cadbury chocolates and my beloved Cherry Ripes. I’ve even located Jubes, yes those hard sugar coated jelly fruity sweets, oh immeasurable joy. I actually shrieked when I found Jubes on the supermarket sweet shelf much to the embarrassment of accompanying relatives who gave each other that ‘she’s a city kid’ look.

Even vegetables are easier to find these days. I found out that supplies of vegetables for certain supermarkets arrive once a month on a particular cargo ship. This has made vegetable shopping infinitely easier as all I have to do is check when the ship arrives, wait a day or two to allow for unloading and then buy in bulk at the supermarket. Brilliant isn’t it? At this point you should visualize the pleased at myself large grin on my face. Previously I had to resort to multivitamin supplements for my diet, it’s so much nicer to actually taste green leafy vegetables then take a pill.

I also found out there is a second hand shop here in town. For those of you either Papua New Guinean in origin or have a long acquaintance with our nation, you would realize by now that second hand shopping ‘em kaikai yah’ (an almost national pastime). For the rest of you, a second hand shop is somewhat like a thrift shop or one of those charity shops that sell donated old clothes and whatnot. After a lengthy conversation with the shop keeper (you’ll find I like indulging in random conversations of a curious nature with strangers), I found out that they also rely on a certain shipping line (not the same as the supermarket grocery supplies come from) to bring in their bales of second hand clothes so hence another devised plan to wait for the ship to come in.

Many people tell me I could always get stuff in Indonesia (across the border) but being wholly patriotic and believing in buying in Papua New Guinea, I shall stick to waiting for a ship to come in. Almost anything can be bought here; it just depends on the ship.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Independence Day and Patriotism

Yesterday the nation of Papua New Guinea celebrated 37 years of Independence. Small town existance means that if you waited till a few days before Independence Day to be looking for a flag/decorations or Independence Day t-shirts and assorted garb, you would be too late. The few stores that sold patriotic related memorabillia rapidly sold out. I spent the last two days before the weekend looking for a large flag to fly outside my house inbetween work however to no avail. I had to settle for a string of small flags to adorn the balcony. Happily though I had the bright spark notion to buy Independance related ballons on my last trip to the big smoke and when tied with streamers actually brightened the balcony even more.

Independence Day celebrations in many towns and cities includes a march by members of the armed forces, schools, organisations and the public to a gathering point (field/stadium/etc) followed by a flag raising ceremony, the national anthem and saying of the national pledge. The ceremonies usually start early so that the flag raising ceremony would begin around 8 to 9 am. Small town etiquette means that the starting time is highly negotiable especially if at 8am in the morning it is pouring heavy rain. A nice touch was the organisers driving around with a loud hailer in the rain to announce the march would start around 11am.

Before the march started, I decided to take a stroll around the town with relations (kitted out in Independence and nationalism related attire of course) and random people walking on the beach and the streets stopped to smile and wish me Happy Independence day. I think a small town allows for people to be relaxed enough to share their joy with strangers at such an occasion which may be lost in a much more populous area. One thing that is the same as most larger centres though is that when you walk into most shops, the employees are dressed either in national colours or traditional outfits for the day.

After a quick spin around town, we headed back to a section of the beach where school children lined up, all dressed in full uniforms with their banners all waiting for the march to start. I spent the time taking random photos of each school and the others who were there. Sometimes people ask why I take photos of events, whether it is for a memory and I say it is. I want to have some record of public events that later down the track someone else can look at and know what Papua New Guinea for the average person was like in 2012. I look back at old photos on file about past Independence day celebrations and the best ones that speak volumes about the occasion were taken from the average individuals camera. Granted the photographs taken by professionals are a great account of the events , but my favourite photos are still of random individuals smiling, waving the national flag. The joy in their eyes speaks volumes.
Marchers lined along the beach

Vanimo Primary School Banner

Holy Cross Primary School
Marchers lined along the beach

Armed forces leading the march
Dapu Primary School Banner
Don Bosco Secondary School

Flag raising ceremony

I ended the day sitting on a deck chair on a best friend's balcony full of good food and wine, listening to sounds of rapturous singing in the distance and the waves breaking, reminiscing about the past year for the nation, about new beginnings and being entirely happy. I also thought about how, eventhough the parental units were in another city, I was happy to be surrounded by friends who shared this pride I have for my nation. This year the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) also fell on the night of Independence day, a double blessing in my books. So Happy Independence day Papua New Guinea and L'shanah tovah!