An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Another Buying Debate

Been thinking about getting a TV recently. But I am in a conundrum. Must be because I am a Libran.

"It has been over twelve months since you have had a TV, so why should you bother to get one now", the little white angel sitting on one of my shoulders says.

"Get one and then you can while away the hours on weekends watching sport and video clips", says the little red devil complete with pitchfork sitting on the other shoulder.

"But the cricket has now finished and you hate all the hip-hop and R'n'B shit those youngsters are listening to nowadays. All the movies shown are the shite type on Hallmark, you will be cursing the thing after a week". White says.

"The news, you like watching news. BBC, ABC even Fox". Red says.

"Exactly, don't get it, they have Fox News here". Good point.

"Don't listen to goodie two-shoes, think about it, you will be able to watch DVDs on a bigger screen than your laptop". True.

"The laptop screen is not too bad and besides think about the extra cost, a volunteers wage is pretty miserly and it will cost an extra 40 Kina a month just to use it". Very true.

"Ahh don't listen to that little know-it-all, listen to me I know what I am talking about". Alright you have now resorted to name calling, argument off!

I have decided what I am going to do. I will spend the money on buying a bike instead.

Even though I have already had one of these debates about buying a bike, I have decided that I will get one now anyway and there is a good reason for me to change my mind.

Knox our department storeman, who I have mentioned previously (he came up Mt. Wilhelm with me, and we made it to the top together - what a weekend that was!), has told me his tale about what he did during December.

With a group of other adventure minded locals, they took it upon themselves with their own initiative to gain funding for a bike ride from Lae to Port Moresby. It was all for a good cause, AIDS awareness and a Stop Violence Against Women campaign.

Now if you have ever looked at a map of PNG you will realise there is no road to Port Moresby. There is a reason for this. It is because there is a bloody big mountain range called the Owen Stanley's in the way, which includes some seriously challenging terrain. Even so PNG must the only country in the world where the two biggest cities are unconnected by land transport.

Anyway, they rode up the existing road as far as possible and from there they followed the bush tracks along what is called the Bulldog track. They all slept out overnight, met locals gave them leaflets and stickers and told them what they were doing.

He told me about one village in the mountains where the locals did not have any normal clothes and were still wearing bush clothes, grass skirts etc. He felt so sorry for them that he ended up giving them some of his shirts he had packed. I thought it was interesting that Knox would feel pity about his own countrymen who have been living in this way for millennia. Personally I think it is great that there are still people living in a traditional way - makes me wonder how many more of these villages are out there.

They eventually made it all the way to Moresby after a couple of weeks of tough work, where a lot of the time the bikes were riding on their backs as they carried them over impassable terrain. They were greeted by the media and met the politicians and then got stuck there because they didn't have the cash to get a flight back to Lae. Eventually Knox managed to get the cash from somewhere and arrived back - a week after I did.

So, as to why I want to get a bike. Well Knox has told me that they are going to be doing a similar ride from here to Madang at the end of the year, handing out leaflets and stickers and I thought that this would be just about the endurance that I would be able to cope with. So if I get a bike now, at least I would be able to put in a bit of training before the big event. May as well plan ahead. Beside it will be a great way to finish up my time here in PNG.