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, June 01, 2005

Other Thoughts From ENB

A few observations from my time in East New Britain:
  • Tolai (the local tok ples or language) names are tricky bastards to pronounce. It took me a hell of a long time to get some of them spat out correctly. In particular, Vunadidar (a place we visited) and Tavurvur (the volcano), took their initial toll on my tongue.

  • The local Tolais have the weirdest reddish hair. It is a strange look. They are a typical Melanesian sized person (ie shortish), with the usual dark skin, typical face and then a crown of curly red/orange hair to it all off. I had noticed this look around Lae, but I never clicked that they were in fact Tolais.

  • East New Britain has easily the best roads of any province I have been to. And they are numerous to boot. They go all over the place and they are all sealed with lines down the middle and, get this, in some places they even have kerb and guttering! If only the Morobe administration didn't spend all their cash on law suits we may have something similar.

  • The devastation that destroyed Rabaul has certainly been a boon for the province. Kokopo has some of the best public buildings that I have seen, all brand new and shiny (and mostly built with aid money), and of course, as mentioned above, they now have fantastic roads running all over the place - apparently thanks to German aid money.

  • The PMV system is sorted out. None of this, lean out the window and shout in that strange lanaguage where the buses are going. Instead they have - and wow what an innovation - signs in the front window announcing what direction and place they are heading to. There are also numbers clearly painted on the bus to announce the route they travel along. When you pay for the trip, you pay the driver directly - there is no bos kru - and the amount you pay depends on the distance you travel. Gees, at least logic prevails somewhere in this country.

  • Kokopo really needs decent Internet access. K18 for ½ an hour at the only Internet café in town for a shared 33.6kbps modem link is a bit ludicrous. I might just have to help out in this situation. In fact it looks like I will be helping out with this situation, we will see what happens.