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, November 02, 2005


The new flatmate scenario is working out alright. He is trying to make heads and tails of how things work here - as you do when you come to a completely different country and you know you have to stay for the next two years. So far he is succeeding pretty well, though perhaps a tad daunted.

And the daunt-ness certainly went up a bit for him last night when we all went down to the yacht club. The beer was flowing readily, more readily than usual as a few free kegs were put on by what I gather was a happy Makybe Diva supporter, and the stories started. Just the usual type to begin with - what people had been up to, the Melbourne Cup, the storm brewing nearby (that later hit) - and then onto the favoured topic of discussion when a new guy is in town, the scare stories.

Part of any new person's entry into PNG is the telling of the scare stories that go around. There are plenty of them and most people have one or two to tell regarding incidents they have been in. Poor old newbie was wide-eyed when we started recounting some of them, even I chipped in with my Highway Survivor tale, which always seems to go down well.

The stakes were upped a tad when one of the local ex-pats, who had joined us, told how he had numerous death threats on him at the moment and that was the reason why he carried around a 9mm automatic pistol with him at all times. With this he proceeded to pull out one of the magazine clips from the weighed down 'bum bag' strapped to his front.

Even I raised my eyes at this. A little bit of discretion is usually applied to when talking about guns. Plenty of people have them, and others usually know, but not many people like to advertise it openly.

From the way it was discussed on the way back it is obviously something that will stick in my flatmates mind. Just like the incident when I first saw a real gun in PNG. That is when you realise that this place really is cowboy country. When people arm themselves all the time. This is not something that I am going to miss about this place at all.