Back from the cold

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

The title of this post  intends to give the impression that I was away but such is not that case. Well, technically I was still around but work on this front had simmered down to an extent as I was caught up with my full time job (you will get a fair idea here and here). I hope this admission will serve also as an apology to you who have been following this venture, more so especially to those of you who subscribe to this blog and are members of our cause page.

Anyway, in the manner of updates, while I was (seemingly) ‘out in the cold’ much has been happening.

First up, I got word from the headmaster of our first school that they have included library studies in all their class schedules. This in itself is a step in the right direction and I was thrilled to receive that update.

I have also had a word with the headmaster from Kuorua Primary School when I went there last November. Kuoruo is located high up in the Managalas Plateau of Afore sub-district in the Oro Province. It takes about 4 to 5 hours by a rugged road to get there from Popondetta. I will be going there again in April of this year so I hope to further finalise arrangements on the possibility of engaging this school and others nearby to participate in the next Hope Trek run.

I am now working on finalising something more concrete and hope to announce it soon here. Stay tuned.

Categories: Project Update Tags: , , ,

Obama on Education

September 15, 2010 2 comments

“An education is about more than getting into a good college or getting a good job when you graduate. It’s about giving each and every one of us the chance to fulfill our promise—to be the best version of ourselves we can be.”
Barack Obama

The Next Generation Leaders’ Conference

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

NGLC2010 Passion

A flier for you to download and pass on. You are all invited and encouraged to come along.

You can read more about Patriots PNG, Inc.  here or here .

Alas! National Book Week has Come and Gone

August 6, 2010 4 comments

How embarrassing!

Its 3pm in the afternoon and while browsing through today’s paper, I happened upon Steven’s Window, a weekly column in the Weekender edition of The National Newspaper that I regularly follow. Its then I realize that this week was the National Book Week.  Notice the usage of the past tense as I just can not get myself to refer to it in the present tense. Perhaps out of the guilt tugging inside of me for being this forgetful. The first week of August every year usually is the national book week.

Given what HT stands for, this is just unacceptable to not mention “books” on the occasion of  the National Book Week. Perhaps this post may redeem me from this guilt. So here I shall pen this down in RED to remember this week next year.

Anyway, I guess it would have been appropriate to do up a book review or a bio-focus on an author perhaps.

But I certainly would NOT have written about the Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Paulias Matane because my perception of him has somewhat changed in light of  developments within the political arena of Papua New Guinea of recent times. I do not discount the fact that he has accomplished a lot by contributing to PNG Literature with 42 books, endless good deeds and sage words. What have I, a simple blogger to show but a measly 446 hits (on last count) in my attempt to join in the stampede of mad rush for information.

But I stand by my word.

Stand by your gun and Walk the Talk or Pack up and hit the road(, Jack!). Practice what you preach or else save your lip service and watch me put my money where my mouth is

If you want to read more about Matane and his endless work in promoting the book culture, You can find it here at Steven’s Window.

Seems I still have a long way to go in redeeming myself. 😦

::end::

Digression into Art

August 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Let us digress from the usual HT banter and check out PNG art making headlines. Well perhaps not too much of a digression because in essence, Hope Trek is driven by the fire of PATRIOTISM much like what this post does.

It is a compelling review about a spectacularly performance by our very own Dr Michael Mel back in September 2009 in London as part of the “Hailans to Ailans” international exhibition. It portrays a cross sectional view of contemporary PNG culture and life through art. PNG definitely needs more of this now more than ever.

You should definitely have a read through this post at IslandMeri’s blog.

::end::

Walking the Talk

August 4, 2010 2 comments

I strongly stand for and believe that in promoting an ideology, doctrine, belief or any other information one is trying to disseminate, they have to put into action what they proclaim. There are no ifs and buts about it or it will be nothing but hypocrisy and mere lip service.

It is all about practicing what we preach.

Walk the talk!

a hand sanitizer off the shelves of your local pharmacy

In saying that, in our awareness run we also talked about taking preventative measures against Cholera through basic hygiene like maintaining cleanliness and washing our hands after visiting the toilet, during food preparation and before eating. As a backup plan, we carried with us hand-sanitizers.

Practising basic hygiene

Round One Concluded

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I thought it was appropriate that I furnish a report on HT to my employers, not because I was bound by them to do so but because I felt obliged to enlighten them on  the fact that this exercise also promotes the ideals and goals that they stand for.  Plus I was late for work by a week so I had to justify myself :p. A condensed version of my report was posted on the PWM blog. Below is a slightly edited version (more like carbon copy :)) of the original post covering the actual expedition phase of the book-delivering awareness run starting on the 19th of May 2010, taking me and 9 youths from NCD one month through five (5) provinces to conclude this awareness run in the Western Highlands Province.

Hope Trek is in essence a demonstrative awareness exercise that first seeks to highlight the need for books and reading as a fundamental cornerstone of education and literacy.  Through the delivery of donated books to remote schools in PNG it is hoped to contribute in elevating PNG’s low literacy standards by promoting books as an additional source of knowledge.

In addition to this main agenda of books, it further seeks to enlighten as many people as possible about the importance of the environment and what we as Papua New Guineans and citizens of this world stand to gain or lose, in either the practise or non-practise of conservation in our day to day living.

Other related points were also raised in this month long run making it a multi-pronged awareness exercise. These points collectively were used to enlighten people by demonstrating how we as ordinary citizens can contribute in our own little way in seeing change and progress within our community and the country at large. In so doing, it further reemphasised the idea of being self-reliant through responsible living by thinking and acting proactively in seeing change.

The key points addressed in this exercise include:

  1. Books and the importance of reading
  2. Environment and conservation awareness
  3. Climate Change
  4. Looking into sustainable income generating ventures
  5. Being responsible and self-reliant
  6. Basic Hygiene & Cholera Awareness – the cholera outbreak was a hot issue (and still is) at the time of our departure, so we made it as a last minute inclusion into our awareness points upon request by James Enage, the Chairman of Kokoda Track Authority who helped facilitate our trekking by providing us with trekking passes free of charge. 🙂

Modus Operandi Dissected

Leaving from Ower’s Corner in Central Province, we took on the arduous Kokoda Trail and conducted awareness and distributed posters every step of the way to Oro Province and onwards to Morobe, Eastern and Western Highlands Provinces where the donated books were eventually handed over to the designated schools.

As a starting point in our outreach, familiar grounds like traditional practises in farming, hunting and land use plans as well as the Bible story of creation were used to drive home the message of conservation and being environmental friendly. The idea was to start with the most mundane of actions like minding our litter, reforestation using local species of trees, maintaining traditional hunting practises and the prevention of unnecessary bush fires.

Information on cholera was also shared with them as well, advising them that the only defence available was in taking preventative measures like practising basic hygiene. It was indeed surprising to notice that most of the people along the track did not have any idea on what this disease was.

With these fundamental ideas, we appealed to our audience at the end of our talk that it was within our control to make a difference in looking after our natural ecosystem and in being more mindful about our actions in relation to the bigger picture as to how our actions will impact our natural environment and our lives. We further appealed to them to pass on these messages to their wantoks, relatives, friends and neighbours.

The dissemination of information materials in the manner of posters also enabled them to better understand the concepts and the mechanics of what we were trying to get across to them as well as to remind them constantly about these issues even after we were long gone.

Our outreaches were structured to engage our audience in discussions through a Question & Answer segment after every talk session. This helped them to further understand the points of discussion and also helped us to gauge our audience’s comprehension of the points that were broached. Hope Trek youths familiar with Motu further facilitated the discussions in Motu – especially along the Track route – and further helped to pave the way for the locals to step forward with queries and questions.

Being a public awareness venture, it was void of any form of discrimination. In fact, whenever we came into contact with any people, whether individuals or groups, we kept on with our outreach. And it did not stop there. We carried on in buses, on boats, on trucks, in schools, in villages, in urban settlements, in market places, at bus stops, on local radio stations and even around the age-old fireplace. In short, we were simply on fire and everybody else around could feel the heat and they were all burning and lapping up every single word (Whow!).

Given the varied background of our audience we made it as palatable as possible in their comprehension of key issues like Global Warming and Climate Change – among others; by laying it down in the most laymen of terms as possible, using local examples as illustrations whenever necessary.

As a demonstrative awareness exercise, we embarked with the motto of “walking the talk”. Hence a total of six (6) plastic shopping bags of litter of all shapes, colour and form were collected, starting from Ower’s Corner all the way to Kokoda Station. This meant we also had to mind our rubbish. The same was practised the entire length of our travel up the Okuk Highway to WHP and back.

In topping off this run (and coinciding with the World Environment Day), the donated library books were delivered to Bukapena Primary School in Western Highlands Province. Due to financial and logistical constraints, the books for Saluk Community School were instead left with the Baptist Union at Kimininga for to be delivered to Lembena in the border area of Enga Province, Madang and East Sepik Province.

This gesture was hoped to drive home to children and adults alike the importance of books, as the most sure-fire way to help enlighten them and broaden their horizon. This in time will help in addressing the challenges we face in educating our people and the future generation about the importance of our natural environment because I believe that a literate society will be better equipped to address not only these conservation issues but the entire development process of our country.

Call to Action

It was apparent that most, if not all of the information presented was lacking in the communities we entered and passed through. According to most people including village leaders, church leaders, women and youths, such vital information was lacking in their community and was an eye-opener for them.

It is without doubt that more such information is required at the community level and in some instances, there is the need to connect these locals with technical specialists to look into pursuing such ideas like eco-friendly income generating ventures as a means to promote self-reliance as well as a support mechanism to drive forward the concept of conservation and environmentalism.

I am of the strong belief that the idea of environmental awareness and conservation needs to be shared with everybody in our country, from urban centres to rural and isolated communities alike. It is imperative that this idea needs to be reiterated and ingrained into the psyche of all members of our communities to reach ideology status so that it can be eventually transpired into ACTION at the individual level up to the bigger community stage.

Take for example the hot topic of Climate Change. We talk about trying to combat and reverse this global crisis but the fact remains that we cannot make even a dent in the outcome (of total CO2 emissions) if this message is confined to only our project sites. Furthermore, being an environmentalist only on World Environment Day will make zilch difference to our fight to reduce human impact on our environment. The message of environment and conservation has to reach out into all corners of this country and its practise has to be maintained on a day to day basis to become part of our lifestyle if we want to truly drive home this message and get results.

In saying that, many a times those of us within the conservation circle or even those of us environmentalist at heart at oft times only preach about these issues and that is about as far as we go. Our actions often veer away from the path of our words. It is high time we reanalyse our actions starting with the very mundane ones like littering. This starts with that simple match stick, cigarette stub and bubble gum wrappers – buai spittle notwithstanding. It starts with us switching off the air conditioning unit to only when required. Switch off those lights and electrical appliances when they are not being used.

To put it in a sentence, we have to practice what we preach. Walking the talk should be our code of conduct to demonstrate to others, giving the less enlightened a more realistic starting point to work on in being more proactive in our bid to be environmentally friendly in our actions. Only by doing that can the masses out there take us seriously.

::end::

These are some images from the Kokoda leg of this awareness run. More can be found HERE.

PS:
Other segments of this expedition will be posted at the same location soon. Dial-up is definitely no fun at all 😦

 

%d bloggers like this: