Monday, April 14, 2008
All I could think of was stepping on the boat with my son and heading for the islands.
As is the norm at Wanigili, the last quarter of the year is always hectic with school camps, conferences etc. so by the time Christmas was at our doorstep, I was ready for a change of scenery!
Home for us is Sawasawaga Village, Sariba Island which is approximately 2 hours South East of Alotau by speed boat and about 4 hours via local workboat. The well known China Strait runs between Sariba and the mainland. This is the passage one has to pass through in order to reach the famous Samarai and Kwato Islands.
I grew up in the village until I was about 4 years old. During this period I was raised by my bubus (grandparents) who became more like mum and dad to me.
I love returning home to my family and being able to share the experience with my son who thoroughly enjoys it! We ended up spending 3 blissful (and adventurous) weeks at home. Take a look.
View of Kailaulauwai Is. from Sawasawaga beachfront
One of the two huge mango trees at the front of the village.
Home sweet home. We often pack a tent if the house is too full.
The village church. Sunday is a big day with everyone traveling from the other side of the island or paddling from nearby villages to attend church with their families.
View of Walatonoli Bay from inside the church.
I love the simplicity of home life
Chooks in church.
The concrete floor has historical significance as it was built by the US Navy during the Battle of the Coral Sea. I recently discovered that it was the 84th Battalion Sea Bees from The US Navy who set up camp at our village in 1943. Sawasawaga was a base for the Catalina Sea Planes. The 84th Battalion were in charge of the building and construction of airstrips, warves, buildings etc. during the war. At Sawasawaga they built a dam, mess house and warf. The dam still exists and the concrete floor of the mess house is now the base for our local church. There is also a pontoon buried underwater at the front of the village. Once I get my divers licence, I plan to dive around the bay and see if there are any other war relics to be found.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Right after the SPREP conference in October last year we had the Canoe Festival. This is an annual event and usually falls in the first week-end of November. Last year was the 4th Canoe Festival to be hosted in the province and one of the best I've seen so far. It is the only festival of its kind in the country and each year it seems to improve with more and more tourists and participants attending. Last year The Milne Bay Tourism Industry group (MBTIG) of which I am a member, played an instrumental role in sourcing additional funding for the event. We managed to secure K30,000.00 sponsorship from Telikom so that was quite a significant achievement for us. Milne Bay being a maritime province, has an amazing range of canoes. I had no idea we had so many different types until I attended the festival.
The market warf was transformed into a VIP area.
These kids had the best view.
Many of the villagers came from distant islands and spent months preparing the canoes and themselves for the event. Most of the preparations are usually conducted in secret with only men in attendance. Often women are not permitted to witness any of the preparations or even set foot in the canoes.
Where there's an occassion to celebrate in PNG, you will always find
pigs and vegetables
Trobriand Island Carvings
Hand crafted shell jewellery and bilas from Cape Vogel area.
The MBTIG Stall or hut rather. We decided on "Tiggy's Jungle Juice Cafe"
juice bar was a great idea, we certainly had a lot of people dropping in.
whom I rarely see as she lives in Lae (Morobe Province)
Napatana staff preparing the yummy juices.
Mipla squad ya! Pam Swanson (Napatana Manager) and Habona.
It's all about the t-shirts in PNG! German tourists in Wanigili Centre t-shirts.
Tina Arek-EMB staff in one of the SPREP t-shirts.
Ellen Mesibere-EMTV host wearing one of my own t-shirt designs
"Wotcha lookin' at?" Kaure acting kuti! (Yeah, I can just see him at 18!)
One of the attractions last year was the participation of a Hawaiian team. They were a great bunch of guys who came over with their outrigger canoe to race against the local teams. I have fond memories of the night the Hawaiians cooked dinner (fish they'd caught that day) for us all. We (MBTIG members and Telikom officials) all ended up at Rabe at Peter and Rita Tarumuri's place by the sea, ate great fish, drank plenty and sang along with the guitar under the light of the coleman lamp.Everyone had a great time. Pam Swanson,always the life of the party, even did some boogying with Kala'i the hunky Hawaiian. It didn't matter if we sang out of tune or forgot the words, we had fun and enjoyed the moment, that was all that mattered.
Other memorable moments last year.....Kaure's favourite pastime is climbing trees.
Heading to the car wash....Dion & Kaure.
Dion was a uni graduate from Adelaide,South Australia (ples blo mi!) visiting PNG for the first time. He was a guest at Wanigili but ended up being more like part of the family. He was a really great guy and was so keen to explore PNG, I ended up referring him to Robert's family so he could travel to Chimbu and check out the highlands. Needless to say, he returned with plenty of stories!One of the causeways towards East Cape.....
a favourite spot for people to wash their cars
"Show us your muscles Mama!" Jeanie having fun.
Zuriel having a swing on the vine!