Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gia man blo mi!

Forgiot my password so was unable to post anymore article on my dashboard.

However am back so will try my best to publish some more.



Thursday, February 2, 2012


Hi everyone!

You would have realized that I have not been writing for some time.

I am back from the wilderness and will write some more. Do look forward to some exiting nature pics!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This is interesting reading. Man is so civilized in this modern world that he has lost touch with the natural world. Imagine that 3rd World War has destroyed all civilization. Could you survive in the natural world. Do learn from this story.

Papua New Guinea: another world

Papua New Guinea has in many respects barely advanced from its primitive past, and though that is changing fast PETER HUGHES discovered a way of life rarely encountered by even the most seasoned of travellers. (part 1)
THERE are travellers and there are tourists. In Papua New Guinea I was both: traveller one week, roughing it with local guides; tourist the next, on a luxurious expedition cruise. As a traveller I arrived unannounced, if not unexpected, because the chiefs upcountry had approved visits from outsiders. As a tourist I and my fellow passengers were not only expected and announced, but also feted.
In the course of both weeks I visited a succession of villages just coming to terms with the 21st century, never mind being geared for international tourism. The question is, which approach revealed the most about PNG?
But there was a question before that: why would anyone want to go in the first place? In Australia, the idea is treated with a mixture of pity and bewilderment. I knew what I was looking for: PNG is the world as it was, a chance to travel as our fathers travelled, to go, not just off the beaten track, but to the edges of the beaten map. Fewer than 5,000 British go there a year, so I knew my journey would be rare; I knew PNG would be different to anywhere I had been before. What I hadn’t expected was to have some of the most extraordinary experiences in 40 years of travelling.
PNG is remote, though the capital, Port Moresby, is only an hour and a half’s flight from Queensland across the Torres Strait. In the hinterland it is still primitive, but changing fast. Satellite dishes are being installed in villages of thatched huts; men who hunt with spears have mobile phones. Land ownership and marriage is still dictated by a system of clans. A tribal art dealer told me that many of the wooden shields he buys bear the nicks of recent battles. Only two generations ago there were cannibals. For traveller and tourist alike, PNG is exhilarating.
Papua New Guinea - after Greenland the second largest island in the world - is in Oceania, where the Coral Sea meets the South Pacific. Half of it belongs to Indonesia; the eastern half is PNG. Before the First World War PNG was divided between Britain and Germany. After it, until Independence in 1975, the country was administered by Australia.
I flew to Wewak - provincial capital and pleasant seaside town - via Port Moresby airport’s winningly named Domestic Paradise Lounge on my way to the Sepik River. My first sight of the Sepik was from the air. It looped across the land in festive bows. Around it were strewn dozens of oxbow lakes, bends the river has discarded, glinting in silvery puddles. Not for the last time it made me think of the wetlands in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
The Wewak Inn, just over three years old and all immaculate whitewash, air conditioning and broad verandas, overlooks the Bismarck Sea. It is essentially a business hotel but provides unexpected comfort for a few travel romantics on the side. I am not sure in which category to place the Japanese on ‘memorial tours’. Accompanied by Shinto priests, their quest is to find the makeshift graves of compatriots who fell in the Second World War. In Wewak they call them bone hunters. When remains are found they are ceremonially cremated and the ashes taken back to Japan.
The next morning I was driven to the river. It took four hours on cratered roads through dense bush and then across open country lumpy with hummocks of coarse grass. Kookaburras preened in the trees; brahminy kites soared. There were sights that would become familiar all over PNG. A roadside market, produce spread on the ground, was set up in the shade of a long, communal, thatched stall. Men and women, their teeth rotted and lips and gums scarlet from chewing lime and betelnut, sold little piles of bananas, taro and maize and long twists of tobacco like sallow dreadlocks.
In the villages with schools, overhead power cables were festooned with pairs of trainers. They lined the wires along with a profusion of migrating birds. Either from spite, or because the shoes are worn out, children tie the laces together and sling them over the electricity lines. In a country where little is thrown away, the commonest form of litter dangles 30ft off the ground.
Pagwi is an unprepossessing town where road and river meet. There I boarded the canoe that would be my transport for the next three days; 45ft long and 3ft wide, with deep sides 2in thick, it was gouged from the trunk of a single tree. It would have taken two men more than six months to make. In the stern was a 40hp Japanese outboard. You could tell it was a tourist boat because George, the captain, had provided wicker chairs. Locals sit in the bottom.
Johannes, my guide, was the third man in our boat. A small man in his early thirties, he had a high forehead, a scrub of beard and a betelnut-stained grin. What he lacked in formal training, he made up for in enthusiasm. He had a hoard of knowledge about village life and traditions, but was not so hot on the difference between an egret and a heron. Not that he was ever unforthcoming.
‘What’s that tree called, Johannes?’
‘Tree from the lake. That tree is a special tree.’
‘What is that bird eating?’
‘Special bark.’
Baggy clouds, the size of small countries, ringed the horizon. Around us stretched a great green panorama of river and reed. Engine buzzing, we skimmed across water as polished and flat as marble. Villages that can be reached only by boat were betrayed by smears of smoke, their houses withdrawn in the bush. They live by fishing, and on vegetables grown in fields they call ‘gardens’, and livestock that in the wet season survives on rafts.
The Sepik River slithered between cliffs of vegetation, reeds on one side, forest on the other. We saw herons, parrots, kites, cormorants and kingfishers; maybe there were crocodiles, though they retreat to the swamps when the river is high. And ducks.
‘Where do ducks go in the dry season, Johannes?’
‘Special place.’
After two hours, with the dark bulk of the Hun–stein Mountains ahead, we came to Ambunti. Ambunti Lodge, the town’s only hotel, is right on the river bank. Single-storey, prefabricated, it could be an old country primary school. Like many of the bigger buildings in PNG villages, it is corralled behind a chain-link fence and padlocked gate. Built in 1978, it bore no evidence of anything having been spent on it since. There were holes in the lino, torn curtains and missing light bulbs.
Power came from a generator that ran for three hours each night and ran out of fuel the day I left. My food, and the gas ring to cook it, arrived with me in the canoe. But the eight bedrooms had air-conditioning, mosquito nets and showers en suite - permanently cold despite the confidence of taps marked ‘Hot’. In PNG you respect what they have, not judge them for what they lack.
The advance of the tourist dollar has stopped some way short of Ambunti. Or the middle Sepik, come to that. Ambunti’s ‘lean-down’ market - so-called because you have to lean down to see it - is spread on the earth in the shade of trees. It not only trades in the commonplace, such as vegetables, fruit, home-baked buns, sago powder and cakes of violet-coloured Was Was soap, but there are also river fish, still twitching, smoked pork, and small, gasping, freshwater turtles. A woman rolled long strings of bark on her thigh that would be used to weave bilum bags.
The market also sold money. Not the notes and coins of kina, but shell money, still used for ‘bride money’, or dowries. The amount is usually negotiated with the bridegroom by the bride’s brothers who, it is fair to say, are just as likely to accept cash, pigs or beer. Here, though, the shells - small cowries - were woven into mats worth 20 and 40 kina, roughly £5 and £10. Kina is a word for shell. ‘Money is nothing,’ Johannes said loftily. ‘You can find it anywhere. This is special. Very valuable.’

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another interesting story on the Sanguma practice.

Youths urged to refrain from sorcery revenge
VILLAGE elders from Menito village of Fayantina constituency in Henganofi, Eastern Highlands Province have urged their young men not to take revenge for alleged practising of sorcery on a fellow villager.
The village elders believed that taking revenge on an alleged sorcerer created more problems in the villages because the Highlands region was renowned for causing tribal fights and destructions as a result.
They also know that this was one of the ways their young men perished at the hands of the tribal rivals and they did not want to take that lightly to safeguard their young people.
The Menito villagers recently held a party in memory of one of their kinsmen, Joel Ikino, 30, who was believed to be the alleged victim of the sorcery.
He died on December 28, last year but a feast was held recently and the elders from the village used that juncture to talk to the young men.
They told the young men that late Ikino, their brother died of alleged sorcery.
The elders told them that there were so many killings of sorcerers suspected being practised in Fayantina area but their village had decided not to take revenge on the case.
They urged the young men from their tribe to forgive the alleged sorcerers who killed Mr Ikoino and urged them to cease practicing such sort of things.
The elders told whoever was practising this to stop because it had been causing trouble and problems into the once peaceful village.
The Fayantina area was renowned for having many churches including Foursquare, Seventh Day Adventist, Lutheran and others.
Tribal fights in the areas had erupted for such cases as sorcert but Menito villagers took their stand not to take law into their own hands by taking revenge on the other tribes.
The elders said it was unique to forgive the alleged perpetrators and thanks the villagers for their brave thoughts to save the lives of the people in that area.

Source: The Post Courier 12th Feb 10 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This is my Simbu

I am completely impressed by this post by Barry and Malum.

The only problem is the access road to this most beautiful mountain. Once you get on one of those rusty Public Motor Vehicles (PMV), your life is hanging in the balance - you have 'one foot in death and the other in life'.

I wish the authorities could fix the road to Mt. Wilhelm 


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Magnificent Mt. Wilhelm!

Text and photographs by Barry Greville-Eyres, naturalist and development practitioner working with the Goroka-based Fresh Produce Development Agency

Sunrise Mt. Wilhelm summit
For eco-tourists and adventure-junkies the Simbu Province and in particular the Mt Wilhelm scramble offers an off the beaten track experience that is hard to surpass. At 4509m this imposing edifice flies largely and surprisingly under the tourism radar in terms of exposure, commercialisation, public interest and actual visitor numbers. Herein rests, for me personally, its greatest appeal. Its offers its own, uniquely PNG rite of passage, taken and cherished by the few. Its route is relatively pristine, unfettered and devoid of hype and controversy.
In keeping with the notion of community-based sustainable tourism, almost every kina spent circulates within and boosts the local Kundiawa - Mt. Wilhelm economy. My five day sojourn was remarkably affordable, amounting to K1.200 inclusive of transport (Goroka – Mt. Wilhelm return), accommodation and food, trekking and guide fees and in all cases I was able to meet and pay, thoroughly deserving service providers, directly. This provided a level of engagement and intimacy rarely encountered – well beyond a mere financial or service transaction. Remarkable insights were gained into the people of the area – their dignity, resilience, serenity, warmth, humility and kinship for family and others and their deep, deep connection to the soil and land. It is hoped that this inherent environmental stewardship will support and demand measured and responsible development in the face of developmental challenges currently sweeping through PNG. The self determination and efforts of local landowners, farmers, mountain guides and lodge operators, in the provision of home-grown services, fruit and vegetables, and infrastructure, are applauded.

Camp Jehovah Jireh open for business
The recently established Camp Jehovah Jireh, offering rustic yet comfortable lodge-styled accommodation, is a classic example of local PNG entrepreneurship. The establishment and associated tour guiding services are consolidated under the Mt. Wilhelm Tours company, ably and passionately managed by former school teacher, Martin Thomas. Martin is working towards a ‘stable client base and thus far has attracted an interesting blend of corporate clients (government, volunteer service organisations, and donor assisted projects), international tourists and even a Japanese film production company currently engaged in making a documentary in the area.’

L – R Martin Thomas, Mt. Wilhelm Tours, the author and Paul Sugma, mountain guide prior to tackling Mt. Wilhelm
Recollections of my experience are as varied as they are intense – all making up a rich mental and emotional montage difficult, yet necessary, to share and articulate in the written word. Even pictorial images fall short of the mark but some stories need to be told – somehow. The road trip from Goroka to Kundiawa (traversing Eastern Highlands and Simbu Provinces) is fascinating, dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful – a fantasy farmland often regarded as the fruit, vegetable and coffee basket of PNG. One can hear, see, smell and feel luxuriant growth in profusion whether strawberries, kaukau, monstrous African yams, English cabbages, countless varieties of legumes and bananas and much
more. All natural, fresh, flavoursome, nutritious – as good as it will ever get! The roadside Agro-tourism potential of the area is immense, especially with show, tell, do and taste experiences.

PNG roadside snacks on offer
Summiting Mt Wilhelm, reputed to be one of the Pacific’s highest peaks, rates up there with Kenya’s Kilimanjaro, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon and South Africa’s Otter Trail and many of the world’s iconic treks. The walk in to the lake-side base camp (from Camp Jehovah Jireh) is a comfortable three to five hour amble taking in high forest, sub-alpine forest, grass and heath lands with dense stands of enormous tree ferns. The water catchment potential of the area is self-evident with swiftly flowing mountain streams and an abundance of swampy surface water. The base camp accommodation is simple but adequate, offering stunning views over the lower lake and a natural mountain amphitheatre, both of which are traversed in order to reach the summit.
The Mt.Wilhelm climb is exceedingly tough, bewildering, uncompromising and with a midnight ascent, lasting between four and seven hours, requires a moderate level of fitness and highly recommended conditioning at altitude. As with any remote, high altitude adventure there is a definite risk element involved and moderate on-trail care (steep ground security) and backup precautions should be taken. Our descent was far more sedate – close on eight hours, even at sub-zero temperatures, benefiting from daylight and panoramic views. Pockets of miniature alpine vegetation punctuate the austere yet intriguing moonscape and scree-slopes, clinging to a timeless existence alternating between daily freezing and thawing. Paul Sugma, my expert mountain guide and I were held in morbid fascination, for hours, by the wreckage of a large aircraft littering the slopes above the upper lake.

Upper lake en route to summit
We finally stumbled onto our base camp where interim relief was sought, for aching muscles and creaking joints, in the icy waters of the cobalt blue lower lake. Little did we know that, shortly before our departure, magnificent Mt. Wilhelm was about to offer up one final extravagance to crown a truly unforgettable experience.

Hooked - John proudly displays his sizable rainbow trout