Saturday, December 31, 2016

The last day of 2016

Today is the last day of 2016 and my daughter and I travelled back to Port Moresby after a wonderful two weeks of vacation.
Thank you all for being part of an amazing journey with my daughter and I over the last two weeks from Port Moresby to Lae, across the Huon Gulf to beautiful Salamaua, over the plains of the great Markham Valley to the cold, misty mountains of Goroka.
It's been a wonderful journey. Thank you God for keeping us safe and taking us safely back to Port Moresby. Thank you for all the wonderful family and friends in Lae, Salamaua, Markham Valley, Goroka and all over Papua New Guinea. We pray for your blessings on this country in 2017.
I have rekindled family ties and old friendships.
My daughter with her grand aunt, Elizabeth Nagong, who turned 91 on December 26 at Butibam Village. She is the wife of the great Lutheran evangelist Gejambec Nagong.

 I have come to realise what a beautiful country this is, despite all the negativity.
Bloom at our Butibam  home in Lae this morning.
 I have seen the massive potential for agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
 I have seen the role the church can play in curbing many of our social ills.
The Lutheran Church building at the beautiful seaside village of Laukanu, Salamaua, which was opened on December 18. 

I have seen the damage done to our young people by alcohol and drugs.
 I have seen the neglect of the Highlands Highway - the lifeline of this country.
Dangerous. Highlands Highway near Yonki, Eastern Highlands, on Boxing Day.
Roads are a far cry from what they were on Kassam Pass.

 I have seen how we in the mainstream media have failed to report on many critical  issues affecting this country.
 I have seen how Digicel (despite all the criticism) has brought telephone and Internet access to our rural people.
 I hear the call of this great country.
Let us all arise, sons and daughters of this great land, and save our country.
Never has the need been greater.
A Happy New Year 2017 to one and all.
Just in time for 2017...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

From Goroka to Lae

We travelled back to Lae from Goroka on Monday, Dec 26,  after four enjoyable days in the Land of Perennial Springtime.
Being in Goroka was an unforgettable experience for my daughter.
I personally felt all refreshed and rejuvenated to face 2017.
We left Goroka at 12.30pm:
Little America at New Tribes Mission outside Goroka.

Bena Bridge. of my favorite sections of the Highlands Highway.
Stopping for pineapples, hot corn and veggies past Korofeigu.

Roadside house past Korofeigu
Going up the once-notorious Barola Hill.
Cool December rain on top of Barola Hill.
Past Barola Hill, torrential downpour and poor visibility.
A hole in the clouds at 2.40pm when we arrive in Kainantu.
Dangerous. Highlands Highway near Yonki. This hole wasn't here last Thursday when we were driving to Goroka.

Akamole Market at Yonki.

Evangelical Brotherhood Church, Yonki...another of my favorite Highlands Highway spots.
Roads are a far cry from what they were on Kassam Pass.
Yung Creek.
Back in the Markham.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day in Goroka

Christmas Day in Goroka was an awesome experience for my daughter and I.

My Japanese mate Russell Deka Harada, a longtime resident of Goroka who speaks fluent Tok Pisin, dropped by for a visit.
We took a short walk next door to join the St Andrew's Lutheran Church congregation for Christmas Service.
Catching up with a good friend, Joe Kaupa, the faithful church usher at St John's Lutheran Church at West Goroka for the last 32 years. He was a good friend of my missus and me when we were here in Goroka. A good time too on this Christmas Sunday which is the last for 2016.
It was an unexpected honor and privilege to be asked by Pastor Grahamme Baital to address the St John's Lutheran Church congregation at West Goroka today. I told them of my relationship with the church going back to 1975 as a child, and later from 1998-2002 when I was here with my wife...

Church usher Joe Kaupa was a good friend of my wife and he met our daughter...
After church, we drove up to Mt Kiss overlooking Goroka, taking in panoramic views of the town and valley.
Goroka panorama.
Next stop was North Goroka where we had mumu corn, sweet bananas and barbecued lamb heart for Christmas lunch...

Goroka Water Supply at North Goroka.

The saddest thing for me in Goroka is to see the sentinel-like pine trees at Peace Park forever many precious memories...

Memories of public phones and sending and receiving letters and Christmas cards.
The admirable thing about Goroka is that its Public Library still stands...from the 1970s...

 Lazy Christmas arvo waiting for pizza. The  weather is cool and lovely as always...for the December rain to fall would be excellent...

More pictures to come...