Five entries shortlisted for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Essays and Journalism Award

The 2017 Crocodile Prize Essays and Journalism Category received a collection of interesting topics that were written about and sent in. The topics varied greatly. Predictably, a good number of the entries were about Politics, Corruption, Power and Leadership. 2017 was the year of the Papua New Guinea National Elections and so the number of entries talking about this illustrated this. Congratulations to the 5 entries that were shortlisted for the 2017 Crocodile Prize, PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Essays and Journalism Category. The shortlisted entrants of the competition come with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Listed below are the titles and the names of entrants considered as winners.

 The Murder by Kepan Kepas Winuan
 The Positive Side of Men by Michael Geketa
 Lack of Readers and Buyers in Papua New Guinea by Jordan Dean
 Her Fight by Evah Kuamin Banige
 Doctors without Medical Borders by William Tau -Vali

The shortlisted literary entries above have been sent to the sponsors who have picked the overall winner. The overall winner will be announced at the Awards Reception event on the 17th February 2018, here in Port Moresby. The brief biographies below illustrate a little bit more about the shortlisted authors.

The Murder by Kepan Kepas Winuan

Kepan Kepas Winuan is a Teacher at the Kudjip Nazarene High School, Kudjip Nazarene Station, Jiwaka Province.

Kepan is currently working on publishing two books and a school magazine. These literary materials are; Book of Synonyms, Developing Writing Skills and School Journal.

Her first book (Book of Homonyms) has been completed. She is now negotiating with Notion Press Publishing Company of India to have it published.

The Positive Side of Men by Michael Geketa

Michael Geketa is employed in the informal economy in Port Moresby, National Capital District, after serving in the Royal Police Constabulary for much of his life. He used to contribute his written work to Kokomo Magazine at Kerevat National High School in 1989 as a student. He also contributed poems to the Weekly Writers Column poetry corner of the National Newspaper since 2009. The 2014 and 2015 Crocodile Prize Anthology included his work, four Poems and two Essays. He has started writing a book of poems and short story. Work has also began for a framework of his biography titled: Thun der over Parkinson Ranges

Lack of Readers and Buyers in Papua New Guinea by Jordan Dean

Jordan Dean works as a Director (until confirmed) of Grants Management Organisation in Port Moresby, NCD. He has been writing as a hobby for over a decade. Several of his poems and short stories have been published on international sites and magazines including: Power Poetry, Dissident Voice Magazine, Creative Talents Unleashed, Tuck Magazine, Micro Poetry, Story Write, Spill Words Literary Press and PNG Attitude.

Jordan has published 4 books: ‘Tattooed Face: A collection of Poems’ (2016), ‘Follow the Rainbow: Selected Poems’ (2016)), ‘Stranger in Paradise & other Short Stories’ (2016)) and ‘Silent Thoughts: Exploring Poetry’’ (2017)). These books are available on Amazon.

Her Fight by Evah Kuamin Banige

Evah Kuamin Banige is an Administration Officer in Lae, Morobe Province.
She is passionate about writing, helping children and advocating for change and development in her community. She wrote: ‘Victims of violence have to rise up and speak out for their own good. I believe I have taken the biggest step to write about my experiences as a woman facing violence through this competition’

She has been writing since her primary school days. She won a prize for the story of her experience of the 1994 Twin Volcanic Eruptions which was published in book of collection of short stories. Part of 4th Year Journalism Thesis was published in the South Pacific Islands Journalism Communication. One of her entry won the 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) Best Award in the Print Category of the PNG Media Awards.

Doctors Without Medical Borders by William Tau -Vali

William Tau-Vali
is a retired public servant who resides at his Motuan Village of Gaire, Central Province. His background is in computing. That’s the area he studied at University but he would like to think of himself these days as an emerging writer. This is his first written work, together with the other two pieces he submitted earlier in the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition.

Judged 5 Best Poetry Entry for 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The following titles below are the 5 winners of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kina Securities Poetry Category.

The short list of the winning entries came from a long process of filing, culling and judging. Only one more process is left, that is: Selection of the overall winner among the 5 winners as identified by the judges.

The winners for the 2017 Crocodile Prize Kina Securities Poetry Category are the following entries:
Broken and beaten by Leila Parina
He is gagged by Emmanuel Marosi
We need change by Annie Dori
When tomorrow come by Leiao Gerega
Who will by Leiao Gerega

Leila Parina wrote a candid and beautifully stringed group of words into a poetry illustrating violence by those who supposed to love. Leila has been writing since she was 9 years old. She mostly wrote in her private journals. Her first published work was out in 2017. It is called “A paradigm shift” which was featured in the PNG Anthology “My walk to Equality”.

Emmanuel Marosi put together firm and strong verses which was dedicated to Martyn Namorong, a Papua New Guinean Blogger and Anti-Corruption Activist. This was when members of public took to supporting Martyn during the Tomato Head saga. Emmanuel has published several articles on the internet, on blogs and other sites like hub pages. He has been writing since 2012. He is an electrical communications engineer.

Annie Dori weaves together a rather grim scene of situations in PNG that shows societies moving toward destitute and annihilation. The poem therefore calls for change. Annie is currently under the Ok Tedi’s Graduate Program as an Occupational Nursing Officer. She loves working with communities and is passionate about Humanitarian work. She only keeps entries in her private journal. She would not consider herself as a writer or a poet.

Leiao Gerega eloquently paints a crude and bleak world we live in, in the poem ‘Who will’. The question is who will. Her other poem speaks of violence in the most animated and colourful language. Two of her entries were selected by the Judge. Leiao is reporter with South Pacific Post Courier. She loves reading, writing short stories and poems. The shortlisted entry for this year and other poems have always been dedicated her my mother. She started writing as a 10-year-old. Her writings were mostly kept in her diaries. Her first ever published work of two poems are featured in the PNG women’s first Anthology ‘My Walk to Equality’.

Message from the Voluntary Organizing Committee (VOC)

Greetings everyone for the new year, 2018. The Crocodile Prize is happy to announce the short listed entries and winners of the different categories of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition.

The Competition ended on the 31st October 2017. That was when the last entries from budding writers were received. Since then, the VOC has been in constant communication with several members of the writing community who are not entirely connected to the Prize and to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Firstly, the VOC sorted out the entries at the closing. The folders for each category was put together and sent to selected Literary Expert to cull from whatever numbers of entries received to only 10 entries. This part of the process took weeks because these people doing the culling were also doing these in their free time.

The sorting out of the folders gave adequate information for a comprehensive report to be written on the organising and the result of the annual competition. The report was published on the Crocodile Prize blog, the Crocodile Prize Facebook page and in the Post Courier. A special report was also written for the Poetry category alone because of the sheer interest and the numbers of entries received for that category alone.

Secondly, on receiving the 10 selected entries, the VOC then sent these off to the Judges. This was right in the heart of the Christmas and New Year period so the Judges were given ample time to have their holidays and have some time to judge.

Thirdly, the VOC then sent the 5 selected entries of each categories to the appropriate Sponsors. The sponsors were to pick the overall winner from among the 5 entries shortlisted by the judge.

At the time of the writing this update, two of the sponsors have identified the winners of their categories. The VOC will be informing the winners soon.

In the meantime, the VOC will be publishing all the entries on their blog. A list of the winners of each of the categories will be posted in the coming days.

Some of these winners will be featured in the news as a lead up to the Prize giving event.

A Prize giving reception was planned to be staged at the Gateway Hotel on the 17th of February 2017. Traditionally, this reception was convened on a weekday and took up to 2 hours. The event at the Gateway in 2018 should take for 3 hours: i.e. from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock in the evening. The reception will feature two key note addresses from members of the writing community, reading of 2 poems, a short story extract and a case story of what Crocodile Prize has done for an individual’s life and career.

Let’s have this time to call to stage, those with the passion for writing, illustrating and art, those with the spirit of altruism and those who want to support Literatures in PNG. Lets call to stage and acknowledge the generosity of the sponsors. Lets take the time to promote and celebrate Literature (Writing Illustrations and art) in PNG with aspiring Literary Papua New Guineans. Congratulations to all who participated in 2017 and those who have been selected as winners.

2017 Competition Report

Compiled by Gretel Matawan and Emmanuel Peni

This is an account of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition

The Voluntary Organising Committee (VOC) of the Annual 2017 Crocodile Prize Literature Competition in PNG is happy to announce that a successful year of literature competition has come to a close. We would like to thank all the sponsors and the public who have sincerely supported this competition.

There have been several queries on when the winners will be announced. The VOC is excited too to know about the winners.  However, the winners will have to be administered through a lengthy process of judging and selection.  Our Volunteers have put together the folders (9 altogether) of the entries. Below is the summary of the entrants and the entries for this year.

This is the 7th year of the Annual Literature Prize.  This year the VOC received 245 entries from 87 Papua New Guinean writers and artists.

The Table 1.0 shows that the majority of the writers are from NCD. The VOC did its best to use several media platforms to reach every PNG citizens.  It is unfortunate that very few entries are coming in from outside of NCD.  The Committee is looking at accepting written pieces on paper from remote places in 2018.  Otherwise, the VOC will do its best to reach out to the people of PNG in 2018. Hopefully we get some entries from even those provinces not listed here:  West Sepik, Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, New Ireland, Central and other PNG citizens living abroad. We have an entry from Fiji.  We can confirm that it is from a Papua New Guinean citizen.  We would like to also report that the entries from Gulf Province were from Kikori secondary schools after a visit by a member of the VOC in 2017.   Our publicity and communications team have learnt a lot in promoting writing in the last two years of work in PNG. Literature spaces and activities in PNG have declined to a state of irrelevance.  This is a tragic and frightening trend when considering Google and fb and Alibaba and more are fighting and in the process spending billions to get information from people around the world. When will Papua New Guineans wake up and write our own history, experiences and our aspirations?  Why do we let outsiders do it from their reference point and own our stories?

Table 1.0 shows the Provinces and the number of writers/artists who have sent in their literary piece(s).

Provinces (Areas) Number of Entrants
AROB 3
East New Britain 3
East Sepik 3
Eastern Highlands 4
Fiji 1
Gulf 3
Jiwaka 2
Madang 2
Manus 3
Milne Bay 2
Morobe 5
Mt Hagen 1
NCD 46
No Response 2
Oro 1
Central 1
Simbu 1
West New Britain 3
Western 1
Grand Total 87

 

There are 8 categories showing here in which entries have been received for. Of these entries two other category winners will be selected from.  These are: Emerging Young writer and Women in Writing.  The figures in the table clearly show that poetry is the most preferred literary piece to be written and sent in at 53% of the total. It is exciting to see that short stories went over half a century.  The VOC will work hard to help the writers/artists of PNG write or illustrate more our experiences, past and our dreams. It is unfortunate that Heritage writing continue to register low levels of entries. One can easily imagine anyone telling a tumbuna story (we have thousands) or describe a cultural experience.

Writing for children is one category; the Crocodile Prize is going to promote more in the next couple of months. We are interested to have more stories for our children so they become readers of our own journey.    

VOC will be more available for Essay and Journalism category next year after the Crocodile Prize blog has been upgraded to Premium.     There will be more interaction and discussions on the entry pieces sent in.

Table 2.0 shows the number of entries received for the categories in which prizes were secured for 2017.

The 2017 Categories Number of Entries
Short Play 3
Essays and Journalism 26
FB & NBC Radio Comp 4
Heritage Writing 14
Illustrations 3
Poetry 130
Short Stories 52
Writing for Children 13
Total 245

It is exciting to see that the 60% of the entries came from the economically active population of ages between 21 – 40 years (refer to Pie chart 1.0 below). It is unfortunate that the older population who would have had many experiences and culturally more rooted sent in less this year.  It is presumed that those who have resigned or have their careers stalling (11% of the total entries) would find passion somewhere else and writing and illustrating could have been a healthier, productive and meaningful diversion.

Chart 1.0 also gives a good indication on the members of the writing societies whom the VOC will target next year to promote, guide and support and engage in the literature competition. Even if they do not want to participate, their entries or submission can be used to add to the body of knowledge captured for generations to use to understand the evolution of the PNG cultural heritage.    
Where to from here:

The process of identifying the winners will take two months. Firstly, the folders will be sent to those who will cull (select what can be judged) from whatever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 entries will then be sent to the judges who will then select only the top 5 entries. The top 5 entries will lastly be sent to the sponsors who select the winner.  We will announce the 5 shortlist at the end of January 2018. The winners will be announced at a Ceremony at the Grand Papua Hotel on the 10th February 2018.  There will be an official gathering where the 2018 Crocodile Prize Competition will also be launched.  Stay tuned for the announcements and the winners and the launching.

A burning question to discuss is the participation of women in PNG. Both 2016 and 2017, (under the leadership of Papua New Guineans) have proven beyond doubt the participation of women in writing has gained its foot hold.  There are more women sending in entries (55 %) than men folks.  The quality and diversity of the entries far outweigh that of men. Women were the youngest of the entrants and the oldest. Last year’s winner of the Paga Hill Foundation Writing for Children Category was a 14 year old girl from Bougainville.   Females were more active in asking for information and following the rules and guidelines.  The tides have turned and so there must be a category for Boys in writing and Men in writing.

The only issue encountered by the administrative team of the VOC was the lack of respect to the rules and procedures. One of the entrants sent in 23 entries altogether. Clearly this person did ignore the rules or did not bother to ask for clarification.  Others continue to send in entries without the entry forms.  This may sound like hard work to you as an entrant, but technology has made it so easy. One can literally take a snap shot of the entry from and inbox this through fb messenger or email it in picture format.

The VOC takes pride in our work in one tiny area of literature in PNG. What we are especially proud about is our process on identifying the winner.  Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instil integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Otherwise the VOC are privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the Crocodile Prize. The VOC would like to congratulate everyone on their efforts and wish everyone a success in their different endeavours.

 Our Sponsors:

Sponsors Category
Port Moresby Arts Theatre Best Short Play
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essays and Journalism
Haltmeier Family FB & NBC Radio Comp
Cleland family Heritage Writing
Yet to Announce Illustrations
Kina Securities Poetry
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited Short Stories
Mineral Resources Development Corporations Women in Writing
Library for all, Australia Writing for Children

 

The Interim Working Committee

Chairman: Emmanuel Peni, (Author, Director – People Centred OD Consult)

Deputy Chair: Joycelin Leahy (Blogger and Author, operating out of Brisbane, Australia)

Other member of the working Committee:

Ruth Moiam, Consultant (World Bank Communications)

Martyn Namorong, (Blogger, National Coordinator – EITI)

Baka Bina, (Supreme Courts – Human Resources)

Gretel Matawan, (Communications, Institute of National Affairs)

 

Apologies for Silence

Message from the 2017 Volunteer Organising Committee of the Crocodile Prize

Dear everyone

The Volunteer Organising Committee would like to sincerely apologise for the silence we have given to all.

Our Volunteers are putting together the folders (10 altogether) of the entries, and are summarizing all the entries so we can have a comprehensive response as a report to you all.

The folders will go to those who will cull ( select what can be judged) from what ever numbers down to 10 entries. The 10 finalists entries will then be sent to the judges who will select only 5 entries. The 5 entries will go to the sponsors so that the winner can be selected from.

Our selection and judging process is very stringent. We want to instill integrity into the processes and give an opportunity for the public, sponsors, supporters and participants to believe that we have been transparent and accountable. We want to show and prove that we can be objective and manage wantok system, nepotism and any other possible foul play or conflict of interest.

Please bear with us.

We will also publish all the names of all those who sent in entries in the Post Courier next Friday – so look out. On Friday we will also have decisions: on when the finalists will be announced, when the Prize Giving Ceremony will take place and other important information. We will publish these on the news paper too. We initially planned on announcing the winners in December 2017. But this is not feasible anymore. we appologise too for this.

Thank you for your understanding.

We apologise again for the delayed announcement.

Yours sincerely

2017 Volunteer Organising Committee

People before Profit

Edited for the blog, an entry from the 2017 Crocodile Prize Competition, Kina Securities Poetry Category by Zephaniah Winduo Aron

Zephaniah has a Bachelor in Information Systems from the Divine Word University.  He always enjoys serving his Sepik people and contributes to the development of his province to preserve and promote Sepik culture and traditions.  Zephaniah has had some of his work, photographs and articles in several media spaces.

 

The world is coming into Papua New Guinea

More like parasites into a host

All for one undeniable reason

The search for sweet profit, selfish profit.

 

We are blind folded by the authorities

Being fooled in our own land

Enslaved by the rules

Being cheated by their greed, our greed

All because of profit

Who’s profit?

 

Will profit replace mankind?

We fail to stop and think

Should we put profit before people?

Let us think about tomorrow, remember yesterday

Let us put people before profit

For people’s survival is paramount

The positive side of Man

Edited version for the Blog from an Entry of the 2017 Crocodile Prize Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Essays and Journalism Category.

Michael Geketa has left the Police Force to pursue other interests. He is an aspiring politician who has provided leadership in the Police Force as a Commander. Writing has been a big part of Michael’s life. He has contributed stories and poems to various literary pieces.

In recent times, the narratives of gender based violence are centred on the fixed discourse:  Men are the perpetrators; women and children are the Victims. As a result, the society has organised itself in a way that persecutes perpetrators of violence but the finer points shows the prejudice men.  All systems, structures, process and institutions together with the Justice fraternity sustain and promote the narratives around men folk being the cause.

Every spaces of the society are a witness to this phenomenon. In almost all corners of the world, this account is a main stay among ordinary citizens, social workers, development workers and the policy and law makers.  The world and local media, both traditional and social media are a party to the conversations.  Men are the perpetrators while women and children are the victims of the perpetrated violence.

In Papua New Guinea, provisions like the Lukautim Pikinini Act 2009 and the Criminal Code Act are legislations that admonish the men folk. Certain United Nation Conventions and international Laws on women and children are also in part promoting the negative attitudes toward men.

Man’s moral character is two-fold and the world is yet to fully recognize. What the world considers as man’s negative aggression, it quickly condemns through legislative provisions and use of public media. Institutional and Policy framework to acknowledge man’s contribution in world’s affairs must be realized and exploited to illustrate a balance.

Naturally, men are not violent but they are as loving, caring and timid as women. This fact is exemplified by the creation story in the Christian Holy Bible. The Christian God created Eve, men’s first mother from the ribs of our first father, Adam. If the nature of women can be biblically verified, then they must inherit qualities inherent in men. Therefore, biologically the qualities of love, carefree, non-violent, kindness, thoughtfulness, genteel and more, are traits found in men.

There are many exceptional stories both in Papua New Guinea and abroad whereby indescribable acts of love and respect by men upon women remain untold.

One such simple gesture of the good traits found in men was illustrated on a fortnight Friday, 5th of June 2015 in the capital city of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby. It was around 7:30 am at Malaoro bus stop. Bus stops are usually a hike of activities. There are usually loud and noisy crowds of people and there are the dangerously manoeuvring buses.  The bus stops are known as unsafe spots for women and girls in Papua New Guinea.   A Public Motor Vehicle, a 25 Seater Toyota Coaster bus, in haste to pick up passengers halted abruptly and in the process created a gust of dust. I covered my eyes and mouth as I walked through the polluted air, pushing through the impatient and chaotic crowd to board. The bus sped towards the direction of the city’s General Hospital bus stop, onward to 4mile, Boroko.

I sat at the comfort of the back seat. Four others sat before me before the door. One of the passengers immediately adjacent to the bus crew looked like an accountant. As typical of professionals, he wore a tie, polished black trousers, and bore a clean moustache with trimmed hair. His neatly pressed long sleeved shirt had with a logo of a large accounting firm in the city.

At the hospital bus stop before the military barracks, an elderly man got off. One of the four teenagers who were standing at the door way on the trip from Malaoro sat on the seat that had just being vacated. A young mother attempted to board but waved the driver to go on without her when she saw the boys standing and the lack of vacant seats. The accountant gave a commanding shriek for the driver to immobilize the bus. The driver halted the bus whilst he vacated his seat and then directly motioned the woman and her child into the bus to take up his seat. The boys naturally gave way for the woman and her child to board the bus. Onwards to Boroko, the woman comfortably curdled her child whilst the accountant and the four boys stood at the doorway of the bus half hanging out.

The 4mile-Boroko bus stop is usually packed with people in the mornings and the afternoons.  Typical of a fortnight weekend, genuine commuters, people watchers, opportunists, pickpockets and beggars all converged at the bus stop and pried their purposes.

In the afternoon, I boarded a 25 Seater Public Motor Vehicle bus back to Malaoro. From nowhere, three men who were intoxicated with alcohol made a suicidal hop, rushed into the bus and stood at the passenger door on the side of the bus as it was taking off. The drunks shouted pointless, aimless, and quite often harmful words into the air. The driver stopped at the bus stop near the military barracks, opposite Foodland at Tarauma Leisure Centre. Three passengers disembarked. The drunks moved to occupy the vacant seats. Just then, three working class women stepped into the bus but retreated on seeing that there were no seats available. Without discussions, silently and swiftly the drunks vacated their seats for the three women. The women gratefully took up the seats and sat comfortably whilst the three drunks sang merrily, clinging dangerously onto to the side of the bus through its open passenger door all the way to Malaoro. The women were impressed by the kind gesture of the drunks and proceeded to offer them money as a token of appreciation at the end of the ride.

‘Ol sista, noken wari. Mipela orait.’ (“My sisters, don’t worry. We’re okay.”). The drunks responded in pidgin, smiled and walked away.

At home, I recalled the two scenarios of that day. I considered myself blessed upon seeing the men folk demonstrating the real character of man. In the first scenario, I wondered why the accountant had cared less of his status as an accountant. He risked his own life standing at the side of the moving vehicle and also committing a traffic offence. The second scenario was even more mind-boggling. The drunks risked their own lives and committed a traffic offence.  Both these cases pointed to the natural care for women.  The cases illustrated selflessness on the part of the men and showed deep respect, kindness and consideration, thoughtfulness and love. These qualities were displayed with no effort and appeared to have inspired these gentlemen naturally.  It was as if they were programmed to behave like that, even being under the influence of alcohol.

 

 

This forms the basis of this essay.  Men are not as bad as the world continues to determine and promote. The good side of men is what the world should see more and have more discussions on. It requires more conversations, promotion and good legislative and policy framework to fully realize the potential of men. This world view can impact positively on the minority of men and other women who are perpetrators of violence on all other people.

 

 

 

 

My Goodbye to Kutubu.

By Gretel Matawan

Day 4

I woke up sluggish and annoyed to the shrieking sound of my alarm clock. It seemed our relationship was coming back to its norm. It was hot and humid here at Kopi Camp unlike the mornings up at Iagifu Ridge Camp. We had been assigned rooms with common bathroom facilities. It was 4:00am in the morning. I sat up and looked at my day’s tasks. We were scheduled to go up to Gobe and Sembrigi to visit Gobe Agri High School, Don Mosely and Wemi Primary Schools. After my visit to the ablutions, we headed to the Camp Mess. Kopi Camp was much smaller than the Ridge Camp and didn’t have that many Oil Search personnel working there. Operations had closed down in the Kopi Area but there were contractors that came to and from other camps to make sure the valve was in good condition as well as to maintain the oil pipes in the area.

Breakfast was at 5:00am and was quiet. A lot of the employees there kept to themselves.  We had been asked by a few of the employees the previous night as to what we were doing there and we had explained that we were carrying out awareness on the Crocodile Prize Literature Competition to the schools in the Kikori and Gobe Area. A gentleman there, exclaimed when he saw Iona and myself on the TVWan News the previous evening.  He added that the news was on The Crocodile Prize Competition.  He was impressed that MRDC sponsored a Category and also that MRDC went out of its way to bring awareness to the rural areas to encourage more students to take part in this year’s competition. Iona and I gave a small “high 5” for our 1 minute claim to fame on TV.  We were happy that people did watch and listened to the message on TV.  I secretly gave myself a fist pump, a small one for being famous on TV for 1 minute.

At 6:00am we were informed by the Camp Manager that the MRDC vehicle was waiting outside for us. We quickly said our last goodbyes as I had once last glance around, I didn’t know if I would ever come back to rainy Kopi Camp. But deep down, I have to admit that I was happy to be leaving because I had heard that a lot of the Papuan Black snakes live in the area (I have Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes). Also, there were facebook messages saying the anti-venom was K15,000.00 a pop.  It was still dark outside and cold as we headed straight to Bata who was standing near the ten-seater. Sanga had gone ahead to Sembrigi to organise for our visit to Gobe Agriculture High School and Don Mosely as well as Wemi Primary School.

It was going to be about an hour’s drive to the junction between Gobe and the road leading to Sembrigi then a further two hour’s drive up to Sembrigi. Our aim was to be at Gobe Agriculture School and Don Mosely Primary School by 9:00am in the morning. I did a mental pat on my shoulder as I had had two cups of coffee but then on second thought that would mean I would have to hold any visits to the toilet until we arrived at the school. I meant it when I said I have to hold it. I thrive on beating myself. Therefore, when I say it, I knew I could hold it till I arrive at Jackson’s airport, Port Moresby next day.  This was to shame myself for having beaten myself.  It seems so bizarre but I have done similar things like this before.  I say one thing and do something extra ordinary.  This time my resolution was to avoid Mr. Papuan Black.  

As we drove up slowly along the highway, I looked around at the scattered sleepy huts (yes, they were all thatched roofs and bamboo walls), I imagined how we could make it easier for people out here to be able to enter the competition. I saw the Crocodile Prize Literary Competition as a good opportunity for the people out here but I was saddened at the fact that they did not have access to the internet. They could not be able to see what The Crocodile Prize had done or to be able to read fellow citizens’ writings regardless of age and gender. I wanted Crocodile Prize do so much more, bring more awareness to the rural areas and give them the same opportunities as urban centres. I think art and illustrations could be something they could do well. Also heritage writing would be something central to them.  I reflected on the faces of the students of Kikori High School and how excited they were and I smiled to myself. This is what brought joy to what I do, this is the reason why I had volunteered my time to Crocodile Prize.  I am one of several who are watching Crocodile Prize grow to help build the literature in and around Papua New Guinea.

The sun showed its sunny smile for a few minutes before the rain and clouds moved in and took over the day. The sun, rain and clouds were playing hide and seek as we drove slowly and steadily up and down the mountains, through high big iron bridges fit to carry 44 tonnes. I could see the river rushing and the speed and strength of its big brown strong arms as it washed down dead logs and dry twigs and a few long grasses. My my, was I thankful that I was in the vehicle and not down in the river, I believe I would have drowned in like 3 seconds tops despite my swimming prowess.

As we passed the junction, the road turned from being smooth to being bumpy.  I was thrown around the vehicle like a rag doll and this was a surprise to me because I am big. I had to hold on tight as we drove up and down the rough terrain. We drove over rocks and through puddles, it was a tiring experience and it was only in the morning. We picked up Sanga and headed the rest of the way up to Sembrigi. I could feel the cold air seep into the vehicle, wrapping its freezing hands around my body. I shivered, my teeth rattled and my bones started to ache. My ears started to pop as the fog cleared and I saw the beauty of the huge mountains. The mountains had been cut down the middle to create the roads that we were travelling on. We crossed a huge river that was so deep, it looked like a huge brown monster ready to rear its ugly head to swallow the ten-seater.

As we approached Gobe Agriculture High School and Don Moesly Primary School, we could see all the students jumping up and down, calling out “M-R-D-C”! It was exciting and exhilarating to see that the students were just as excited as I was.  I could see their faces pressed to the windows and kids pushing each other to get the better view of the visitors. The headmaster of the Don Mosely came up to welcome us and ushered us to the school office. He showed us the library and showed us the closed boxes that had been shipped from USA for the students here. The headmaster suggested that we talk to the Grade 9 and 10 students of Gobe Agriculture School as the primary school had already started classes and we didn’t want to disrupt their learning.

Looked around the luscious green fields and mountains and was overwhelmed by the beauty. I felt the mountains calling out to me to let go and run like a child in the field and throw my hands in the air and just scream my mighty roar (I am a Leo of course, so I see myself as a lion). The scenery reminded me of one of my favourite movies ‘The Sound of Music’ when the children go and sing in the fields, feeling that freedom seep through their veins. I was dazed by everything around me.  I felt teary too when the students welcomed us in with open arms. I felt their excitement written on their keen young faces.

We were introduced by Ms Steven to the students. There were about a total of 30 students that made up Grade 9 and 10 at Gobe Agriculture High School. I smiled at the oldest student who looked to be about 40 years of age, he returned with a kind smile. Learning never really stops. I thought to myself and I was proud of this gentleman that was sitting across from me. Iona did her presentation of the books.   I stood up with confidence and pride as I spoke about the Crocodile Prize Literary Competition. As I spoke, I watched students put their heads down and start writing all the information that they could write. I could see the enthusiasm in their writing and the focus in their eyes as they watched my every move and gesture. I had a captured audience, showing me their interest and I felt that pride grow. I felt content that I had brought awareness to the students and teachers of Gobe Agriculture High School. The Deputy Principal of Gobe Agri High School, Mr Kenneth expressed his love and passion for his school and thanked MRDC and The Crocodile Prize for coming up to present the books as well as to provide the opportunity for them to enter this year’s competition. He expressed that the schools up in the Gobe and Sembrigi area did not get much recognition and he thanked MRDC for bringing Crocodile Prize up there.

The rain started to get heavier and the place grew darker even though it was just eleven in the morning. We were advised against going to Wemi Primary School due to the bad weather.  We passed all information and flyers to the teachers. We asked them to kindly deliver the information to the other school so that the pupils in that school too can enter the competition. I wished that I could have spent more time out there talking with the students and interacting with them one on one. They are young intelligent students that just need more help in forms of reading and writing. I am certain that with those skills, they can go a long way.  I feel like their champion in ensuring they lead successful lives.

After many sad goodbyes we seated ourselves comfortably in the ten-seater ready for a long journey of road tripping back to Moro Camp. To be honest I was not pleased about that ride but I knew that it was a need. It was a great need because we can then be able catch our morning flight back to Port Moresby, next day.  

We have many stories to tell.  But who want to listen to these stories?  Texting and fb messaging has made stories become short like syntax, like a logarithmic symbol for a computer.  We do not listen to another anymore.  We do not tell the full stories anymore.  And in the greater Kutubu area, I feel their stories, I hear their stories, but I want to read their stories in a book. I want to open a page and read about the mystical beauty of their heritage and be inspired.

Journal of the Kutubu Trip by Crocodile Prize with MRDC, Day 3

By Gretel Matawan

I woke up to a pleasant air and cool silence, not even the wind or the sounds of crickets. I looked around the comfortably cool room and sighed to myself, “Another night gone spent at Ridge Camp – Kutubu.” Somehow, this morning felt slow and idle. I myself felt sluggish.  I stretched my arm across the bed to reach for my phone, wondering about my relationship with the alarm clock.  It seemed we were at odd to the norm; which is –“the alarm clock screams and I struggle to wake up, the alarm clock wins”. I observe a dramatic change here; I have changed the roles here and felt guilty about our relationship. This relationship is at its cross road.  I wondered why I had woken up before my alarm again this morning.  I forced a smile and did a fist pump, I beat the clock again, in spite of the state of our relationship, I thought as I kept that smile on my face. I moved the phone toward me and glanced at the screen. I jumped right up and out of the bed because it was 5:45am. I had surprisingly slept right through my 5:00am alarm. Honest to the higher beings, I promise that, the clock poked its tongue out at me.  It did a little dance and rolled its eyes, not once but twice.  Am not kidding, I turned again to the clock and literally heard – “Alarm Clock Rules!”  I stood there staring at it. The Clock stared back at me and for the second time, it poked its tongue.  I wanted to give it the finger but held in check my temper. Instead, I poke my tongue at it and showed my fist to it.  I jumped straight into the bathroom seeking a hot shower and let the long hot steam soak through my freezing bones. After I had decently dressed, I broomed everything with one sweep and threw everything into the luggage bag.  That was packing for me.  All the while, the corner of my eye was steadily eyeing the alarm clock, making sure it did not try to go off.  I was a bit scared of it too.  Then, I heard Iona’s voice outside, beautiful Iona’s voice from her beautiful self. I responded quickly, more to steady myself and to let the alarm clock know that I was not alone. I turned to the alarm clock but it did not do anything.  I threw it into my hand bag but only gently.  It was still my phone, my precious ………mmmmmmm precious, precious I thought.  Ah no, I stopped and corrected my thoughts.   Precious food I thought as I forced my mind and sense of smell toward the messing facility and forced the images of food in my head.  

We walked into the mess to the delicious smells of hot food and that siren call of that much needed coffee.  We decided to have a light breakfast as we knew that we had a long road trip ahead of us today. Through breakfast, we talked about my anticipation and uncontrollable excitement to get on the helicopter.  Iona talked about what MRDC had done for the schools in the rural areas. My excitement was immediately brought back to the ground as I came to fully define rural with my experiences here in the last 2 days. It’s its not just rural but also remote.   MRDC had presented Kikori Secondary School with a Land Cruiser Ten-Seater last year.  MRDC also had built several classrooms along the highway from Kikori to Moro.

7:00am on the dot, we were buckled and seated in the 7am shuttle bus headed down to the Moro Airport, it was just the five of us this morning because the majority had left on the 5am and 6am shuttles. It was still early but the sun had risen, the sky a light blue and the air, fresh and crisp. Adrenaline pumped through my veins and I felt nervous as I thought of speaking in front of a school of students and their teachers. Questions flittered through my head, more like remained there unanswered as I try to arrange my thoughts and logically build a set of points I had to present.  Some say knot in their stomach, well this morning I had a knot in my mind and my head and it seemed to have encapsulated my whole being.  Will the students understand me? Would they be encouraged to enter into this year’s Crocodile Prize competition? How should I address them? Have they ever heard about the Crocodile Prize? I calmed myself to the sound of the slow beating of the wheels as we drove down the mountain side.  I took the knots and threw them out the window of the bus that I was in.  

I looked out the window to ensure the knots were gone and focussed now on unwinding the anxiety I felt back there, a minute ago.  The breath taking scenery of the untouched rainforest, the luscious green and the crispy air exuberantly displaying their ability to seamlessly connect with the blue sky which was growing in its presence gave way to a very gentle and serene atmosphere that enveloped me. The wind, the breeze and the smell of fresh air washed over me.    

We checked into the helicopter terminal at 7:30am in time for the 8:30am chopper flight out to Kopi Camp. The sky was blue and calm as Lake Kutubu. It was gonna be a magnificent day. I looked down to check for my Visitors Pass clipped to my ID Holder.  My heart skipped as I realised, I had dropped it in the bus on my way out. I quickly ran as fast as I could (mind you, I am not a runner, I do not have the courage or the desire of running, but even I impressed myself) to the bus and asked the driver if he had seen my Visitors Pass. The hunt for that valuable pass started as panic rose up to my throat and the words of warning echoed through my mind. “Here it is, daughter,” the driver called to me. “Thank you so much,” I panted as I breathed a sigh of relief, only noticing Iona frantically calling me to go back into the terminal for our Safety Induction. I dashed back in and just seated myself when the safety video started. After watching, we signed our names on the clipboard, acknowledging that we had heard our safety induction and were ready for our flight.

We headed out to the waiting area, just as we heard the loud beating of the helicopter Bel 202. I shivered in anticipation as I handed over my Visitors Pass to the security personnel before heading out the door. My phone was set on ‘flight mode’ to enable me to take pictures up in the sky but before I could pass the last gate I saw a sign that screamed ‘Turn off All Mobile Phones’, without any hesitation, I quickly switched my phone and ran towards the side of the helicopter. I could feel the excitement run through my veins as I sat in the seat near the door, I glanced around to see everyone buckling and fastening their seat belts and all thoughts ran away from my mind as I started to panic. I had forgotten how to buckle my seat belt. Luckily, the load master was near me and he helped to show me how to buckle my seat belts and he put the ear muffs onto my head. Then realised I had been grinning since I don’t know when so I tried to yawn. I also realised that my cheeks were aching from the constant smiling and grinning.  I tried to remain clam but the grinning just broke back and remained there permanently.  I swear, if we had crashed, they would have found me still grinning.  

The roar of the engine grew louder as the rotors sped up.  I looked down to my horror as we lifted off from the ground. I felt I had left my heart on the ground. I looked down just to make sure it was there so I can ask the pilot to retrieve it and at the same time beating my chest to ensure its also there in its original and usual place. We gently and spectacularly ascended to the skies. I continued to press onto my chest, just to remind myself that my heart was there and kept checking the door like it was going to blow off and I would pummel to my death. I can be very imaginative sometimes and a bit of a drama empress. My boyfriend, Clanton, calls me a drama queen but I believe I supersede drama queens; I am the drama empress, every other dramas report to me. I am the Monarchy of dramas!    I couldn’t wipe the wide grin of my face as I looked around at my fellow passengers and watched Iona take pictures of the scenery on her phone and her camera. She seemed completely oblivious that we were in a helicopter above the ground and the bloody thing was shaking and was loaded.  I tried to calm myself and forced myself to enjoy the scenery. I watched the rivers flow in and out of the mountains, some small and some big rivers but they always stay connected.  I reflected to my life and life in general and thought of the connectivity. How everyone and everything seem to be connected. The rivers were a beautiful metaphor of connectivity.  We flew just above the tree tops because the sky greyish, cloudy and murky for the pilot to have clear vision to fly this scary arse, noisy rumbling machine. The sight up from the helicopter is beautiful and breathtaking, so much untouched virgin environment, the white birds flying away in a flock from the loud beating rotors of the helicopter. I was surprised to see that three of my fellow passengers were asleep through the flight. They must have been bored or extremely tired.  I do not think sleeping pills would have worked on me on that flight.  I remained intensely exhilarated, excited and my grinning remained permanent.  We landed at rainy Kopi Camp after a 30 minutes flight.  I had 30 minutes in the air but it felt like a lifetime.  Time is imaginary and only an abstract of everyone’s imaginations.  

After the induction,  we were led by the Camp Manager to the waiting MRDC Vehicle which is a blue Ten-Seater. We were met by Sanga and Bata, both are protocol officers with MRDC. Sanga is the protocol officer for the Kikori and Gobe Area, so he had set up all the meets with the schools prior to us heading out there. Don Mosely and Wemi Primary Schools were scheduled for us to visit that day but due to the delay with the weather we decided to visit Kikori Secondary School.

It was about an hour’s drive up, through the rain and the never ending mud, the cold rushing to my face through the windows, the smells of the bush and fresh crisp air. The bumps in the vehicle and the rolling down the seats. I had to struggle to keep myself from sliding down the seat as we drove up hill and down the mountains. It wasn’t as cold as the weather up at the Ridge Camp, it was clear and it was a beautiful sight despite the rain. As we drove nearer to Kikori Town, we came up to scattered houses and people walking around with bush knives and gum boots.  They were ready and were heading to their gardens, some heading out to catch fish and collect crabs.

We made a stop at the main market so that Iona could buy super glue because the soles of her purple trustworthy hiking shoes were coming apart. There was an okay store with adequate supply at Kikoki that is situated near the small but sufficient market. There were so much sago (compared to all my market trips) being sold as well as fresh peanuts and smoked catfish. I headed straight for the prawns (I am sorry to say but I did not know what breed of prawns they were), bought three with five packets of roasted peanuts to hold my grumbling stomach till lunchtime. The Principal of Kikori Secondary School had asked us to come and talk to the students at 3:00pm.  This gave us ample time to look around and enjoy the little town that the locals had nicknamed “Kiks Town”. I loved Kiks Town. Its like a name of a town in a movie in which Jennifer Aniston will play a Doctor and Michael Learns to Rock would be the only music band of that town.  The name felt good. I smiled at myself, wow; I thought to myself, I am a Kiks Town girl today. I did a little twirl and curtsey (in my mind, of course).

While at the store, we bumped into the Town Mayor, Emma. She had heard about The Crocodile Prize coming to speak to the students.  She was small and articulate.  She expressed clearly that literacy levels were low in Kikori area.  She asked if MRDC and Crocodile Prize could help in donating books to the schools to help the students increase the reading and writing skills.  This should give them a better chance in getting into tertiary institutions. We advised that we would do our best in helping in any ways that we can.  Iona had the brilliant idea of doing book drive when we were more settled and back home Port Moresby.  

We settled at the MRDC Camp located in  and waited for the time. Iona and myself sorted out the flyers and entry forms. We decided that because the school did not have electricity,  that it would be easier and practical for the students to write the literary pieces and send these along with the entry forms to the MRDC Camp where it could be mailed to Iona to deliver to the Crocodile Prize Organising Committee before the closing date of the Competition.

At 3pm, I started having mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness as we drove up to the school. The Headmaster, Mr Sauka gathered the students into the mess hall and welcomed us in. The students all clattered around each other, curious to know what these two women were doing there. Mr Sauka did a formal welcome and introduction of MRDC and The Crocodile Prize. Iona took the stage to explain why we were there and the importance of literature. She explained that MRDC was sponsoring the ‘Women in Writing’ and encouraged the students to enter in this year’s competition. I watched the students, as they were captured by Iona speaking. It was my turn. I stood up and greeted the students, teachers and the headmaster. I talked about the Crocodile Prize Competition and explained the guidelines and rules. I asked if the students had access to Facebook and a few of them raise their hands with shy timid smiles. I talked about the FB and NBC Radio Competition and how they can enter. The students nodded their heads in understanding and anticipation as the cash prize money of K5, 000.00 was mentioned. I wanted to give them hope and believe that they can be just as good so I told them about our 2016 youngest winner of the Crocodile Prize.   MaryCatherine Tavore, only 14 years old took out the 2016 Paga Hill Fundation, Writing for children Category , this brought on shocked waves as the young pupils shook their heads in disbelief, glances thrown everywhere and excitement rippled through the room. I used the phrase “If a 14 year old can do it, then surely anyone of you sitting here can”.  They clapped and some whistled.  Several students smiled and screamed.  I could see the determination gleaming in their eyes as they looked on. I imagined ideas and thoughts flittering through their young and energetic minds.

This was one of the best opportunities to come out and speak to the Kikori Secondary students about the Crocodile Prize, Reading and Writing.  I was very much grateful to MRDC for bringing me along with them on this trip to spread the awareness for the Crocodile Prize Competition so that students out here can be given that chance and opportunity to win a category or two. We always say at the Crocodile Prize that writing is only one tiny aspect of learning and development.  It is one tiny aspect of art.  The real joy is the expedition of:  imaginations, observations, dreaming and the creations of beautiful stories that tells of passion, dreams, goals and aspirations.  Ultimately, the journey of self-reflections, reflections of life, conceptualizations,  imagining and creating a life outside of oneself.  That journey, to a writer is a priceless gift.  

When we stepped out, three boys and an elderly man stopped us to ask us more questions. They seemed enthusiastic and they expressed their great interest in the Illustrations Category of the Literature Competition. They promised to send in their entries as soon as they could and thanked us whole heartedly for providing this opportunity for them to enter in a competition like this.

We headed to the main market of Kiks town, where the wharf was situated. Iona and I had arranged to get a dinghy ride back to Kopi Camp so that we avoid the return road trip. Amid warnings of crocodiles in the river, we borded the white and yellow dinghy that belonged to the town mayor, Emma.  I felt safe with Crocodile, I am a Crocodilian enthusiast, a literary Crocodile.  I belonged and the crocodiles in the river belonged. Like the river from the Helicopter view this morning, the Crocodiles and myself were connected.  The crocodiles in these very waters gave meaning and space for imaginations to Sir Vincet Eri, the Author of “The Crocodile”.  The Crocodile Prize competition and the organisation was named after the first published novel (The Crocodile) by a Papua New Guinean who incidentally was from this area.  I shrugged my shoulder and sort of danced to my seat because this is my Crocodile roots. I paid my tributes to Sir Vincent Eri, and was more comforted by the idea that he led the Crocodiles here. 

Journal of the Kutubu trip by Crocodile Prize with MRDC, Day 2

Gretel Helicopter 17

 

By Gretel Matawan

I woke up to a cold and foggy morning and wonderful smells of nature. The air was clean, fresh and sweet. I felt like I was wrapped like a baby in soft gentle and lightly scented towel. I stuck my tongue out to taste the air. Port Moresby air is a far cry from this. I ignored the screams of my hungry tummy and wondered what time it was, as I had not heard my alarm go off. Its annoying shriek that I have come to love to hate every morning when I chose this love hate relationship with it (my terrible choice of alarm because it’s effective in waking up a non-morning person like myself). This morning I beat the alarm through and through. I saw the second hand rushing around the clock, screaming at the minute hand to move along.  The hour hand also asleep, occasionally looking up when the second hand came around the bend, huffing and puffing.   I smiled at myself, an achievement worth celebrating, did a small fist pump, more in my head and realised that for the first time in our relationship, I woke up before it could scream its ugly scream and watch me drag myself out of bed, usually louder and watch with scorn and a sense of pride. It was an achievement; in fact a great achievement and I thanked Kutubu, the spirits of this great place and all other energy around. This is historical.  I looked again at the clock, I swear the hour hand did say something to the minute hand and so did the minute hand. I also swear the second hand looked up to me with a sense of accepted defeat.

I had woken up an hour before my alarm. It was 3:30am in the morning! I looked up at the roof and noticed also the fluffy pillows and sighed. Why had I woken up so early? I lay there for a few minutes contemplating whether I should force myself back to sleep or start getting ready.

Iona and I had been informed by a friend that the helicopter to Kopi Camp would leave at 8am in the morning and we advised that it would be best if we got on the 6:00am shuttle bus down to Moro Airport to wait for our helicopter trip. With that in mind, we had both decided that we be ready by 5:00am in the morning, hence, why my alarm was set at 4:30am.

I decided against sleeping as the anticipation climbed and adrenaline gushed through my sleepy body and mind. This was to be my first helicopter trip. I had my shower and silently thanked Oil Search Limited (OSL) for the hot water. The hot showers deserved gratitude because of the drop in temperatures here, especially this time of the day. By 5:00 am I was ready and packed as I stepped out of my assigned room and got another wave of the fresh air. I felt a velvety and thicker air enveloping me rather gradually – I felt loved again by life.

Iona was up and waiting for me to head down to the mess. The Iagifu Ridge Camp was already awake and employees were busying themselves in preparing for their day’s tasks. I wondered in awe of all the employees as they moved about with ease and determination, mining life is different from normal day jobs in main centres. They wake up and start the day off so early while the majority of the country sleeps. I was ever so grateful to have a glimpse in their everyday life, so different to my own.

At the mining camp sites, hygiene is of utmost importance. We are required to wash our hands before entering the mess. As I stepped in, the smell of coffee hit me like the call of siren to a sailor. I walked closer to the hot buffet and looked across the variety of food. I chose the delicious green spinach to go with a hot serving of white fluffy scrambled eggs, finished with a hot cup of coffee. I have to admit, caffeine and I have a long history. I grew up as an only child with my Uncle and he loved coffee period. My uncle only drinks the best Goroka (PNG) coffee. I grew up with the smell. I took sips of his coffee when he was not looking which was almost every time.  So I believe I have good taste in coffee and the caffeine certainly connects mysteriously with me.

With 10 minutes to spare, we quickly carried our bags down from our rooms and returned the keys. 6:00am on the dot, our shuttle bus was waiting for the passengers going down to Moro Airport. The shuttle buses up here follow a schedule; a bus leaves every hour for Moro. We drove down with the headlights on full beam and the sky still dark blue heavily coated with the remaining colours of the night. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to Iona, as she pointed towards the oil head bellowing huge flames of fire like a proud mother Dragon. I stared, mesmerised until the mountains closed off my view and I realised later on that my mouth was still hanging open when we arrived at our destination.

We checked into the Helicopter terminal which is off to right side of the small airport, only to be advised that the helicopter to Kopi Camp is scheduled to fly at 12:30 pm in the afternoon. However, that didn’t dampen my spirits as that gave me time to take a few pictures here and there.

During this period of waiting I connected with the Crocodile Prize enthusiast from around the world. I answered all Facebook messages, emails and calls. I gave specific instructions to entrants querying about how to entre 2017 Crocodile prize Competition and chatted about Literature (writing and reading).  I also had chats about my trip and Crocodile Prize with several who came out and spoke to me.  Importantly, I had a very intense communication with several media outlets. We planned about the possibilities of using media to get Papua New Guineans to read and write.

In my reflections, I thought of the people in this area and how they could write about their amazing world. I looked at the clouds, the trees, the greenery, I felt the wind (tried to eat the wind again), heard the breeze and listened to the sounds of the nature.  The Heritage Writing Category sponsored by the Cleland Family should have like thousands of entries because PNG is truly an amazingly beautiful and culturally wealthy country in the world.  I was proud of my PNG Heritage. I smiled as I made my mental notes on my travel diary.

I also realised that due to my fulltime work and the intermittent focus or time for Crocodile Prize activities, I do not have proper reflections on where this competition is going. This competition is truly one of the best things thought about for Literature in PNG.

I took the time to respond to emails and queries, and watched the beautiful sunrise. Then I heard this loud beating in the sky and looked up and around because the noise was echoing all around Moro Camp. I looked across from the Haus Win and spotted a big yellow helicopter descend from the clouds. Excitement coursed through me as I walked closer and took my phone out for a quick pick before it took off. Such a beauty that helicopter was, it is called Bel H145.

We were called in for the safety induction at 11:00am. The safety induction was about the proper ways to approach a helicopter and its safety requirements. We are not allowed to carry carry-on bags into the helicopter. All luggages must be stored in the baggage area.

After lunch at Moro Camp, we headed back to the Helicopter Terminal and waited for another two hours only to be told that we had to overnight in Moro again because there were reports of bad weather in the Kopi area. Disappointed, Iona called to inform her team that we had been scheduled to fly out in the morning at 8am. Tired and exhausted, we headed back to Iagifu Ridge Camp on the 2:00pm shuttle bus with the sun shining bright down on us. As we neared the ridge camp, I noticed the fog setting into the camp, and it was very much cooler than down at Moro Camp. After settling back into our assigned rooms, the fog descended faster than when I first came and the camp was as cold as the night before even though was still the sun shining bright if you could see past the fog.

I settled in for another night in Iagifu Ridge Camp. Hopefully the weather in the Kopi area is good for us to travel tomorrow.