Tuesday, September 18, 2007

News from Papua New Guinea

In 1973, when returning to Australia on annual leave from PNG, we decided to take one of my students on the big trip to Aus. We had to make a pretense of randomly selecting one of the 65 Vocational School students. It was a bit tricky to make it appear that we drew the name out of a hat, when in fact we had already decided on a lad who spoke good English and we felt sure would fit in in Perth for the six weeks. The whole trip went very well and Michael learned lots of swear words when he spent a couple of days on a farm. We eventually returned to Australia permanently in 1975/6 and never heard from Michael again until I wrote him a letter a few years ago. He wrote back telling of his village life and his family. A short time later I received a very well written letter from one of his daughters. In the letter she gave me her banking details so that I could do a direct transfer of $2000 for her studies at Teachers' College. I must have been busy at the time because I never got round to sending the money.
Today I received another nice letter from one of Michael's sons asking for K5,000 (A$2,500) so that he can commence university studies in 2008.

It is not uncommon for teachers to be asked to finance education or businesses for their PNG ex- students' kids. I guess they see movies of seemingly affluent Australians and figure that we can afford to shell out.

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