Monday, December 17, 2007

More on Papua

My house was a one room aluminium ‘donga’ right in the village. It had a cast iron wood stove which helped by the tropical heat kept things nice and warm. I recruited a cookie. His name was Maisevese Horelau and he had been a cook for other Europeans, so was quite proficient at cooking, washing and ironing. He became my friend and tutor in Motu, the lingua franca of Papua. When I transferred away from the Gulf District to Madang, he came with me. At Arehava he guided me through the village politics.
Maisevese had accidentally killed a man before the war and was a prisoner at the outbreak of hostilities in Papua. He was assigned as a cook to an Australian Officer. He survived with good humour.

Our school garden was some miles away and grades 4,5 & 6 went gardening about once a fortnight for half a day. The garden had a bamboo fence which was regularly broken by wild pigs. A couple of teachers and I decided to sit outside the fence one night with pistol and a shotgun at the ready to try and kill a pig. In the near total darkness my torch failed and we shot blindly into the noisy feeding pigs….without any results besides a bit of blood found on the ground the next day.Some time late in 1962 the District Office at Ihu was allocated a new Land Rover. It came from Port Moresby and up the Vailala River to the Government Station by coastal trader. There was not really much use for it as the only roads were on the station and out to Arehava. A Patrol Officer named Visser, from Rhodesia, first drove out to Arehava school, along the beach and into the village near my donga. Villagers rushed to see the new car; most never even having seen pictures of one before. As Visser alighted he saw village kids touching his Landy. Out came his Rhodesian riding crop and a few hands were lashed. Nice chap!

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