IN 1963, GOVERNMENT OFFICERS in Kundiawa spent a month erecting tents, painting the club and boasting about bringing girls and girlfriends from various nambis locations to the Chimbu Ball.
Not to be outdone, I flew my wife to be Margaret McKenna up from ASOPA in Mosman, Sydney.
Then the rain came, bridges fell down and planes bringing girls couldn’t land.
In fact, apart from three hardy souls who came from Gumine by tractor, Margaret was the only outsider there.
It was a total financial disaster but we managed to drink the spare kegs before they went off.
Assistant District Officer Geoff ‘Barefoot Boy’ Burfoot fancied Margaret, so two days before she was due to return to Australia, he sent me on a week’s patrol.
Not to be deterred, I put her on the pillion seat of the BSA Bantam and off we roared.
It was an enjoyable patrol but Margaret wasn’t too keen on the rats running over us in the haus kiap.
Nor the corpse that ‘talked’ when I cut her down from the tree and removed the rope from around her neck.
The District Medical Officer gave Margaret a pass for a week, with choice of diseases, so all was well back at ASOPA.
I was in the Kundiawa pub some months later when a bloke at the next bar stool gossiped about a student absconding with a kiap who was then pressured from above to send her back to ASOPA.
The bloke turned out to be an ASOPA lecturer, the student Margaret and the kiap myself.
I introduced myself and suggested he save his bullshit for ASOPA. Quite ruined his story.