AS YOU KNOW, each day I publish a few new stories on this blog, as I have done for nearly seven years.
I have published from hospital beds, from ships at sea, while suffering the excesses of good wine, in seedy hotel rooms with paper thin walls….
I have done this because there needed to be more dialogue and interaction between ordinary Papua New Guineans and Australians. At the time this project was launched there was very little.
And there is still not enough mutual endeavour and understanding, despite the pretensions and windbagging of successive Australian ministers with responsibility for the relationship with PNG.
On those occasions a couple of times a year when I think of giving up on PNG Attitude because it is demanding too much of my time and energy, I’ve always managed to resist.
Why? Because of the people who read it and contribute to it. You could hardly contemplate how much motivation resides in that simple fact.
As regular readers know, from time to time I ask for their support of projects of worth.
Our readers have handsomely backed The Crocodile Prize, provided assistance to the sick and dispossessed, consoled the grieving and provided support to many promising writers.
One of these writers is Francis Sina Nii, a paraplegic now confined to bed with pressure sores and forced to compose his essays and stories on a mobile phone.
It is always a joy to read the words of Francis Nii. They are well crafted words and the difficult situation in which they are written makes the experience all the more elevating.
Francis’s personal predicament is dire. More than a year in bed because of pressure sores is a devastating fate.
At first Francis was hopeful the condition would ease. It hasn’t. But Francis has never complained. He has never asked for anything.
It took a long while for the penny to drop with us, and it was contributor Robin Lillicrap who spelled it out. Something had to be done. And we have begun to do it.
We’re trying to raise $10,000 which we believe will cover the medical treatment and equipment that will enable Francis to get back to a reasonable lifestyle.
So far, I have to say, reader response has been no better than modest.
But we have enough money to get the ball rolling with the purchase of highly discounted special mattressing and cushioning from Mal Turnbull (himself a paraplegic) and his team at the Seating Dynamics company at Northmead in Sydney.
This will be shipped to Kundiawa within days, generously facilitated by my old buddy Terry Shelley at Nowek Plantation near Goroka.
But we still need readers to donate enough money to secure appropriate medical treatment, equipment and, for that glorious day when Francis is able to leave his bed, a decent wheelchair.
In a comment to PNG Attitude yesterday, Francis briefly reflected on his condition.
“There were 11 of us paraplegics in the hospital [after I had my accident] and eight died.
"They simply gave up because they could not cope with the hard physical and mental challenges.
“Two were discharged for home care. I am the only one left now….”
Please help to ensure that Francis, 50, continues to lead a long, satisfying and productive life.
We can't help the 10 who died, but we can help Francis.
How you can donate to the $10,000 Francis Nii Appeal
Australia & Rest of World
Account: Crocodile Prize
Location: Noosa Civic, Noosaville, Australia
Account No: 392-865-774
Papua New Guinea
Account: Simbu Children Foundation
Bank: Bank South Pacific
Location: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Account No: 100-124-0413
Drop us an email here when you’ve made the bank transfer and tell us your name including a message for Francis too if you like.
If you don’t do electronic banking, you can send a cheque to the Crocodile Prize at PO Box 1688, Noosa Heads, Queensland 4567.