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06 May 2014

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Thank you Mrs Barbara and Michael, I like the way you two presented your critical analysis and response to the article.

Thank you Reilly for bringing back so many wonderful memories of mine; with the Manggai High students in the New Ireland villages, with the Brandi students in the Sepik villages, along the river, along the coast and in Yangoru, with the Keravat students in the Bainings and Tolai villages, and with the Aussie kids in villages in New Ireland and on the Gazelle.

What great love, what great hospitality, what a great place to live, in a village.

Thank you Michael for your comments too. They sum up mine as well.

When will the PNG politicians fall in love with the villages? What is stopping them? Why do they fixate on mines and logging and oil palm and so on?

Yes, it can be easily explained - the love of money.

Why did we love our village experiences? It can be explained easily too - the love of people.

When the politicians of PNG can give up their love of money and go back to their love of people then the country will be a much better place.

Thank you for relating this story Reilly. It was a good read.

There are many places like this in PNG.

We use many different words to describe them like 'remote', 'isolated', 'disadvantaged', 'underdeveloped' and 'neglected'.

These are countered by words like 'pristine', 'blessed', 'unique', 'friendly' and 'simple'.

It seems like one goes hand-in-hand with the other, remote = pristine, isolated = blessed, disadvantaged = unique, underdeveloped = friendly and neglected = simple.

It's challenging thinking about how we can help our people and sometimes we need to 'remove the log from our own eyes' to see more clearly.

Programs like the one DWU supports are one very good way of getting young people to connect with village people to understand how they live and the struggles they face daily.

We may all have our own village communities, but understanding how the other half live helps to open our eyes to our own situations and also give us a chance to share our experiences with others.

What do they have? What do they need? What might work best? What options are available to help them to help themselves?

Perhaps after such excursions into village communities by groups like your own you might consider trying to find out from the respective LLG what plans are in place for the community and to pen a few words collectively to send to the local MP about your observations and reflections and try to get them to look into specific identified needs.

This may be a big ask, but it seems a logical next step and a reasonable one to make. Otherwise everything returns to normal when people have gone their separate ways.

There are many development agents and NGO's who struggle to do just that job. Many of these programs are funded by foreign agencies.

While we are grateful to the agents involved, and allowing them to do their jobs is less costly for the government, we also need to think about how PNGians can help other PNGians.

Once we start doing that, we'll be well on the way to true national unity.

By the same process we are also asking our government to be accountable to the people from the LLG upwards.

On another note we cannot find out about 'corruption' unless we ask for an accounting. Perhaps the LLG's and the local MP's are trying their best but are short changed by those higher up the ladder. Perhaps not.

We won't know for sure until we ask, and it's the simple questions that are harder to answer with a lie.

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