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28 October 2015

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The astronaut will be from milne bay. Before Armstrong landed on the moon, the moon was down here on earth. Milne bay (maybe only the Dobuans) legends had been told that a woman kept the moon and used it in her garden as light to work at night, until her niece and nephew found her. She put them on the moon and shoood them up to the sky as punishment.

Chris,
It was amazing also to visit Flag Fen where an ancient Bronze age community had once lived. And how a Roman road had been built over it.

Amazing how man's knowledge increased over millenia to establish higher learning institutions like Cambridge.., Oxford, Havard etc. Issac Newton had lived and worked at Cambridge.

It is interesting how PNG has skipped the Bronze Age and the Iron Age to be suddenly introduced to the space-age straight from the stone-age. Kiaps and early missionaries ought to be thanked and remembered.

And why not, it is possible a Papua New Guinean can one day train as an astonaut. It is better to live in hope. Who knows what will happen in the future?

Re the possibility of a PNG Astronaut:

Looks like there are a few people who would like to send Peter O'Neill to the moon Chris.

I guess he's have to loose a bit of "weight" first though - wouldn't want to inflict that sort of baggage on the Moonians.

I first went to PNG in mid 1969, just in time to miss the telecast of Neil Armstrong taking his first step on the moon.

My reaction was one of amazement: an impossible dream had been realised within a mere 10 years of President Kennedy challenging the US to go to the moon.

It would be fair to say that most Papua New Guineans of that time either did not know about the moon landing or, when told about it, were frankly disbelieving.

With hindsight, I can hardly blame them: nothing in their traditional life and belief systems could accommodate such an event.

At this time, if you had asked me if any Papua New Guinean would be wandering around the dreaming spires of Cambridge University anytime soon, I would have speculated that this would not happen in my lifetime.

Such a view would have been completely uncontroversial amongst my fellow kiaps: PNG was barely out of the stone age and the pressing need was to ensure the rule of law, promote economic development and introduce basic schooling and health care, not engage in fanciful thinking about sending people to Cambridge.

Yet here we are, 46 years later, and Daniel Kumbon (no doubt along with many others) has proved that I was utterly wrong.

I have to say that I am extremely pleased to be wrong: it is a marvellous thing that a bright Papua New Guinean man or woman can now dream of going to Oxford or Cambridge or Harvard or even to work with NASA.

I envy Daniel his moment lost in the halls of Cambridge, an experience I am yet to have.

Perhaps, one day, there will be a Papua New Guinean Astronaut? Why not? Anything seems possible now.

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