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02 February 2016

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Phil, I had no ambition to excel at ASOPA. As I wrote, I did enough study to pass the exams. I had no intention of staying in PNG. I intended to stay there for just six months, see the country, and move on.

It did not work out that way; the country and the people ensnared me.

At the end of the first term (21 months), instead of going on leave, I deferred it. I took a bush posting, and went to Urun - three days walk from Tapini, and spent almost a year there alone, except for five policemen, a couple of donkeys and a mule.

I enjoyed my time amongst the Fuyuge people just as much as I had enjoyed the time with the Roro and Mekeo. I think the die was cast in the second term, again extended - but only by six months, when Ian Downs gave me the sub-district while Harry West was on long leave. It was heady stuff - taking over Kainantu S.D. in my second term.

Given your scrupulous attention to detail and insistence on getting the facts right I'm surprised you didn't top your class at ASOPA Bill.

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