28 FEBRUARY 2017 will do down in our diaries as one of the most memorable events in our writing journey.
The lingering thrill and sheer delight of our first meeting with Keith Jackson was overwhelming. It was like a dream come true. We’d always wanted to meet him.
We are a small team of writers in Goroka but the welcome was warm. The team met in Tess Flaherty Hall at the University of Goroka at lunchtime and waited anxiously for the visitors (seen in the photo below at the Daulo Pass) to arrive.
Around 1: 30 pm the Jacksons entered the hall. It was truly an honour to meet and shake hands with this great man. Present to welcome and meet the Jackson family were Bomai Witne, Lorraine Basse, Joe Kuman, Ann-Marie Wanamp, Nicola Daniel and Dominica Are.
Donald Gumbis, Vice Chancellor Planning and Administration of the university, formally welcomed the Jacksons family to Goroka. After that there was a quick introduction around the table. Each team member in their own words expressed their gratitude for Keith’s mentoring and guidance in literature in PNG and in their own personal work.
As we stressed at one of our meetings, something we really appreciate about Keith Jackson and Phil Fitzpatrick is the exposure they give to our writing.
Each of us had our own collection of writing which we kept to ourselves because we didn’t know avenues whereby we could share our work and talent. For most of us, PNG Attitude opened a whole new world.
Our main agenda at the meeting with Keith was to discuss the formation of an Eastern Highlands Writers Association.
We sought Keith’s advice on how we are to go about that and, with sincerity and candour, Keith gave us invaluable advice to assist endeavors to achieve our goal. We will take heed of that.
The most important and first thing to do is to talk to people who have done it already; people who have know-how and experience. The right person is Francis Nii of the Simbu Writers Association. We will be keeping Keith and Francis updated in our email conversations.
After the discussions, Keith was presented with gifts and a ‘thank you’ poem was read, This was followed by light refreshments and wonderful conversations. It was an awesome experience, meeting, greeting and sharing common views on writing. We were all truly moved.
Bomai Witne as our team leader has done an excellent job in getting the team together to share ideas through emails, meetings and his organisation of this this short but memorable get-together with the Jacksons.
As Bomai stressed in one of his emails ‘The thought of not meeting this great man is killing me’.
This is the start of something tiny that will eventually flourish into something extraordinary.
Time after time, we’ve written our hearts out till our inks run dry
Heaven knows how we’ve toiled, the talent we possess, it must not be in vain
Appraisal and exposure is what we needed, a guiding hand to guide us
Nourishment to help us grow, to blossom, to reach our full potential
Knights in shining armour you are to us, the guiding hand we longed for
You came along and opened a whole new world for us, we’re
Optimistic that our dreams will come true
Ultimate gift you’ve given us, with heartfelt gratitude
We thank you
Bomai D Witne