WE'VE been back in New Zealand ("civilisation" some people have said to me) for two weeks now. During my last few weeks in Bougainville I was thinking a lot about my stay there. Or in particular, my impact. What have I changed? What have I left behind?
I'll start with the conclusion: It’s really hard to find a balance between the very great things and the very harsh things I've experienced.
For starters, no one in Bougainville goes hungry. The bucket loads of rain and sun are a winner for photosynthesis and things grow just about everywhere. Every family has land and as well as a house they keep gardens. Many also have a share of a plantation, growing either cocoa or coconuts to sell overseas.