WHEN I first went to Papua New Guinea in the 1960s as a young kiap there was absolutely nothing noble about my motivations or intentions.
I was not enthused by any youthful zeal to help a developing country and its people. At that age I didn’t have an altruistic bone in my body. That only came later as a sort of retrospective and ultimately facile justification for my presence there.
Rather, my reasons were a combination of a testosterone-charged urge for ‘adventure’, whatever that meant, and the debilitating experience of having spent the first 18 months of my working life stuck in an excruciatingly boring job at the National Bank.
Apart for possessing a young man’s proclivity for risk, appalling advice from the bank that I had a sinecure for life if I wanted it was enough to do the trick.
Thinking about it, I don’t think I developed any sort of missionary zeal during the short time I worked as a kiap. When I left Papua New Guinea I still had an overwhelming desire for ‘adventure’, albeit leavened by then by a distinct taste for the exotic.