Building Project in Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea had a recent dry spell, but when we touched down, the heavens didn’t hold back. Nine days of the 12 day tour consisted of rain, however this didn’t tarnish our spirit or stop us from getting the job done.
None of us had been to PNG, and we didn’t know what was in store for us. What we saw was a country full of people with gratitude and overwhelming happiness. As we drove through the busy roads on the first night, we received an endless amount of waves and smiles, and we felt somewhat like celebrities. On day two we were introduced to our work-site for the next 11 days, an old dormitory which was to be converted into three classrooms. We were also introduced to the local boys, who were always happy to lend a hand and brought much happiness to the group throughout the trip. By day three, we commenced work, and this was the story for the following 9 days. We saw the best in each other, always persevering when a new challenge faced us, and we were proud to say that we had finished our intended job, and a bit extra.
The highlight of the trip was getting stuck at Owers’ Corner at the start of the Kokoda Trail. Heavy rain prevented us from getting the truck up the hill, and we decided we’d have to try and push it. With 14 boys and four teachers alongside a few local boys and men, we spent two and a half hours in the pouring rain pushing the truck, ankle deep in Kokoda mud, making only 30m in ground. It was getting late, and with little phone reception and no knowledge of whether help was coming, we were thinking there may be no choice but to stay the night. However, to our amazement, we got hold of a few locals and they were able to bring a convoy of helpers to transport us home. It reignited the spirit of the Papua New Guinean’s helping out the Aussies over 70 years ago, also at the Kokoda Trail, and it is something that we were very grateful for. It really amazed us that people with so little would go to such lengths to help us out.
Papua New Guinea is a trip that will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives. It was an eye opener seeing how these people lived and how they went about their lives. Their generosity and compassion for those in need showed how great human beings can be and the De La spirit with which they live.