Posts Tagged ‘PNG’

Serah Yasona decided to revive her father’s old fish farm after he passed away. A single mother, she had three children and one adopted child to provide for.

Last year she set about refurbishing the fish farm (in Komiufa, Goroka district), plastering the seven concerete ponds and fixing the pipe system with her own hands, from her own sweat. She went to her DPI office to get some advice about how to do it. She has even added two more large ponds. She plans to sell fish at the markets or direct to local buyers.


Serah said she was not only happy to have found to a way to support her family, but she’s come to realise her potential as a Papua New Guinean woman.”I saw that I had to do something so I could pay for my children’s school fees and other living expenses,” she said. “I taught myself how to do this and it’s really interesting. Now I want to work on my farm all the time!”

Advertisements

Zavis Pupune is building her own guesthouse on her land at Fanayufa, Goroka. Her story is one of gentle determination.

“I started selling flowers to make a little money,” she explained to Our Pacific Ways when we visited her place last week. “I thought I could use that to start a chicken farm.

“From starting with one box of chickens I went to three and then four boxes. Then I started a piggery too. I can get K1,500 for one pig.”From those earnings, Zavis is building a guesthouse, and has dreams of also building a conference room on her property. Through her hard work and vision, her children now have the opportunity to go to school in Australia.

“Working little by little, we can improve our lives,” she says. “I believe that I can do something, with the few skills that God has given me, to do something to improve my life. I have land. I can use it to do something for myself.”


In the coming weeks, OPWs will be publishing the work of the winners and finalists of our PNG National Goals and Directive Principles essay competition.

These are the voices of our youth. They seethat PNG has not fulfilled the promise of the National Goals, created in 1974 after a team of men and women travelled the length and breadth of PNG to find out what values and aspirations would best guide the newly independent country.

Our ancestors, following the wisdom of their ancestors, told them PNG’s future history should always be based on the following five goals:1. Integral human development
We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others.

2. Equality and participation
We declare our second goal to be for all citizens to have an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the development of our country.

3. National sovereignty and self-reliance
We declare our third goal to be for Papua New Guinea to be politically and economically independent, and our economy basically self-reliant.

4. Natural resources and environment
We declare our fourth goal to be for Papua New Guinea’s natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of us all, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations.

5. Papua New Guinean ways
We declare our fifth goal to be to achieve development primarily through the use of Papua New Guinean forms of social, political and economic organization.

The students who entered our essay competition see that our National Goals are just as important now as they were in 1975. Maybe even more important, with PNG under increasing pressure from outside influences and powers trying to make our nation dependent.

Dependent on foreign countries for bank loans, for aid. Dependent on foreign companies for wealth generation, in the form of mining, logging, fishing, oil palm and other projects that destroy our natural resources, and rob people of their customary land and the ability to make money for themselves. Dependent on foreign, processed food and soft drink, rather than enjoying our own healthy organic food.

These students, the voices of our future, believe our five goals still provide the roadmap for a TRULY independent Papua New Guinea. The goals tell us we already have the answers to our problems – we don’t need to be holding out our hands, asking for someone else to save us. The answer is believing in our strengths. We don’t need to be saved, the goals tell us, because we are already rich and strong. Perhaps we have lost sight of our strengths as a people.

As individuals, it is up to us to try to enact these goals by living them through our actions, in our own communities, and by pressuring our government and elected representatives to do more to realise them. Start today.

(This is an edited extract taken from the Masalai Blog. The full post can be read here. )

“O’Neill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.”

IN AN Olympic year, we are once again contemplating playing host to the next South Pacific Games and the government (especially the previous O’Neill-Namah government) has not been serious about what is and what ought to have been a matter of priority and pride to prepare necessary infrastructure for the event. The nation is about to face its moment of truth on the regional and international stage but we are way behind in our preparations, and so far treated this event as a political afterthought.

Our lack of preparations must necessarily be viewed as a measure of our own awareness and pride in ourselves. It is a measure of the way we have gone off-course in terms of focussing our people and our leaders on matters other than that of national interest and national importance. It is a measure of the way we have lost our way as a nation, preoccupied with politics, the demands of enclave type developments like the LNG, and forgotten about being a country, about nationhood, and about what the national interest requires of us. It is a measure of the way we have lost our own sovereignty in favour of serving others’ interests, including personal interests.

Who would have predicted how we would turn out as a nation and a people in 1973 when we were granted self-government so hurriedly by the Gorton/Whitlam Governments of Canberra? In the early 70s on the occasion of a South Pacific Commission Meeting held in the capital of one of our Polynesian countries, the Paramount Chief of the Chimbu people, Chief Kondom Agaunduo stood up and spoke. Whenever he spoke in his native setting, multitudes of tribes men far and near came and drank of his words in utter silence, words that echoed like a thousand waterfalls and flowed seamlessly like the Waghi, giving life to a deeply farrowed land.

But this time, his solemn maiden Chiefly address to the South Pacific Commission in Tok Pisin was openly mocked. Perhaps it was because he didn’t understand a word of English and could not speak any. Perhaps it was because they couldn’t understand him at all with his typical highlands big-manly animations. Chief Kondom felt the mocking laughter deeply, like the bitter stings of a thousand wasps buzzing around his head. He couldn’t speak English. Realizing, from the laughter and the polite nods that he had just become the laughing stock of the Pacific, and realizing he carried with him not only the pride of the Narengu tribe of Chimbu, but also the pride of history of his fathers and that of the then Territories of Papua and New Guinea he represented, Kondom Agaunduo slowly raised his hand as if to brush the wafting wasps away, allowed the laughter to subside, and spoke in slow deliberate Pisin and uttered those famous lines: “Yupela harim ah! Nau mi kam long hia na toktok na yupela lap long mi. Em I orait. Tomoro bai mi salim ol pikinini bilong mi i kam. Taim ol I kam, bai yupela ino nap lap long ol! “ With that he sat down, and never spoke again.

Chief Kondom was a man before his time. He was a Chief and Luluai, a cultural hero who brought progress to Chimbu in the early colonial period. He was the first Simbu coffee grower, father of the Chimbu Coffee Cooperative, Member of the District Advisory Council, Observer to the First Legislative Council in Port Moresby. Before his premature death from a car accident, he was truly a pioneer who craved education and progress for his people so that they could meet or match the whiteman, a man without pigs, on his own terms, and triumph. He was resolute and uncompromising in this cause. His leadership, punctuated by long eloquent speeches, was impeccable. There was no ounce of self interest in his cause. His cause was that of every Chimbu to advance.

In the 2012 elections, more so than ever before, the Australian Defence and intelligence played a very heavy hand, and made no secret about the fact of who Canberra wants installed as the new Prime Minister. On the 2nd of August 2011, Australia engineered the disposal of Somare while he was in Hospital.  Then when the courts were called upon to intervene by a Supreme Court Reference, Julia Gillard used a political bulldozer to smash down the gates of our Judicial system and our Constitution, by openly recognizing Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister. She pre-empted the Supreme Court, the sole arbiter under the Constitution to deal with the then pending question of legitimacy of Peter ONeill as Prime Minister.

Australia has always advocated the importance of the rule of law, and the importance of having an independent judiciary as the backstop of our democracy in Papua New Guinea. Except on this occasion Australia threw all that out the window. When it suited Australia’s strategic economic and political purposes, even the ideals of rule of law, governance, transparency, accountability and principles of democratic government were readily flushed down the toilet by Australia. Prior to and during the elections, Australia moved its people into key positions within the Electoral Commission, and even brought in its military and SAS veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to run a separate communications and operations capability parallel to the PNG security forces. All this was done to ensure one result- Peter ONeill to form the next government. They made sure O’Neill knew he was under the Australian army protection, and that he owed his rather “unusual landslide election win” to them.

The charms of money, wealth, fame and more fortune now whisper incessantly like cicadas in Peter O’Neill’s ears. The real question is, does he have what it takes, and can he stand up for the red gold and black? Or will he be just another good native?

The signs are already fairly ominous of a sell-out job done by Peter O’Neill. He needs these next 18 months to prove to the rest of us that he is a true nationalist, and better at negotiating competing interests and triumphing over those who want to turn him and his office into their own Post Office Box. He has 18 months to show us that he is the Prime Minister of PNG and not Julia Gillard’s rubber stamp of Australian cross-interests in this country.

He will have to do better than he has done so far to show us that our lives and our resources are safe from the marauding corporate raiders who are crowding his social calendar even now. He has to demonstrate that the mothers of Bougainville who lost their sons fighting for their land and resources have not died in vain. He has to show us that the blood of the innocent spilled on Bougainville was for a cause of equal worth, and that indeed he will use this term of Prime Minister-ship to initiate a ministry of healing of the nation, to reconcile us as brother to brother, that our blood can flow through our veins once again from one heartbeat. He has to, like Jerry Singirok did, honour the oath he took before God and man under our Constitution to protect our people and the national interest.

Peter O’Neill must know what the national interest calls for in every case, and must summon the courage like Singirok did, and honour the national interest in everything confronting the nation today, not just in respect of Bougainville (although Bougainville ought to be high priority on our nation’s list of “unfinished business”). O’Neill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.

Does Peter O’Neill have the smarts to really serve the national interest, or will be just another drunken politician, pandering to his mates, and the sharks and vultures already circling around and above the nation looking to extract our resources and leave us bare? Does he have what it takes to not only give us cause to celebrate and showcase our nation in the coming games, but show those sharks and vultures that circle him; that he is a nationalist, that this is the land of an ancient and free people, a people of pride, strength and culture and he will serve the national interest above all else? That we will not be bought or sold for political or economic convenience? That the birth place of the Melanesian nations- the heart and soul of Melanesia is not for sale?

This is Peter O’Neill’s greatest challenge as Prime Minister today, as the wolves are no longer at the gates huffing and puffing, they are in his living room, in and under his bed, and at his table. It is therefore incumbent on other leaders to also stand up for this nation, just as the former Governor for Morobe did, to rule a line in the sand, and tell the hordes that prey on our people and their Leaders, to stay outside the line, and clarify their wish lists. Australia has proven that it cannot be trusted to secure our Constitution, our Judiciary and our democracy according to principles of rule of law. Australia has proven its ability to openly manipulate our politics and our institutions to serve its own interests. Australia is only here to serve its economic and strategic interests, and we cannot blame it for that, as long as our leaders wake up from their deep slumber and protect our own National Interests.

If he fails and sells us cheap to the Australian and other interests (and there are many signs already that he will), then that will be his legacy. If he becomes the convenient conduit to allow Australians to crush our heart and soul as a people, future generations will not forgive him, and all the labour of our forefathers and the fathers of our Constitution have laboured in vain.  Our Laws, our Constitution and our Parliamentary system were adopted from England. We must not lose sight of our own origins both as a people and as a modern nation State.

Those with wish lists in bed with O’Neill must be made to define and measure them against clearly stated interests of the nation. If these interests are not defined, and made subservient to the national interests by our elected leaders, then the wolves will definitely eat us. Before we realize what is going on, ONeill will have successfully sold our people and the national interest down the river, and he will have sailed into the sunset with his gains, and we will be left to ponder what really went wrong as we struggle as a soul-less nation to live with the manacles of economic slavery, control and poverty he placed us under. God forbid that this should happen!

By John Simoi

 

I think the most important thing is for people to come together and see the real needs in their community, and ask what they can do to change the way they’re living. If there are problems or hardships in their community, to ask what are the best ways that they can address those kinds of problems.

In Papua New Guinea, our land is our life. In everything, we must do it in an environmentally friendly way. We have to think about our future generations – how can we conserve our resources, not exploit everything and leave our future generations to suffer. So that kind of mentality you must have when you’re looking at ways to improve yourself.

A person himself can’t do something: but if several people can mobilise, together they can bring the changes. If they want changes to come into their community, they have to work together.

Some people may be afraid to speak out because their English is no good, or because they think someone will laugh at their idea. Don’t ever stop yourself from saying something – your thinking might be the thought that changes your community.

And other people are just sitting down and waiting for others to come and show them. But when you sit down and wait for others to show you, you will never get anywhere. You have to get on your two feet, you have to go find your friend and discuss the idea with him. Then if you see that he has already thought like you, then you go to another person. And then you go to another person and another and eventually, the group will form. And that’s how you will move. And if you don’t move, then nothing will happen.

People should have this thought in mind, like what Abraham Lincoln said: “It is not what the country can do for you, but what you can for your country.’ And in a smaller way, whether it is in a village or in a very remote area, it’s what you do in your particular area that you can make an impact. And you don’t worry about the government, you don’t worry about anybody – you just go ahead and do it.

So you start with one or two people sitting down talking, then three or four people sitting down talking, and then your group will start mobilising. And as you are moving, you are learning. If you can rise up and do something, definitely you will learn something. You will become wiser, and learn how to protect your environment, your resources, your future generations.

Some Papua New Guineans say, “it’s the money we don’t have that prevents us from doing it”. It’s not the money! We Papua New Guineans are so fortunate that we own the land and we own the resources. And all these things, they are money. We already have money here. The betel nut is money, the coconut is money, the fish is money. You see? The banana is money. The pawpaw is money. Even a single tree is money.

It’s just a matter of us rising up, putting the betel nut together, selling it, getting the money and using it. This is the way to start. It is not the money that will come and make us start, no. It is us.  First believe in yourself, then utiliise your resources to begin changing your community. There’s no other way forward. We have everything here, we can do it. Nobody’s stopping us. We have to think positive, we have to believe in ourselves and we have to believe in our future, and protect our future.

You have to stand up and speak for your rights. And you know, when you speak for your rights, you are not talking for yourself only; it is the rights of your children and the right of your children’s children.

 

 

Via The National, August 15, 2012

By Pisai Gumar

 

SMALL scale agricultural activities remain the cornerstone of the livelihood of rural people but not enough is being done to improve the capability to produce quality crops and increase production, a farmer says.
Poro Co-operative Society chairman Solomon Dumuk said provincial, district and local council agricultural agencies lacked proper mechanisms to realign their programmes with local cash crop growers.
Dumuk, from Bang village, Astrolabe Bay, Madang, said the lack of technical know-how to help farmers improve and increase production had been the main problem over the years.
“The issue is manifold involving agricultural agencies, political will of local MPs to lead and drive the improvement of rural economy through transportation projects by enhancing provincial works division to improve roads, bridges and wharves,” he said.
Dumuk voiced concern after 136 cocoa growers contributed K125 each to start a cocoa export company after receiving no help from local MP, James Gau.
He said most of the cocoa, copra, coffee and tea were accessed by provincial roads.
But, he said, neither the provincial nor local level governments seemed to be taking care of maintenance of the roads and bridges. Cooperative secretary Nason Tu-um said they had the land and the crops.
“But how can we turn them into money is an issue.
“Importantly, we need agricultural technical knowledge and skills to enrich growers on ways of how to nurture and produce quality crops while government has to improve roads, bridges and wharves for us to move the products,” Tu-um said.

Via UVA Today: http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=17982#

“Being Arapesh is there, but hidden or in the background. I would like to be able to take off this modern mask. It would be a big deal to me to connect these different worlds.”

Most of the people who spoke Arapesh when University of Virginia linguist Lise Dobrin conducted field work in Papua New Guinea about 15 years ago have died of old age. Their children no longer speak the language, and their grandchildren have almost no knowledge of their ancestral tongue, she said.

But Arapesh has a chance to live on through a digital archive Dobrin has created with the help of U.Va.’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and an emerging collaboration with some middle-aged and younger Arapesh.

Dobrin, an assistant professor of linguistics in the College of Arts & Sciences’anthropology department, began the archive in 2005 and is focusing on it this year with support from the institute’s residential fellowship. The “Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language Archive” also has support from the Documenting Endangered Languages program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation.

Papua New Guinea, half of a Pacific island and slightly larger than California, lies north of Australia. One of the most culturally diverse countries on Earth, it is home to more than 800 languages, none of which traditionally was written down.

What is lost when a language falls into silence? A treasure trove of cultural information that has been passed down from generation to generation, Dobrin said. Endangered languages have properties only the speakers know, such as classifications of the natural world, for example.

In addition, there is a lot to learn from diverse systems of oral expression. Dobrin first went to Papua New Guinea in 1997 to study the system of noun categorization of Arapesh for her University of Chicago dissertation. Despite all of the strides in research, scientists and scholars still only partly understand language, she said.

From 1998 to ’99 in the village of Wautogik on the northern coast, she recorded Arapesh conversations to document speech patterns. She used a portable analog stereo cassette recorder and lavalier microphones to record villagers telling stories, talking about how they did things in everyday life, such as gardening, and describing events like First Communion. The fledgling Internet was of no use to her then.

Many Arapesh villagers today use Papua New Guinea’s lingua franca, Tok Pisin, as their medium of communication in daily life. Tok Pisin comes from the English “talk pidgin,” pidgin being the term for communication developed between people with different languages. English is taught in schools.

Since the 16th century, several European nations have occupied parts of New Guinea; the eastern half gained independence from Australia in 1975. As in other developing countries, younger Arapesh have moved to cities, become educated and stayed to work, sending money home to the rest of the family. And thus, Arapesh has become endangered in four generations.

Dobrin’s work is also getting the people themselves involved. “Many Papua New Guineans are now global citizens, but they want to learn their ethnicity,” she said. When a group of urban Arapesh who use Facebook stumbled upon the Arapesh archive, they reached out to Dobrin, saying, in effect, “Can you help us learn our language?”

Last month, Dobrin brought together a dozen people to discuss the best ways to make Arapesh, and possibly other endangered languages, available online to the tech-savvy generation and to connect far-flung villagers to one another. Worthy Martin and Daniel Pitti, co-directors of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, and a few other professors and graduate students working on other language projects, met here. Emmanuel Narokobi, an Arapesh man, participated from Papua New Guinea via Skype.

Narokobi, who has an information technology business, said he is eager to relearn his Arapesh language.

“Being Arapesh is there, but hidden or in the background. I would like to be able to take off this modern mask,” he said. “It would be a big deal to me to connect these different worlds.”

In a country of 6 million, the technological device spreading most quickly seems to be the mobile phone, Narokobi said. The number of cell-phone users has surpassed 2 million, but that still leaves twice as many people without them. Even fewer have access to the Internet on a computer.

Dobrin is working with Narokobi and other urban Arapesh to determine what information would be most useful to them. The community-based addition to this research and the effort to “mobilize the materials” is part of a trend in linguistics, she said, to expand the preservation of endangered languages with information and materials that communities want.

“I feel like I’m holding this treasure – their culture – in a safe for them,” Dobrin said. Although the challenges are steep, she has begun a long-term reciprocity with the Arapesh to help preserve their way of life, enabling them to re-draw a sense of identity without limiting their ability to live in the modern world.

*You can access the Arapesh Grammar & Digital Language Archive here.

By Catherine Wilson

Part Two

Painting by PNG artist Jeffrey Feeger (photo by Claire Kouro)

 

In 2011 the National Informal Economy Policy was launched to promote “the informal economy as the ‘grassroots expression’ of the private sector and a partner in the formal economic system of Papua New Guinea.”

The policy advocates growth of, and greater civil participation in, the informal economy, regardless of gender, urban or rural location, and ultimately socio-economic inclusion for all involved.

Strategies to empower workers include an enabling regulatory environment, financial inclusion through microfinance and provision of improved infrastructure, facilities, education and training, social protection and political representation. Thus, it is hoped to link “the economies of rural and urban areas and to reduce inter-regional, as well as inter-personal, income inequalities.”

At Gordons Market, where there is currently no power, public water supply, inadequate sanitation and refuse management, vendors would like to see changes.

“I would like to see improvements, especially more benches for vendors and power supply,” said Miriam, from Babiko village, who works at the market with her mother and two sisters.

“We would also like to see good services for road transport, as sometimes when public transport is not available, we are not able to get to market in time to sell enough.”

The size and resilience of the our agricultural economy is testament to the initiative and creativity of people and communities at the grassroots, but putting in place promised state reforms is vital to its development and long term future.

“The informal economy in the agricultural sector is a booming industry,” Maria Linibi, president of PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation, claims.

“Women in PNG are entrepreneurs and make do with what resources they have, such as markets, transport, even if it means walking long distances with heavy loads on their backs to the nearest available means to earn some cash,” Linibi said.

“But there is,” she added, “no proper marketing infrastructure and other facilities in place to facilitate and support the informal sector to boost and sustain its effectiveness.”

Market vendor, Nikil, took pride in saying: “We do everything ourselves.”

NRI’s Nalau Bingeding said that substantial PNG-based agricultural research and its effective application, addressing restricted and expensive transport options and developing appropriate technology to prolong the life of perishables, would bring prosperity to smallholders and food gardeners.

By Catherine Wilson

Part One

Although Papua New Guinea is known as a resource-rich country, 85 per cent of the population depends on the informal economy for a living.

Photo: Women at Gordons market (Catherine Wilson/IPS)

The need for a grassroots-led economic enterprise to create equitable and sustainable development is nationally recognised, but awaits better governance, infrastructure and facilities.

Meanwhile, the majority of PNG’s population of 7 million people practice subsistence agriculture in rural communities, many in locations remote from road and transport networks and public service delivery.

More than half of all income sources, including fresh food production, are part of the ‘informal’ economy. It is therefore the People’s Economy – OUR economy.

Agriculture-based entrepreneurship is not confined to the rural provinces. In the capital, Port Moresby, fresh produce markets are growing, supplied by an expanding network of small farms and food gardens in the city’s outer suburbs and villages within commuting distance.

Bire Nikil moved to Port Moresby from Chimbu Province in the highlands to start a food garden several years ago. At Gordons Market, he is surrounded by five of his relatives who assist him with growing and selling kaukau (sweet potato), bananas, aibika (Pacific cabbage), pineapples, peanuts, watermelon, mangoes and coconuts, all transported in by public minibus.

Nikil’s weekly income of K300 supports 20-25 people, including relatives in Chimbu province.

For many market vendors, who are also growers, this is their only source of income and open markets their main outlets.

Ruth Williepore supports herself and her four-month-old daughter by selling freshly grown food at the market every day. She lives on the city’s northern outskirts, where cultivation of fresh produce is collectively organised with families given specific crops to grow and produce taken to market by public transport.

“If we sell 100 bags (of food) per day,” Williepore said, “we earn K2000-3000 which pays for food, water, household items, school fees, clothes and power bills.”

“More people are buying and more people are selling,” Williepore added, surrounded by several hundred fellow traders and an abundance of fruit and vegetables piled on wooden benches, in plastic tubs and on every spare bit of ground.

The ‘2008 Feeding Port Moresby’ study, by PNG’s Fresh Produce Development Agency, revealed that the total supply of fresh food to the city each year is around 57,780 tonnes, with an overwhelming 50,350 tonnes sourced from local urban production and 7,430 tonnes from other provinces and international imports.

Agriculture accounts for 32.2% of PNG’s gross domestic product (GDP), while industry contributes 35.7%. But revenue from the minerals and resources industry, which has contributed to rising national growth over the last half decade, has failed to generate economic benefits or public services for most people.

Nalau Bingeding, Research Fellow at the National Research Institute, claims that the biggest obstacles to the resource boom transforming the pace of development are “corruption in politics and the public service, and a weak public service mechanism”. While their economy is crippled by corruption, our economy has expanded.

Globally, the ‘people’s economy’ accounts for 60% of employment in so-called developing countries. These self-employed traders possess business acumen, creativity and innovation that can be further tapped for further economic growth if conditions of vulnerability and marginalisation are removed.

*Part Two to follow on Monday, July 2.

Via Klairehsays

It starts its journey at a place thousands of walks, sleeps and an ocean away called Melbourne. Carefully it gets printed and cut. A rectangular piece of plastic, coloured depictions of different digitalized, nationalized objects on one side, on the flip side you see either the Waigani *haus tambaran or the majestic bird of paradise. You can’t eat it, drink it, nurture it, decorate yourself with it or use it as an ornament on yourself nor your home.

It only has value when you give it in exchange for something, otherwise it’s a worthless piece of plastic. The value is decided by hundreds of different factors and by people that have no relationship to you and most likely you will never meet in your lifetime. In fact it has no history or kinship to you. You don’t share any stories or any affinity with it.
Funny thing is that these days we all would like to possess as much of these pieces of plastic that we could possibly gather.
Now reminisce. Each of them start their journey where your heart is, right here – at home. Remember the remarkable patterns made by shells, stones and seeds. Remember pigs, cassowaries, the plumes of magnificent feathers and the regal cuscus fur. The intricate patterns created by weaving, by painting, by carving, by moulding.

You can eat from them, you can drink from them, you can nurture them like you would a family member, you can sit on some, you can wear some, you can carry others, you can give some a place of significance so people have opportunity to admire them.
No one else needs to value any of them, in fact their value is determined by giver and the receiver. Each of them have value. Full stop.

Yet in this day and age these priceless artefacts, seem to have less value than those useless pieces of plastic.

The plastic and coin money have brainwashed us into thinking that we will achieve happiness and good health. The plastic money has been sold to us as the only means to validation in this world, meanwhile enslaving us to toil for hours on end, in conditions that are alien to us, in doing things that in the long run will have no positive impact on our future generations.
We are no longer proud of our own knowledge, skills and resources, we think we are somehow inferior to what the plastic money represents, because we have bought into the value of this useless piece of plastic that owns no value of its own.
Retarded isn’t it?
*haus tambaran = house of spirits/sacred house/men’s house