Can you shed light on Black Dogs of Bougainville
Dumbstruck media? Or a conspiracy of silence?

Sr Francois tells it straight & clear: Just do it!

Loch Blatchford

With all the doom and gloom coming out of PNG one should not lose sight of the fact that there are many people doing what they can to improve the lot of Papua New Guineans. Sister Francois is one of them.

Sr Francois Sr Francois has lived and worked in PNG for 54 years in and around the township of Aitape. She has dedicated her life to the health, education and spiritual needs of the local community.

Sr Francois recently returned to Aitape after a short stay in Australia for back surgery. During that time she was able to attend the inaugural Birds of Paradise fundraising ball at Sorrento. The event raised $20,000 for the Sister Francios Foundation.

Felix Aimingel was the first recipient of foundation funds. Felix lost both of his arms in an accident several years ago. Felix was brought to Melbourne in May to have a prosthetic arm fitted by the Prosthetic Department at Caulfield Hospital. Felix will shortly be returning to PNG with his new arm.

Mitshie is seven years old and has a congenital heart abnormality known as Fallots teratology. The foundation provided the funds to transport Mitshie and her family from Wewak to Port Moresby. She was recently operated on by a visiting Australian medical team and is currently recovering in hospital. She will require a number of trips to Moresby over the next few years which will be paid for by the Foundation.

Felix_Aimingel & David_Wilson_Brown There are many people like Sr Francois. Expatriates return to help rebuild schools and aid stations. Medical and educational supplies are collected and sent to the country. Doctors and others provide free services. Many of you may consider yourselves past the age of contribution. This is not so. Each of us has specific interests and areas of expertise that can be of mutual benefit.

Retired schoolie Bob Jenkins is returning to PNG later this year to help rebuild his old school. Barbara Short has just published Tuum Est, a history of Keravat National High School. Eric Johns has written books for PNG schools on the history of PNG. Keith Jackson has provided and maintains PNG Attitude. Dave Keating is involved with PNG athletics. The PNGAA and its organising committee undertake valuable work and lobbying to improve the lot of PNG. And these are just a few contributions.

If you get the opportunity to contribute in an area that interests you, why not say ‘Why not’. We might not be able to change the world but we may be able to improve the bit around us.

If you are interested in assisting the work of Sr Francois you can send a donation to ‘Sister Francois Foundation, 505 Grasslands Road, Boneo Vic 3939’. Cheques should be made payable to: The Franciscan Missionary Union – Aitape PNG Development Fund.

Photos: Sr Francois does the rounds. Felix Aimingel has his arm fitted by Dr David Wilson Brown


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Martin Hadlow

Some other good news to balance the usual 'gloom and doom' stories out of PNG.

As a long-time SWLer [short wave listener], I was running across the dials of my shortwave radio last night and decided to check out the PNG scene.

It was good to hear so many NBC shortwave stations still on the air! I thought most had closed down, for financial reasons.

Radio Madang was there (3260 kHz) with a good signal.

Radio Bougainville was powerful on 3325kHz with western rock music, followed by a talk program.

Through the crackles and pops, I heard Radio Northern (3345kHz) announcing itself as 'Maus blong Ples'.

Radio Milne Bay (3365 kHz) had string band music at a fairly strong signal level.

Radio East New Britain (3385kHz) was clear with local music in reggae style.

Radio West Sepik (3205kHz) also had reggae style local music.

Radio New Ireland (3905kHz) had PNG rap music!

Radio Morobe (3220 kHz) was on with a talk programme.

Radio Southern Highlands (3275kHz) had me fooled because they seemed to be presenting Latin American music!

I didn't make a point of chasing all the stations, but will go back and do a sequential check one of these days.

While a lot of the programming was indistinct (variable reception), a couple of things became apparent.

(1) PNG popular music has been hugely influenced by reggae and rap. The old string band guitar stuff seems to have had its day.

(2) I heard no traditional music

(3) The increased use of English within the Pidgin language was very evident

Some of the transmitters seemed to have been left running after close-down. I heard quite a few carriers still on after broadcast hours.

Some of the stations also dropped out suddenly on occasions. Maybe local electricity problems?

David Ketepa

Thanks guys for keeping your roots deep in PNG and try to help make a difference. You're 'heroes' among the many who spend their lives, resources, time, and expertise to help others enjoy life within our short stint here on earth.

I admire those who go their way to help others. The world would be a much better place if we help each other out on things that matter most to us.

Good efforts and God bless you all ><>

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