FIVE thousand dollars gifted by the PNG Association of Australia Publishing Program has allowed nearly 350 copies of the Crocodile Prize Anthology 2015 to be printed and distributed throughout Papua New Guinea.
As the year goes on, we hope to deploy further funds to this great project and we do seek the assistance of readers with this. (Drop me an email here)
So far we’ve been able to get books to even the remotest part of PNG for an average of $15 a copy, although a languishing Australian dollar hasn’t helped us in recent weeks.
The books are printed in the United States (yes, it’s the cheapest option) and mailed directly to our distributors in PNG – who are all bona fide PNG Attitude readers and often contributors.
In this piece, I’d like to introduce some of them to you and get them to explain where and why the books will end up.
Julius Mahisu is a third year Bachelor of Commerce student at Unitech in Lae and his books are headed for Dreikikir in East Sepik. “Most government subsidies never reach door of the primary and high schools in Dreikikir,” Julius said, “and I feel responsible to do something worthwhile to help.”
Florence Sabadi in Madang will distribute her copies to town schools - Tusbab, Kusbau, Holy Spirit, Madang International and the Mercy Learning Centre. “They complain their school libraries do not have books,” Florence told me. “The Anthology has local stories and poems that students can relate to. I know this for sure - because the stories and poems in earlier anthologies inspired me to write.”
Johnson Makaen is a research scientist at the PNG Institute of Medical Research in Goroka, His books are going to nine school libraries in the Eastern Highlands. “Most government-funded schools do not have books let alone a decent library,” he observed.
Doreen Bauloni lives and works in Alotau and her consignment will go to the General Hospital, the Alotau Seif Meri Haus (safe haven for the abused) and the Alotau Correctional Institute. “These are places where people are seeking help with issues they are facing in their lives,” Doreen said. “Whether it is health or emotion, everyone seeks healing and reading is healing.”
Jack Klomes works in the Flexible Learning Centre at Divine Word University in Madang and his books are headed for Aitape High School and Suain Primary School in his native Sandaun Province. “I know that most young people and teachers there do not know this competition exists. I believe if we can deliver the books they will be used in class to spark the interest of students to write and we might give a voice to our people out there in Aitape who have never been heard.”
Lapieh Landu will provide books to Marianville Catholic Secondary School in Bomana, “The school inspired and empowered me to write, and write well. I believe it’s a great place to ignite that creative spark. I think it will inspire my sisters to dig deep within themselves and find that creative side.”
Michael Dom and Isidora Ramita are at the National Agriculture Research Institute at Labu Station in Morobe Province. Their books are headed for Bubia, Bowali, Erap, Sintogara, Kumalu and a number of other small schools. “Most of these schools are in the bush and this will probably be the first free book they have received, let alone the first free PNG authored book,” they told me.
Amanda Yeou is a second year student in the Department of Social and Religious Studies at Divine Word University. “The DWU Writers Club just started with the help of Fr Harry Gahare,” Amanda disclosed. “There are 15 students in the club and we really need the anthologies because we don’t have proper materials such as reading books to help serve as an inspiration to help us in our writing.”
Raymond Girana is media and communications manager for the Catholic Diocese of Bougainville. He’ll send his books to deaneries in the Buka Atolls, North East Bougainville, Buin, Central Bougainville, West Coast and elsewhere. “I have chosen to distribute like this so the population of Bougainville can have access to the anthologies,” Raymond said. “The deans who are Catholic priests will look after the books and make them available to schools and health centres within each deanery.”
Bessielah David, originally from Manus, has worked with Air Niugini since graduating from UPNG. Her books are going home to Manus high schools including Lokobou, Papitalai, Evangelical Lutheran (ECOM) and Manus Secondary School. “Currently, in my former high school, the state of the library has deteriorated,” she told me. “There were empty shelves with no books and the building was closed. Even though these schools have an English department, there are insufficient reading books.”
Jimmy Awagl of Simbu Children Foundation will ensure the books he receives go to schools in the Yongomugl area - Parua, Mai, Guruma, Mogl, Prenorkwa, Numuna, Ku and Womai. “These Schools are also within the electorate of Sinesine Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua who is so supportive of PNG literature and sponsored the 2015 Crocodile Prize in Kundiawa,” Jimmy said.
Hazel Kutkue, a third year medical student at UPNG, will give her books to secondary and primary schools in Mt Hagen. “Schools always need reading material,” Hazel said. “Growing up and attending one of the primary schools in Mt Hagen, I have seen the non-functional state of the school library, which simply had no shelves and outdated books.”
Simon Davidson lectures at Sonoma Adventist College in Kokopo, East New Britain. “This is a training institution and there are many young scholars who can be influenced by reading the Anthology in which there is so much writing by PNG writers,” he explained.
Dominica Are is an accountant with PNG Coffee Exports in Goroka and will give her copies to the local CARE Learn Team to be distributed to rural schools in the remote Obura Wonenara area. “These schools should be given the anthology to enhance their reading and writing capacity as they have limited access to other modern resources such as a decent library and technology,” said Dominica.
There are many other people from right across PNG who are being provided with books to distribute.
We all know this is a small drop in a big ocean of need, but books are getting out there and, if past experience is a guide, each will be read by an average of 15 people over the next year.
That’s well over 5,000 Papua New Guineans who will be able to read books about their own issues by their own countrymen and women.
If you wish to donate to this project, contact Keith Jackson here