PORT MORESBY - My hands shake as I break open two boxes that have been collecting dust in my house.
Two years ago the generous Phil Fitzpatrick sent me two boxes of books after I made a plea for books to be donated for Safia Community School back in my home village of Musa, which was in dire need of reading materials, especially books.
Given the remoteness of the school with the only land access being by a bush track, which takes five days to walk, my desire to have the books delivered did not work out.
The last time I had been on a plane to Musa was in 1997. Chartering flights is expensive and sadly not an affordable option.
So I left the boxes in the corner of my house unopened and collecting dust.
But there had been a cost involved in getting the books to me, and my responsibility was to ensure that they reached the promised destination. I had to keep my word.
It was not until I started my series of school talks about writing and publication that the idea of distributing free copies of the books to the schools hit me.
I wrote to Phil asking his permission to distribute free copies to the schools in the National Capital District and he replied, saying “as long as some kids somewhere read them, it’s fine with me”.
The books are a collection of Crocodile Prize anthologies, books authored by Papua New Guineans such as Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, Daniel Kombun, Francis Nii, James Thomas, Leonard Fong Roka, books written by Phil himself, and a copy of My Walk to Equality.
I will also add five copies of Nanu Sina to this collection for the first 10 schools that invite me.
So, over the coming months, I will also be promoting these books, especially, the Crocodile Prize anthologies and My Walk to Equality.
The Crocodile Prize Anthologies speak volumes and if there is a sponsor out there who can put forward a K5000 prize for a school’s category, then this would be good.
One thing I would like to see come out of my visits is the participation of students and teachers in the competition. The prize money could go a long way in supporting the school.
The My Walk to Equality (MWTE) Anthology is another book that will play a major role in generating interests from female students to take heed of the Women in writing category of the Crocodile Prize this year.
As a female writer and author who grew her wings under the literary competition, I believe that is a way forward for boosting the country’s literature and increasing the involvement of female participation.
It enables them to perceive writing and publishing in a whole new perspective. There is also a need for additional copies of the MWTE anthology.
Three schools have already reached out to me and I am expecting more schools to respond. As I wrote in interview with Betty Wakia, if I can create a ripple effect from my achievement of having my book published, then I know I have played my part in contributing to a worthy course.
I am reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org for schools who may like to contact me.