Our politicians are corrupt, say Australians
Powes Parkop is right: privatise PNG Power

A very pleasant Monday’s drive indeed

Isaac from Kongara-Kerei  Patrick  my island clansman and Bariona from Darutue
Isaac from Kongara-Kerei;  Patrick my island clansman; and Bariona from Darutue who prepared a dozen old fern tree posts (kusinai) with his volleyball team boys


KIETA - After spending most of Sunday at sea, the drive to South Nasioi on Monday was a welcome change, travelling past Marai as far as Darutue on the road to Kongara in the foothills of Mt Takuang, the second highest mountain on Bougainville.

The dirt road was rough, in parts atrociously so but still trafficable. Never mind, however, the scenery at slow pace more than made up for the bumpy ride.

There were a number of small roadside markets selling fruit, vegetables, green coconuts to quench the thirst and, of course, the ubiquitous betel nut with mustard.

On our stop at one small market by the Marai school and church, we bought some home oven-baked buns and stayed long enough to devour them.

Both sides of the road were lined with tall coconuts, patches of well-kept cocoa, food gardens on the hillsides and larger plantations.

We stopped near one of the colourful cocoa plots to pick up fern tree posts which I had ordered some weeks back.

TimberAs the boys stacked them in the back of a four-door Toyota, I wandered about under the cocoa trees admiring the multi-coloured pods thinking how it must be a labour of love harvesting them, going through fermentation and the different curing processes before finally selling the beans in bagfuls for hard cash.

I reminisced on the trip about how I had been through here as a primary school pupil on a mission tractor many years back visiting Marai Catholic mission which is now a parish.

At another time I recall a similar trip on the faithful tractor which the driver parked at the roadside and we walked up hills and along valleys until we reached the place where a small feast was being given.

VegeIt was for relatives of a husband from Pokpok Island near Kieta who had married in the hills up here. We came in numbers, ate a lot at the feast and took a lot back on the tractor.

On this trip, apart from being grateful for the fern tree posts I ordered, my mission was to meet and chat with Chief Oama, where we also bought some home baked buns.

I was some classes behind Oama at Tubiana Catholic primary school in the early 1960s. He is a manta’a (kokomo) clansman and told me he was still active representing the ward in his community government.

We spoke fondly about the good old mission days and about those of our school and age vintage  who have passed on.

Cocoa podThe ride back was more accommodating and the journey seemed somewhat shorter.

All in all it was a memorable three-hour visit just driving and looking around and coming into contact with the lush green scenery, as well as admiring the colourful cocoa pods hanging on trees at different stages of maturity.

There is so much on offer that beautifies and enriches Bougainville. There is so much to appreciate if we care to take time out to explore.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Phil Fitzpatrick

I enjoyed reading about your trip Simon.

A simple yet engrossing account full of hidden information.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)