GOVERNOR GARY JUFFA
| Asia-Pacific Anticorruption & Human Rights Advocate Group
KOKODA - Finally my cocoa trees are growing and bearing fruit. Kokoda Block 168 is slowly coming back to life.
As a child I used to wander this small portion of land so treasured by Victor Juffa, my grandfather and adoptive father.
He lovingly cultivating cocoa, coffee and rubber trees, and ran a small piggery. He cut timber with giant two-man handheld saws and sold it to whoever needed it.
He baked bread in an underground oven that he’d made from discarded 44-gallon drums. The bread from those ovens was the most delicious I have ever tasted.
I was his trusted sidekick everywhere he went.
Whilst he tended his nursery of cash crops I would make a beeline for a nearby patch of wild cherry tomatoes and feast on them until I dozed - my little fists oozing with tomato juice.
When he found me, he would hoist me onto his broad shoulders and take me home.
Such was a blissful life on Block 168 Kokoda to which my Papuan Infantry Battalion soldier had retired and raised seven children including me, the first-born son of his second born daughter.
He had adopted her so she could finish her studies and carve out a career.
All the old trees are gone now, but I have started to replant them, of course with the help of some kind souls - Moidale, Laban and others to whom I offer thanks.
I am beginning to truly understand my grandfather’s deep joy for working the land.
Truly there is no better way to earn a living than working your land.
If you have some land, make use of it. Be grateful for the opportunity.
Gary Juffa is leader of the People’s Movement for Change, Governor of Oro Province, Chairman of the Public Sector Reform Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the PNG Parliament