What to do in an accident?

Today’s Post-Courier has on the front page “A mother’s grief” with the headline story about her 7 year old girl being hit on the freeway by an expatriate, who then “flew off” to Australia.

Of course, anything happening like this always has 2 sides to the story – I have semi published my own personal near-miss last year.  And I am sure that if my car was hit in the accident, I would have been in the same horrible situation as the expatriate driving the car this time around.

So what should you do?  Leave the scene, or stay and help?

The bottom line here is peoples personal safety.  I witnessed a truck crash here a couple of years ago, the seriously injured truck driver was dealt to retribution style by bystanders.  Did he deserve it?  Of course he didn’t.

What about this female expatriate, driving her car – when a young girl runs out in front of her car – and gets clipped – then is run over by another car.  What do you do?  Panic?  Or do what you have been told by all the websites, and traveler blogs, and even the New Zealand government : https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/papua-new-guinea

Should a driver be involved in or witness a road accident he/she may find themselves at personal risk as crowds tend to form quickly after an accident and they may attack those whom they perceive to be responsible. Persons involved in accidents should proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.

The Post-Courier has stated that the driver went immediately to her husbands place of work, they immediately called the police.  And if you were in a panic mode – I think that is what most people would do – unless you knew where the police stations were around Port Moresby, then you would go where you can get help.

I really feel for both the expatriate driver, the child that was hit, and the grief stricken mother.  The driver who “flew” off to Australia would have been sent immediately by her company in order to safeguard any form of “pay back” as well as to help her with the significant mental issues you have after being in an accident like this.  The child of course – is now badly injured, and the medical system here in PNG will struggle with yet another casualty.

As far as I am concerned – yes horrible situation, but the driver did exactly what she should have done.  She went and got help!  When I saw the accident last year – we couldn’t get through to emergency services via the telephone….

I have detailed the full editorial below:

A mother’s grief by Donald Willie and Merolyn Ten

 

  •  Expat woman hits school girl in hit-and-run, flies off to Australia
  • PNG family grieves as daughter fights on in hospital

A DRIVER suspected of a hit-and-run accident that broke the legs of a seven-year-old girl has fled the country.

It is feared the young girl may be paralysed after the driver drove off from the scene of the accident.  It happened on May 7 on the Poreporena Freeway in Port Moresby as the girl was on her way home from school.  It is understood the driver – an expatriate woman – left the country the next day after the accident and without knowledge of local police.  An official familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Post-Courier that the woman drove to her husband’s office shocked and physically shaken by the ordeal.

The husband, who works with a financial institution in Port Moresby, reported the matter to his head of security who then alerted the city police.  His wife is yet to go to the station to make an official statement to enable the formal investigations to get underway according to the city police.  The financial institution released a statement recently say that the driver only “clipped” one of the legs of the young girl and she was allegedly run over by another vehicle.

“We understand that the girl ran in fromt of the traffic without warning because she was being chased by an attacker,” the financial institution said in a statement.

The young girl, who is recovering in the hospital, told this newspaper that she recalls the driver of the white vehicle being a woman.  When asked by this newspaper why she was quickly flown out of the country, the financial institution said the advice the family was given at that time was for her immediate relocation due to significant risks of revenge attacks.

Meanwhile the young girl, who was identified as Sarah Kevin, has been hospitalised for over a week.  Her family has been advised that she is urgently in need of surgery to insert steel plates into her right leg, which was crushed in the accident.

Aussie Federal Police assisted immediately at the scene (as per the photos in the Post-Courier) and given the tone of the newspaper article then I wouldn’t want to come back if I was the expatriate driver.

All of this is concerning for us as expatriates, it seriously impacts our thought processes as we could easily become victims too.  I really feel for everyone involved – and bloody glad it was not my wife nor me.  We are not here to deliberately hurt anyone, we are not here to be a menace to society – we are here to help and give; our time, our knowledge, our energy.  Oh – how it can go pear shaped in a heart beat… :(

and what we forget here – is that accidents do happen, and it could easily happen to you or me.  It could easily escalate out of control…  In fact, the area where the accident happened is a known spot for troublemakers, with people being attacked in the early hours of the morning, and rocks being thrown at cars.

When in Port Moresby – you have to use your head…

 

Don’t be shy!

I had to go and get some groceries today, and whilst sitting in Lei’s Cafe at The Waterfront enjoying a coffee with no wife nor kids, I noticed a couple of people kept glancing furtive glances my way.

Either I’m one scary looking guy, or they were working out if they had read my blog, and trying to figure out if it was me or not, and wondering if they should ask..

Ask! Shout me a coffee or a beer, I don’t mind! :)

I answer so many questions, send lots of emails, and yet so many people rock up to Port Moresby and then never say Hi once they get here.

So if you see a tattooed kiwi (I have a large maori tattoo on my left forearm), sometimes wearing an All Blacks cap, commonly wearing rasta jandals, more often than not with a wife and 3 kids – girl10,boy8,girl3 – and always drinking coffee. Then don’t be scared, come share your story and let me know if this blog helped you out, and if there is something that you can add – how about a guest post :)

We are often sitting down at the Sails Cafe area (Yacht Club) on a Friday evening supervising our children playing whilst enjoying a cool SP or two – none of our friends bite either :)

Aaron

Fishermans Island Port Moresby

 On Sunday we went to the annual RPYC (that’s the Yachty) Christmas party at Fishermans Island.  If you have a boat, then it’s a nice trip out of Fairfax Harbour and across to Fisho’s.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a boat, and haven’t been invited on one… Note to new expats that read my blog, and come over and buy a boat – we have kids, but we’d still like to come for a cruise!

So, Jacinta hasn’t been over there and I have only once.  We went across on a Steamships barge, which was pretty cool.  On the way we past a guy on an upright paddle board paddling his way across.  This is no small feat, it must have been easily in the mid 30′s and it is quite a distance, 45 minutes on the barge…

We had a great day, it was very hot, and since it was a family day – we left the booze back in Moresby :). Santa came and visited, and basically we just soaked in the beautiful clear water.  We honestly felt that we were in a beautiful island paradise – and of course we were :)

The next day I woke up to a fully sunburnt body, including the tops of my hands.  Very sore!  And then to top it off, Deliotte Tower lost a circuit breaker which meant no AC, water or lifts…

Oh to be back on the island!

It’s getting very hot now – I’m really looking forward to cooler weather back in New Zealand at Christmas!

Heres some Photos: Xanthe and Xaria waiting in the shade

Getting on the barge

Happy dad, pissed off son

Xanthe checking out the Harbour

Checking out the front of the barge

Yay, almost there

Lunch area

Xanthe surrounded by local girls having a swim.  

Xavier got grease from somewhere, how the hell do boys find dirt?  Here he is getting clean…

That’s me checking the barge out getting ready for the trip back

All in all, a great day :)

12 Months in Papua New Guinea

Today, officially – I have been in PNG for 12 months.  So far – it has been an amazing journey, all be it frustrating at times

From a work perspective, my IT team has grown immensely – I am very proud of their achievements.  When I arrived, they didn’t have a lot of real world IT direction, and now they are on track building their careers and enjoying what they do.  I am very satisfied, that my team has had zero turnover – they obviously see the real benefit in my mentoring approach.

We have achieved a lot, including Project Management Frameworks, Change Management Policies right through to our technical projects.  This year we deployed Windows 7  Enterprise and Office 2010 to 180 odd clients, migrated from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange, and deployed Sharepoint 2010.  We have done heaps of work on disaster recovery, have moved into a Virtual world with Hyper-V and are gradually pulling things back into a framework that Papua New Guineans can manage – such as moving from Pervasive SQL to Microsoft SQL.  This might seem odd – but it’s important here to ensure that systems are self managed using locally developed skills.  In general, it is very expensive to access the internet, use power or even buy a PC – so the type of research that we would do in New Zealand is decidedly difficult here.

On the home front, Jacinta and the kids have settled into PNG life.  Xaria (our youngest) is off to the lik lik pikinini school (little kids school) on the 20th of August, and both Xavier and Xanthe have made good friends in their respective classes.  Both the two big kids are on the advanced side with schooling, with Xavier being an almost straight A student and Xanthe not too far behind.  I was very proud when Xanthe was told to stop reading school supplied books after school.  She has been reading some of our fantasy novels that we have at home :) and Xavier is part way through The Hobbit.  Not bad for a 9 and a 7 year old…

We now get cold when it is 24 degrees, and the pool at our compound looks rather fresh – I hope it warms up soon!  Our social life is pretty hectic with the weekends generally full starting with the Friday drinks…

Of course – we enjoy being Kiwi’s here, and make sure that we shout it out…  Today, I am wearing an All Blacks top to work – just to piss off the Aussies.  And on Monday, when we win the rugger this weekend – I’ll be wearing Black business attire, just to rub it in some more :)

We have made many friends here – and lost some to ended contracts – but not lost for good…  Expat life in PNG can be tough at times, and good at other times – it can be very isolating…

Our life is luxurious compared to how some Papua New Guineans live, but in general – I think we have a better quality of life in New Zealand.  We do have a house keeper here (Maria – Our Haus Meri) but more for the fact that we are employing someone, than any real need.  It also does mean that Maria can babysit on the odd (so far once) occasion that we go out with no kids.

I think some of the frustrations I have here – is with the Sir Michael Somare coined phrase “Boomerang Aid” that is prevalent.  I don’t really get why Aid workers are on such high, untaxed salaries, except that it sets them up back home for the future.  It would be interesting to look at all monetary aid in PNG and find out the percentage that actually hits the community.  Even so, some of our friends work for Defense and AusAid – and are wonderful people with amazing jobs and attitudes.  I just wish the Aussie government would grow a pair and review the methodology in aid packages.

I’d also really appreciate anything from the IT community out there to help me develop my team.  Literature, magazines, software etc.  Anything physical can be mailed to:

Aaron Bird, PO Box 1141, Port Moresby, NCD 121, Papua New Guinea

Appreciate anything you can throw our way J I don’t mind that it takes 2 months to get here

Above all – thanks for continuing to read my blog

Aaron

Port Moresby update

 I looked at my blog the other day…  Holy shit, I hadn’t blogged in quite a wee while, and there has been so much excitement going on here in Moresby…  Need to get my mojo back … busy busy work and life – you know…  It has been very hard over the past few months with malaria, but my energy is starting to return – and the memory is improving…

So, where to start – the freeway is open (temporary bridge), the kids went on school holidays and are now back at school, every Wednesday night! Peter and myself try our luck at winning prizes at the RPYC ( we sink a few beers as well ).  I have been told that I am responsible for making Port Moresby sound like paradise ( viewpoint people ), I have finally got 2 weeks holiday booked in June ( Gold Coast baby ), I had most of my team around for a BBQ and drinks – which turned into a 1:30am finish with Xavier giving up his bed, and a spare brought out too.  That night there was a shoot out just down on the main road in front of us.  Bang!  “gunshot” “yup” Bang! Bang! Bang! “police” “oooohhhhhh”. Yeah – it was one of those funny drunken conversations with not many words…

this week we had about 10000 people march on parliament as the government had voted last week to defer the elections.  Even though it was a peaceful march, it was marred by rioting by thugs, looting, rock throwing and general unlawfulness (around the edges, by rascals taking advantage of the situation).  It started at Koki, just down the road from home, so sent a text to Jacinta “riots at Koki, tell all to stay home”. She got the message :)

the funniest thing happened the other day.  Xaria had wandered up the stairs headed for the garage (our apartment is upside down), when she started screaming.  So I wander over and check and she is looking at me, still screaming.  Up the stairs I go to calm her down, and once I got to her she started looking down the stair and kept on screaming.  I looked down the stairs into the lounge, and there was a toy frog, you know – one of those oversize ones that you get at toy shops, sitting on the floor.  So I yelled out to Xavier to pick up his toy, he comes out and starts yelling FROG!  I pick Xaria up, go down the stairs and find Jacinta climbing up onto the kitchen bench screaming (she doesn’t do bugs).  It wasn’t a toy!  But it was bloody HUGE…  I put it outside – no harm done, but the older kids keep teasing Xaria with “where’s the frog”…  lol. She is going to turn out like her mother…

 

Enough for now,

Later – Aaron