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
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
I purchased a new lens for my Sony NEX-5N camera in Thailand (55-210) makes it a little easier to take photos at the markets as I don’t like standing there pretending to be a tourist….
I did include a photo of Xaria with her new Bilum (string bag) that we bought from the markets. Location: a little coffee trip to Duffy’s (our sanity coffee shop)
The worst thing here in PNG is having to put up with bloody Aussie TV… Really, I don’t get The Block, Home and Away should have been canned many years ago, and Aussie’s funniest Home Videos??? C’mon Australia – where the bloody hell are ya! You’ve copied US, British and Kiwi TV and quite frankly done a shit job at it.It’s sad – that we have to watch it here…. And so, TV ends up revolving around Discovery, Discovery Turbo, emtv, and the movie channels.What we want to see: Outrageous Fortune, Sparticus, you know – tv shows that are different… Poor PNG having to put up with this, and c’mon Aussie’s if you think I’m being harsh – let me know the best TV shows so that I can actually get entertained….And onto the biggest rant ever: the All Blacks vs Ireland rugby test this evening isn’t on free TV in Aussie (or PNG). wtf!! Union is bigger than AFL, or League – and only fox sports (which we can’t get here) is showing it… Wouldn’t be so bad if I could stream it, but with the cost of Internet….I always thought that kiwi TV was backward, until your only selection is 20 odd Australian channels… I’ll take tv1, 2 & 3 any day now
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