Introducing the family to PNG

It’s taken a month, and finally – Jacinta and the kids are here in Port Moresby. I flew to Brisbane on Thursday, and they flew in from Auckland. Typically my flight out of PNG was delayed, and I arrived some 2 hours after them. Imagine trying to clear customs with 3 kids (one a baby) and two trolleys of luggage, then spending the next 2 hours in arrivals with no Aussie dollars… Yup – she’s a trooper my wife…

We had a great time in Brisbane – spent a lot of money, went to Movieworld where the kids had a ball, and I almost shat myself on the Superman ride… Yes – a born again screamer!

We only had a couple of dramas in Brisbane, firstly the car we hired had a problem with the cigarette power so the gps wouldn’t work. They swapped out the car the next day. And then the Motel we were staying in, which we thought was a dual bedroom – wasn’t. All 5 of us in the living area of the room, not enough room to put your socks on… So thankfully we were able to transfer to a brand new motel down the road which was a bit more family friendly.

On Monday (after PNG independence weekend) we took the 10am flight from Brisbane to Port Moresby, and after a delay – arrived in PNG, the 3rd plane in a row to land. This meant at least 600 people in the airport, trying to clear customs (4 counters) and then 2 more planes arrived….

omg

So after about 30/45 minutes in a HUGE queue, an Air Nuigini flight attendant went past with a couple and three kids in tow, taking them through Airline Assisted customs. I grabbed Jacinta and the kids (who were almost dying of the heat by this stage) and followed them through, and she helped us jump the 3.5 hour queue… Yes, 3.5 hours is how long it took one of my colleagues to get through.

Welcome to PNG!

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Making Progress

Any progress here in Port Moresby, is good progress. As a kiwi expat, I simply just expect things to happen – however, here…. It’s a little hit or miss, but at the end of the day, if you keep at it (and followup) things do happen.

Progress…
So, I finally have a cash-flow card, and chequebook – which means I feel comfortable about my income situation. For a while there, I was feeling rather exposed with having a bit too much cash on me. Although when I checked my account, they hadn’t deposited the k50 I needed to start my account. ANZ – you have serious issues with how you setup accounts here in PNG.

Progress…
Off to Aussie on Thursday for a long weekend in Brisbane and the Gold Coast with Jacinta and the kids – then we all (finally) fly over to PNG to really start our adventure – yay! And the kids are getting taken to Movie World too 🙂

Progress…
We have somewhere to live! Yay! One of my colleagues lives in Era Dorina, and he is moving out – so he has kindly given up his apartment for us. Era Dorina is extremely hard to get into as it is so popular. It is a very large compound with 3 swimming pools, tennis court, gym, playground etc, and the kids will be able to safely cause mischief within the compound… Awesome – thanks Sean and family.

Progress…
Our container is on it’s way, and should be here in a weeks time.

Progress…
My team is warming to my philosophies, we did an office move today, everything was well planned prior – and it went perfectly. So I took the guys out to Gateway Hotel and shouted pizza and coke. Then they helped me find Brian Bell home center – so I could browse :). We get on really well, I enjoy the banter and laughs, but also that they just get on and do what they need too.

Progress…
I only get Mosbi belly… Some days 🙂

Progress…
I found the bloody mosquito that has been dining out on my feet in the middle of the night… Squish!

Progress…
I have officially driven into areas where I’m not meant to, and nothing happened. It doesn’t mean that I am going to go back there – but it does mean that I am learning the streets.

Progress…
Rugby World Cup – All Blacks – 1st win! w00t

Progress…
Upset the Aussies cause I put a big All Blacks flag in my cubicle at work. Being the only kiwi in an organization of 175 – I don’t think they were prepared for the passion we/I have for the All Blacks

Progress…….

Another day in PNG

EftPOS, Charge Card, Bank Card…

Desperately seeking someone that can give me one, it’s only been about 2 weeks – ANZ, you have my kina, please let me access it….

Yes – I do have a bank account here in Port Moresby, but no – still no way of getting any kina out, except for going down to the bank, getting a number, sitting down and waiting for my number to come up on the screen… waiting waiting waiting.

I’ve emailed the bank – response: sorry Allen… Allen, Allen who the **** is Allen? Yes – it’s Aaron. And this is the bank! Yesterday, emailed them again – thankfully, they haven’t responded with a “Sorry Allen” however – sadly, they actually haven’t responded….

Welcome to PNG! lol

I wonder what will happen when I make the account joint with Jacinta… And as for credit card facilities, or heaven forbid – internet banking. Well – you just never know 🙂

Mosquito’s, and Malaria in PNG

Hopefully the title of this post will kick the google algorithm into life and bring me some visitors!

This last week, one of my team came down with Malaria. Two days later he arrives in the office to drop off his medical certificate, he was sweating profusely, looked like death warmed up, and yet came all the way to work. This is really significant, as I’ll explain soon. The next day, he came in and was fine, said he still felt awful but was ready to take anything on… Amazing fortitude! The previous night I was bitten by a mozzie 3 times on my leg – so paranoid me, especially with one of my guys down with malaria, I brought up the subject with my team.

This is the PNG method in how to get over Malaria really quickly… Freeze yourself! They say you will feel very cold, but be very hot – and the last thing you will want to do is jump in a cold shower, but that is what they say you MUST do. Their advise is that the cold kills off the parasite that is attacking your system, it loves being hot, hates the cold.

Given how quickly the recovery was this week – If I get Malaria, it’ll be the first thing I do.

So the really significant thing about one of the team coming in whilst sick. It’s not like they can just jump in a car, and two minutes later be at work. Nope. It might be a couple of km walk to a PMV stop (bus stop), then a very crowded ride to work taking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. In some areas they run the very real risk of having the PMV held up by opportunistic thieves. And each time they board a PMV they are putting themselves in the hands of a crazy PMV driver, who speeds and doesn’t give a shit for other cars, and in a PMV which is being held together by rust… and people.

I so admire, not only my team – but everyone that does this. It takes a fortitude that most people do not have, just to get to work… And to top that off, most have little pikinini (children) at home being taken care of by a Pikinini Meri (Nanny), as well as supporting lots of their immediate and extended family, their wantok’s (one talk). High rents, high food prices, and being able to do it all on sometimes (most times) less than the NZ minimum wage. They are an amazing people in an amazing country. And they still have time to make sure the big pela dimdim (mwha) is OK.

If you are reading this blog, rest assured – PNG is not for everyone. I will never get used to being called Mr Bird, nor Bossman or Sir. And even less so “white man”… Or people, especially pikinini’s staring at me – and then getting scared when I smile at them – too cute. This place is… inspiring!

Aaron