Kids, Coconuts & Campaign Posters


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Look closely at the photo a few up, and you’ll see a good half-dozen campaign posters on the side of that shack. A few more will show up in other shots, below. Yes – it’s election season in Papua New Guinea. Lots of drama , and lots of candidates – something like 3500 candidates for the 111 seats in parliament. There’s a  system of preferential voting, where people voting for a first and a second choice – if no one wins an outright majority at the start, then there are repeated cycles where the candidate with fewest votes is dropped, and his (very, very few women are running) voters’   votes are redistributed to their second-choice candidates. A quick google search will lead you to any number of stories about the current elections, so I won’t go into lots of detail – just let you know that’s going on.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting out for tennis with some regularity, which is just wonderful for stress-management, fitness and work-life balance since the guys I’m playing with aren’t work-related. That, and watching Wimbledon on TV, are among the luxuries that come with being in the capital for the first time since 2007. Work’s going well, but that’s not the topic today either.

In fact, there is no topic today — just a collection of shots from some of the recent bushwwalks, especially one two weeks ago in the hills of East Boroko, which give you some different views of the town and its surroundings than I’ve been able to show you so far. As you see, it sure is beautiful – but as you also see, it’s mighty different from those northern European fields I put up last. Sometimes it really is all a bit much for my brain. And this week I’ve learned of the passing of one of my family’s oldest friends, someone who knew my father when they were kids, who was instrumental in bringing both my parents to the college town where I was born. Though I love this life and the work, the privileges of living in places so different from that town, where I can learn and grow so much…there are downsides, when we lose dear friends and I’m all the way across the world. Ah well – not much to be done. To Margaret Barrier, anthropologist and great spirit who will live in my memory.

As you’ve noticed, on this East Boroko hike we had some kids from the area who decided we were a lot of fun to follow around. I took full advantage, as I always do when I find myself surrounded by a bunch of kids who’ll be more than happy to strike a pose for the camera. Also, you’re seeing different views of the urban-suburban sprawl, and of the town part of Port Moresby than I’ve been able to show you before. Hope you’re enjoying, Catherine and others who’ve asked. 🙂

That’s the airport runway, at the top left corner of the shot above. As you see, it’s one of the few places around with sufficient level ground to land a jet! Below is the guy who guided us on this hike. During election season, the former police who are often our guides and guards on these hikes have all been taken up with election security, so we’re doing some unusual hikes.


…this hike took us through one of the settlement areas and then up into the hills; below we’re in the settlement with some friendly folks, and all the shots of election posters were taken, obviously, where folks live.

3 responses

  1. Stephen Brockmann

    Hi Paul! What lovely pictures! But you’re right, it sure isn’t northern Germany! Or even Amsterdam! I think Margaret would have enjoyed these. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the implications of the idea that you need guards for a hike through the hills, though!

    July 8, 2012 at 16:19

  2. Pat Eickman

    Second that concern about guards for a hike, Stephen. Do you restrict daily activities for safety reasons?

    July 9, 2012 at 07:40

  3. Hosanna Fox

    Thanks for the great photos, Paul. I especially like the group of boys and the various range of expressions. How nice to be able to go on hikes and move around! Keep the updates and the photos coming!

    July 13, 2012 at 23:24

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