Frank Hanrahan: Frank Hanrahan’s CommUNITY News no. 3

Well I’m still at Brahman, and there are no plans to move me anywhere else before Christmas according to the Bishop. The school got a government grant to do all the work I’m doing. Also, it’s not costing anything for fuel or service to the ute as I haven’t had it down here, apart from the two weeks up to last weekend when I returned it.

I’m not sure what my next job will be — I have finally almost completed the job in the School Dormitory — I cut an opening into the smaller room next door and built some more compartments in there. The big extension to the girls’ dormitory which was half finished by the Rotary team some weeks ago is still on the go, with several local carpenters who work for the school continuing on. There is also talk of renovating one of the houses here to use it as a Primary School classroom. So I’ll wait and see.

I went for a walk up the nearest mountain to here for about the fifth time and this time I got right up. The track stops about 3/4 of the way up and it’s hard to find a way up the last part but yesterday I managed to find a way. I got some good photos of plants, trees, two small waterfalls and small rivers. A local from up the road took me up another peak about six weeks ago — I took photos of two big snakes both asleep so we left them that way! It’s actually one big range of mountains right around Brahman, which is the only area of flat country around. I still haven’t seen those elusive birds of paradise.

The weather has been very hot and humid here the past three weeks. The rain has slowed down although it did pour last night. I lost more sweat on Friday than ever before , so I’m drinking plenty of water.

What effect will the mine have on marine life?
While I had the Land Cruiser out at Walium a couple of weeks ago I drove up to the Chinese Nickel and cobalt mine up the mountain at Horumbukary. They are constructing some big buildings and living quarters and have almost completed a 135 km pipe-line to a processing plant not far from Madang. They will send material down the 600mm pipeline, process it and dump the leftovers in the sea. Who knows what effect that will have on the fish over a 20-year period? There was an article on it in theNew Internationalist you sent up in June.

While we were up the mountain the carpenter who was working with me showed me the area of land the local landowners have donated for a Catholic Church, School, Hospital etc. There was talk of the Mining Company doing earthworks and donating money for the project but I don’t think I will hold my breath waiting for the Chinese company to do that. The Government here have been very generous in exempting the company on fuel tax and also income tax for a few years, but will the ordinary people get many benefits from it?

I became a grandfather for the second time today — my son and his wife now have a second son — Xaviar (?) Thomas (I’ll have to learn how to spell it).

I hope to get away somewhere over the holidays — to an area I haven’t been yet. I’m not sure where yet though. I enjoyed the stories of the Palms volunteers in Palms Post; some very capable people doing great work. It was good to hear about Ellie and Rosaleen’s work.

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Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I'll understand. - Chinese proverb