Well, Helen & I have been here 6 months now & the time has really flown. No wonder volunteers are asked to come for 2 years; time just goes & everything takes time. Before we came away I would have to say that PNG was not high on my list of places to go to but it has been a pleasant surprise – it is wonderful here & her potential is unlimited.
All the stories we heard about before we came away have proved to be false – our experience has been one of meeting very friendly & helpful people. Complete strangers will offer advice or help or they will just want to ask questions about you. At first, some can look fairly intimidating – particularly those with bright red mouths due to betel nut chewing – but even the toughest looking man has a soft & gentle voice which can seem bizarre. Luckily the violence & lawlessness we heard about has avoided us – sure, you hear & read stories but we equally hear about violence in Australia & other places.
All the stories we heard before we came away have proven to be false – our experience has been one of meeting very friendly and helpful people.
On the bright side it is normally very quiet & if you get books from home or other volunteers it is great to just unwind. PNG is not well known for its surf but to my great pleasure there are some good surfing spots close by, so in the season Nov. to Mar. surfing in pristine locations with no one else in sight is magic. There are also good snorkelling & safe swimming beaches close-by. Our work is extremely interesting & rewarding. The people we deal with are conscientious, inspiring & grateful for any assistance. We both work with Callan Services which provides help to people with disabilities – unfortunately PNG has a high proportion of disabled people & most of these are disabilities which do not occur in Australia.
Our work is extremely interesting and rewarding. The people are conscientious, inspiring and grateful.
Gary & Helen