Our Volunteers: Des Hansen volunteering in P.N.G. again

Emmaus Farm

Emmaus Farm is a project of the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

The Western Province is the largest in PNG by area, with many remote villages only accessible by the Fly River and its many tributaries. As with other remote communities in PNG, balancing subsistence needs with limited income generating opportunities can prove to be quite challenging.

Additional challenges facing the people of Western Province range from malaria, to large numbers of West Papuan refugees, to massive environmental damage from the Ok Tedi mine, to the mine inflating the price of many goods beyond local people’s budgets.

Emmaus Farm provides training for young men from across Western Province.  They learn a variety of sustainable agriculture and lifestyle skills, which they can use to improve their local villages’ sustainability, with economic, education and health benefits for the whole community.

Gilles Cote, the Bishop of Daru-Kiunga, has requested a Manager for Emmaus Farm with skills in agriculture, education and administration to help develop current and new programs and train local staff to take over management in the coming years.

Des Hansen

Des Hansen

Palms Australia recruited Des Hansen, a retired teacher to work in Kiunga for two years. He will work closely with local staff, sharing skills and expertise and contributing to the long-term vocational and academic education development of Tapini.

Des has over 35 years experience teaching in rural schools in Victoria. He has taken leadership roles at a number of schools and has experience in mentoring and assisting colleagues.

Des also has significant expertise in agriculture, and has volunteered in rural PNG before, making him very well suited to the role.

Palms Australia needs your help to cover the costs of placing Des as a volunteer for two years. To make a contribution, please use the donate button on the right of the page.

Seeds bear fruit at Christmas and beyond

November 25, 2015


I bring you good news. Some of our Eagle Wood trees both at Emmaus Farm and behind our workshops are bearings pods. This is wonderful. We were waiting for that. Next week we will collect sand again and get some beds ready for the germination when the time comes. The trees are quite a good size now and beyond the workshop most of them would be ready for inoculation. Have to find a market now.

 This is due to your great work on the Farm. Thank you so much. If the income will be as good as predicted it will help us a lot in the future.

At Reyenai plantation we have about 6,600 trees growing well. We only lost about 250 altogether which is excellent.

 That is all for today. I hope that you are all keeping as well as our Eagle Wood trees are keeping well.

 Pray for us as we do for you.

 Bishop Gilles
Western Province PNG

John Gartner and Des Hansen are Palms returnees who both volunteered at Emmaus Farm, PNG. The seeds of development sown in the Emmaus Farm community continue to bear fruit long after their departure.
...and what are Eaglewood Trees?
Eaglewood (Aquilaria crassna, also known as Oud) produces a very resinous and aromatic timber which has been a prized source of perfume and incense since prehistory. Now quite rare in the wild, most of the last natural stands of this tree are in Papua New Guinea, where increasing value of the wood makes forest populations a tempting target for commercial exploitation. With increased capacity, rural communities in PNG are now adopting the sustainable alternative by developing and managing their own plantations of this “treasure tree”, which both generates income and reduces pressure on the natural environment. 


Emmaus Farm: a Smorgasbord of Memories

September 15, 2014

Palms returnee volunteers invariably express that they received much more than they gave during their placements. This would certainly be true of recent returnee Des Hansen as he reminiscences over his experience at Emmaus Farm, his second Palms placement in Papua New Guinea.  Working with the students daily, and sometimes of an evening, was a […]

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Once more into the fray

December 9, 2011

Volunteering can be both a challenging and immensely rewarding experience. Few returnees would claim to remain unchanged by the experience. Some, such as Des Hansen and Monica Morrison, value the experience so much that they return for another placement.

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As Des Hansen's volunteer placement has ended, your donation will be placed towards the costs of sending and supporting other Palms volunteers to exchange skills with our partner communities. For more information contact Palms Australia.

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Papua New Guinea

PNG Flag

Population: 7,656,959

Area: 462,840 sq. km.

Median Age: 21.5

Literacy: 57.3 %

Languages: Tok Pisin (New Guinea Pidgin), English, Motu, c.820 indigenous languages

The terrain of Papua New Guinea varies from its rugged mountainous spine to its beautiful beaches to its volcanic islands to one of the world’s largest swamps and the large river systems of the Sepik and Fly rivers. These geographical differences have created a unique country with many diverse cultures. The ties within a family […]

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Why you do speak so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying. - Bruno Hagspiel