Creative Self Help Centre Workshop on Public Places Accessibility

Posted in CSHC, VSO on September 13th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM:  Laura Carse

Laura is a VSO volunteer assisting the Creative Self Help Centre 

Voluntary Service Overseas and Creative Self Help Centre staff and Service Users recently completed an eight month research study into the level of accessibility in public buildings and places for people with disabilities living in the Madang Province.

The findings of the research were officially published for the interest of the public and the National Government on September Monday 10th 2007 at the Creative Self Help Centre in Madang. Staff and service users developed a full day’s workshop to accompany the research. Over sixty people from service providers local business houses and government departments attended the presentation and the day was officially opened by Joseph Yomba the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Community Development. He emphasised to the participants that the disability movement within PNG has the full backing of the Department of Community Development and they are working together to push through the National draft policy for equal rights for people with disabilities.

The Madang Provincial Administrator Joseph Dopar and the Participation and Governance Programme Manager Barbara Toia were the guest speakers and gave the closing speeches. Both speeches were empowering for many of the participants and encouraged individuals to take an active role in the governing process.

The aim of the research was to Investigate:
• What level of access is currently available within public buildings?
• The main barriers to access
• Could access to public buildings be improved within Madang?

The findings of the research demonstrate how society and the environment around us can make a person “disabled” and not the actual impairment. Each researcher investigated institutional, environmental and attitude barriers that people with disabilities have to face on a day to day basis and found that the response from the local community was positive and demonstrated that people want to have a better understanding and knowledge of disability issues and how to best support people with disabilities.

This is the first time that this type of research focusing on accessibility was carried out within PNG and more importantly by people with disabilities. Initiatives such as this research need to be undertaken by people who have real experience of what it is like to have a disability. People with disabilities do not want to “be helped” they want to “be helped to help themselves.” Everyone who participated would like to see the information gathered utilised by the Provincial and National Government to improve access to services for people with disabilities. A working partnership has been formed with the Department of Community Development to achieve this aim and they will be submitting the report to the Asia Pacific Community Development conference in Bangkok. The research demonstrates the work that people in PNG have been undertaking to promote the action points on the BIWAKO Millennium Framework.

This initiative is part of a National Campaign to improve information, facilities and support for people with disabilities within Papua New Guinea.

Here is the greeting banner at the gate of the Creative Self Help Centre.

CSHC 2007 Workshop Entrance



This is a photo of the workshop participants.

Group photo of participants in the CSHC 2007 Workshop



 This photo shows Imeldas, one of the researchers, with Joseph Dopar and Joseph Yomba.

Imeldas with Joseph Dopar and Joseph Yomba at the CSHC 2007 Workshop



 Joseph Yomba actively took part in the workshop.

Joseph Yomba at the CSHC 2007 Workshop



This is Ezekiel, one of the researchers.




Thanks very much, Laura, for sending this along to us.

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DWU Students Pose Interesting Questions Concerning Tourism

Posted in Divine Word U. on September 11th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM:  Amanda Watson

We received an email from Amanda containing these questions posed by her students.  The time for replying for their research project is probably already past, but we can take a moment to ponder what our answers might be.

Research Questionnaire 

This is a questionnaire relating to the topic of Negative media publicity on
Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination. We would like you to honestly fill this out as it will greatly benefit us in our assignment. All information will be treated as confidential and only for our assignment.

  1. As an expatriate how would you describe
    Papua New Guinea, honestly?
  2. What can you say about
    Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination?
  3. If you were a visitor or tourist to
    Papua New Guinea, would you want to come back for a visit or not? Why?
  4. What was your reaction to
    Papua New Guinea on your arrival?
  5. Did the media have an impact on your perception of
    Papua New Guinea?
  6. What do you think about the negative media publicity on
    Papua New Guinea as a tourist destination? Give your opinion.
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The Rotary Club of Madang Receives Gifts from Afar (Project Handclasp)

Posted in Madang Happenings, Rotarians on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM:  Val Jerram (via MadDog)

 The Project Handclasp / USS Peleliu banner

The Rotary Club of Madang was recently the recipient of many gifts from far away places.  The gifts were transported to Madang on the USS Peleliu, an American Amphibious Assault Ship.

This from Val Jerram, a member of the Rotary Club of Madang:

A ten day visit in port from the USS Peleliu – ‘Project Handclasp – Peleliu Pacific Partnership 2007’ has caused a flurry of activity in the Madang province.  Two landing craft have come into port everyday as well as numerous helicopter flights to provide goods and services, in town, way out in remote villages and on board ship.

The Rotary storage area was bulging at the seams after taking delivery of over 20 pallets of goods.  This required numerous trucks, fork lifts and a team of strong men to unload and place in the limited storage space available. Rotary members were on hand to provide refreshments to all who worked on the transfer and storage of the goods.

The US Consular Officer, Leslie Livingood and Captain Ed Rhoades of the USS Peleliu, Rotary members and representatives of number of sections of the community who regularly benefit from Rotary distribution of goods and assistance were in attendance at the official hand over ceremony held under the frangipanni trees.

A treadle sewing machine was presented at the ceremony to a representative of the Save the Children in PNG to train some youth in the art of sewing.

The large boxes contained many useful items: tooth brushes, nappies, first aid items, clothes, books, computer paper & envelopes, crayons, and toys.

The Creative Self Help Centre, which is strongly supported by Rotary, are the distribution centre in Madang Province for treated mosquito nets. Thirty-five bales of treated mosquito nets were also added to the supply of goods for distribution.

Over the next few months these goods will be repacked into smaller boxes for distribution.

Here are crew members and contractors with a truck loaded with some of the goods waiting to be transported to the distribution centre.

 Crew members and contractors with truck loaded with gifts

 This photo shows Captain Rhoades, Leslie Livingood, Maureen Hill (Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Madang), and Hal Daniel (President of the Rotary Club of Madang).

Captain Rhoades, Leslie Livingood, Maureen Hill (Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Madang), and Hal Daniel (President of the Rotary Club of Madang)

Here is Maureen Hill and a teacher from the Holy Cross Merio Primary School opening on of the boxes of books donated to the school.

 Maureen Hill and a teacher from the Holy Cross Merio Primary School opening on of the boxes of books

The final result is:  EXCITED CHILDREN!

 Excited children with donated books.

 The ripple effect of the generosity of many caring people in other places far away will continue to into many other Madang communities.

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USS Peleliu Visits Madang

Posted in At Sea, Madang Happenings on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: MadDog

As a relief from choking on the daily news of the hideous, unending war in Iraq, the visit of the USS Peleliu to Madang on a humanitarian mission was like a long, deep breath of fresh highlands air. The giant ship was here for about ten days. According to reports, they did a lot of good work.

Here are some links:
USS Peleliu LINK
Pacific Partnership 2007 LINK
Local News from The National LINK
For pet lovers LINK (got a security certificate warning – didn’t hurt my computer)
Beats getting shot at or having to shoot somebody LINK

The ship is huge. She is the final example of the Tarawa class Amphibious Assault Ship. She carries helicopters, Harrier jets, hovercraft, big landing craft, and great mobs of Marines, if needed.

She cruised off Madang a few miles because our harbor is too small for her. (Probably some security reasons, also.). We got on a big landing craft at the main wharf in Madang, chugged out to sea for about a half-hour, and sneaked up behind her. Here we are sneaking up behind:

Meeting the USS Peleliu at sea

The ship squats down in back to accommodate the comings and goings of the various boats that fit inside. The whole back end fills up with water and floods the lower deck until it is a few feet under the water. It takes about twenty minutes to do this. It is a startling experience to float up behind and be literally swallowed up. Here’s the ship getting ready to gobble us: (I wondered if Jonah was as amazed?)

Being swallowed up by the USS Peleliu

Once inside, it is an astounding maze of beams, pipes, sailors, and what-have-you. It is all so big, it takes a few minutes (while waiting for the boat to ‘unsquat’ so that the landing craft can sit securely on the deck) to get a sense of the scale. Here we are, being mesmerized:

Inside the ‘garage’ of the USS Peleliu

Once off the landing craft, we were herded along through a maze of corridors to our meeting room for some classy refreshments (including the biggest, juiciest black cherries I have ever seen) and a welcome by the Executive officer, Peter J. Sciabarra. Here we are being herded: (That’s Eunice in the white top and Val in the African print.)

Down a passageway inside the USS Peleliu on our way to our ‘briefing”

After our ‘briefing’, we went out on deck just in time to see the arrival of one of their big helicopters (a Sikorsky Sea Stallion, I think.) Here she is coming in for a landing:

Huge helicopter landing on the USS Peleliu

Our last stop was the bridge. I was surprised at how small the area was. It was not much bigger than a generous two-car garage. It was, however, Eunice’s favorite spot. Observe her, gazing raptly at Captain Ed Rhoades, as he graciously, and with good humor, answered any question we might ask. I was mightily impressed by all the crew with which we were privileged to come into contact. I have to say, though, that the Captain seemed to me to be spot-on the kind of guy needed to handle such a gargantuan job. Here’s Eunice paying particular attention to Captain Rhoades:

Captain Ed Rhoades with Eunice Messersmith

I say thanks to the Captain, the crew of the USS Peleliu, and the US Embassy for making it possible for many local people (including some of us very few Americans in Madang) to enjoy this amazing opportunity. This is not to mention all the good work they did in Madang (visit the links above) and many other places on this deployment.

Good fortune to the USS Peleliu and all who sail upon her. My personal wish for you is that you never get shot at by anybody and you never have to fire a shot in anger. That’s my idea of the meaning of the ship’s motto, Pax per potens (“Peace by means of [being] powerful”, if I remember my high-school Latin correctly). At least that’s the concept, given that you’re big-and-bad enough (the USS Peleliu is) and your country has sane leadership. One can only wish . . .

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Stap Isi’s Long Passage

Posted in At Sea, PBT Happenings on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: MadDog

This came from Kyle Harris. He’s my boss’s boss (Acting Director of PBT). Kyle and his wife, Kathy, along with Dory (the ship’s cat), made the gutsy passage accross the Pacific (actually starting out in Moline, Illinois!) to get back home to Madang in a thirty foot boat named Stap Isi (for you non Pidgin speakers, that’s the Melanesian equivalent of the American slang expression, “Stay cool.”)

Here’s a photo of Kyle and Kathy on Stap Isi taken shortly after their arrival safely back home in Madang:

Stap Isi sitting safely at anchor after a long passage

Here’s a quote from their extensive and sometimes scary journal:

  • The Perfect Storm – March 20

Dawn Sunday found us still motoring and making good progress into the wind which had now picked up to about 25 knots. The seas were in the 5-7 feet range and increasing. That is usually not a good thing and we were starting to get a bad feeling about how things were developing. That bad feeling proved justified. A little after noon we could see storm clouds gathering in the west and soon could see a squall line approaching. Kyle watched it carefully and it was obvious after a couple of minutes that it was roaring down on us. We had the main sail up at the time to give the motor a bit of a boost so we decided that it looked like a good time to drop it. We got it down and secured just before the squall line arrived.

Suddenly our world turned inside out. The wind increased to 30 and then 40 knots and then higher yet. There was a weather buoy just south of us and we found out later that it had recorded gusts as high as 56 knots. The seas began to build quickly and by 3 PM we were in 15-20 foot waves. The wind was ripping the tops off the waves and foam and spray were being blown across the water. It was at once the most terrifying and awe inspiring sight we have ever seen. It is not often one gets to experience first hand the incredible power of God’s creation. And it is not something that we ever hope to see again.

There was no question of continuing on course through this. We kept the motor on and simply ran with the storm, trying to keep the stern to the waves. Studies have shown that boats are least likely to be capsized by a wave when they are stern on to the direction the waves are traveling. We were hoping that the studies were correct.

By dusk Kyle had been fighting the storm at the tiller for six hours. The power of the waves were just too much for Kathy to handle. And after six hours Kyle was beginning to wonder how much more he had left. There was no way that he could continue at the helm for another six hours. We began discussing whether to call the coast guard to see if they could give us some advice. If the storm was predicted to continue or get worse, we might need to consider having them come and assist us. Finally after another hour with no sign of the storm letting up Kyle made the decision to make the call. After having gotten no little or no sleep the previous two nights and now with almost 8 hours of fighting the helm, he was done in. He told Kathy to come up and take the helm for just a bit while he made the radio call.

Just at that moment, the wind seemed to die down a bit. We waited to see what would happen. In a few minutes it was clear that the wind was abating. With new hope came new strength and Kyle was able to continue at the helm for another couple hours during which time the wind dropped to 25 and then to 20 knots and the seas began to calm. As soon as things had settled to where the autohelm could handle the tiller, Kyle turned it on, pointed it west to continue running with the seas, and we both collapsed into bed. We kept no watch that night – neither of us really cared if we were run down by a freighter or not.

If you’d like to read more and see some great photos, try: LINK
If you’re interested in finding out about their work in the Lower Ramu area try: LINK

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Paradise, eh?

Posted in PBT Happenings on September 10th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: Ellen Rohrer

Under the heading of Amusing Remarks, I’ll throw in a quote by Ron Lewis, a visitor who came from the USA to attend a celebration of the completion of the book of Mark (that’s part of the Bible) in the Akukem language.

“Just another day in paradise! That’s the tongue-in-cheek motto of the Papua New Guinea Branch of Pioneer Bible Translators. As Larry Metcalf and I were greeted at the Madang airport by the entire branch with smiles and hugs, I thought to myself, “Hmm … maybe it is just another day in paradise.” But a few days later, as I sat on my backpack exhausted, dehydrated and still several hours from our destination, paradise was not the word that came to mind!

Here’s a photo from the celebration:

Dancers at the Akukem Mark celebration

The fellow on the right is Leo Onaragh, a PBT Bible translator

If you’re into it, you can read about the whole shebang in the first-quarter (Spring for the editors from the Northern Hemisphere) issue of The Storyboard. LINK The Storyboard is a quarterly newsletter containing news and editorials concerning the work of Pioneer Bible Translators.

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Fire FIRE!! The Yamaha F-100 Deathtrap

Posted in At Sea on September 7th, 2007 by MadDog
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This FROM: MadDog

One of my dive buddies (Val Jerram) and I were scouting out a dive site for the Faded Glory Dive Crew on Saturday morning (a couple of weeks ago). Just as we had finished discussing the strong smell of fuel (overfilled the tank again), I turned to ask her, “What else can go wrong?” Well, it’s probably always a mistake to ask that question, but I forgot that.

Just then the motor (a ten year old Yamaha 100HP 4-stroke) began sputtering. I shut it off immediately. Looking behind, I saw what appeared to be steam. I said, “Must have picked up a plastic bag.” Val said, “NO! IT’S ON FIRE!” Just then, I also smelled the smoke. I stepped back to lift the hood and saw, to my utter terror, that the whole plastic panel in the front that covers the electronics and spark suppressor area was on fire. Bright orange flames were licking up the panel and black smoke was now billowing up.

Not having a fire extinguisher (bad, bad boy), I grabbed a big funnel, stuck my thumb in the tiny end, and began scooping up ocean water and throwing it on the burning plastic. Yeah, sure . . . salt water is just what you want to throw all over your electronics.

The fire being extinguished, it was time to either try to start the engine or call for a tow. Being predisposed against embarrassing tows back to port, I gave the ignition a try. Amazingly, the engine started, though it ran very rough.

This photo looks into the fire-damaged area.

The area of the fire on the Yamaha F-100

This photo shows two of the many damaged parts. The part on the left (the voltage regulator) is the one that started the fire. The part on the right is the ‘power pack’.

Some of the parts damaged in the Yamaha F-100 fire

As a bonus, fire was sucked into one of the carbies. Now the motor runs okay at idle (after balancing the heck out of the carbies) and okay at high speed, but there’s a 1200 to 2400 RPM ‘three cylinder’ range that ruins your day every time you hear it. Forget trolling! Oh, well, I don’t like to fish anyway. Drift dives are miserable now for the boat driver.

If you have a Yamaha F-100 (other models also??), I’d recommend that you check your battery charge voltage regularly. An unusually high charging voltage seems to be the first indication of trouble. The first time (that’s right, this is the second charred regulator – the first one just did not catch fire) this happened, my first indication of something fishy was when the battery charge voltage went up to about 16-17 volts. When the unit stopped charging altogether and I removed it, I noticed that the plastic potting material on the back was well toasted. This time I figured I would just wait until it gave up the ghost before replacing it (new batteries are cheaper than new regulators here). BAD THINKING! BAD, BAD BOY! This time I got a boat fire for my trouble.

You know that tingly feeling . . . the one that comes right before you could swear your body is turning to stone? That’s what I felt when, as I watched the flames dancing, I noticed I could still smell the strong, sweet perfume of petrol floating on the bilge water two feet below the fire.

Boating fans: How many rules did I bust? (Oh, by the way, other than floatie toys, we had no persnoal flotation devices aboard.)

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