Thank you JY for the inspiration and flair of self-belief

by planter’s child adventures

I first heard of the name John Yamin in the late 90s. I was schooling at the old Ampan Lutheran Primary School in Kaiapit, Markham at that time.

My father worked as a ‘didiman’ and got us a house at Chuya,at the old Kaiapit station.

My childhood home at Chuya.

Chuya was a small government station located about twelve kilometers from the main highway at Mutzing. Staff back then comprised of mostly community health workers, few nurses , a gardener and dad who was the only agriculture extension officer.

It was very easy to know everyone from the surrounding villages of Ragidumpiat, Sauruan, Mamaringan, Bampingyafan and Marangits because you get to meet people on a daily basis. Besides, the villages were only few blocks away from another.

I had a lot of friends from Ragidumpiat, Sauruan and Mamaringan who made my childhood a truly memorable one. They were the children of dad’s relatives in those villages.

Dulcie and Fercy Ziang formed the Mamaringan link. They were the children of ‘ramang’ Andy Ziang at Fafuab.

One morning while walking to school Dulcie told me the story of a diplomat who has been to some of the world’s most amazing places including Russia, France and the United States.

I was inspired listening to all she had said. As a kid growing up I buried my nose into reading books that it wasn’t hard to mentally picture beautiful places in Europe, and Asia.

Inspired by the what Dulcie had told me that afternoon after school, I went home straight to dad and asked him if he had known a diplomat from Mamaringan.

“Da agu nafungam igi,’’ was dad’s reply.

Dad told me: “Doreen he’s your brother. His father is a relative of bubuman and they moved to Sauruan but he’s mother is from Mamaringan and that’s where the family is based.’’

I was amazed dad knew all family connections and history.

One day an old man walked past the house and called out to dad for water. I was busy playing with all my friends and didn’t bother to find out who the person was.

Dad signaled me to hurry up to where the old man was standing. By then they were already chewing betelnut and catching up on some stories.

“Doreen this is the diplomat’s father and we lived before in Mahdang,’’ dad told me with a broad smile.

I was happy to meet the much talked about diplomat’s father.

I shook hands with him and joined my friends for a game under the mango trees.

In 2005, Dulcie and I went to Fafuab,a small village near Mamaringan. It was at that time that I was able to put the name to the face.

I was taken aback by John Yamin’s humility, something I couldn’t imagine from someone of his calibre.

Not everyone in this age and time would like to be humble. Everyone wants to be in the limelight beating their chest of who they are and what they do.

Fast forward in January 2015,I applied for the Foreign Service Graduate Program and my application was successful. I resigned from Post-Courier and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and worked for three years as a Foreign Service Officer.

It was a dream come true to work for DFAIT alongside JY.

Thank you JY for the inspiration.

Remembering FIFA Women’s U-20 soccer in PNG

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A group photo with team France in Port Moresby in 2016.

I still see Clara Mateo’s header in my memory.

Four years have passed, raucous celebration by a group of Wanigela women at the stadiums has ended, the chant yell of “Allez Les Bleues (Go the Blues) ” by expats are  well over but I’m still clinging to the warm memories of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup that was staged in Papua New Guinea in 2016.

 I’m reluctant to let go of the euphoria.

Tuesday 28 November in 2016 marked a memorable evening for the tournament. It was the semi final playoffs at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby.

For those who had enthusiastically followed Japan in their group stage, hope was there. For those who followed France, it was like living on a prayer.

France was seemingly an underdog who has found its footing somewhere and was making a huge comeback.

I took a seat on the reserved official bench and anxiously waited for the kick off. I was living on a prayer ever since Les Bleuettes went up in a draw with Ghana during the Group C campaign.

My anxiety was made even worse by the fact that majority of people whom I have met along the way to the stadium or had eavesdropped to assured me that tonight was going to be victorious for Japan.

Several minutes into pondering and I could hear La Marseillaise, playing on the sound system.

I looked at the players and was all in tears at the sight of them gracefully singing.

I recalled a phone conversation with my friend early in the morning, which came more like a comfort. Indeed Cathy had phoned me with the assurance that she believed in the combination of the Cascarino sisters and Clara Mateo.

Like a prayer answered fate had it happened after the first half. Ever running forward Clara Mateo didn’t waste time shooting from a header to find the net of Japan.

I recalled telling few of the players including, Juliane Gathrat of how brilliant and amazing they were during the match against Germany.

The goal was a result of a brilliant cross from right back Marion Romanelli.

I stood up and made high five to the security officer for France.

What I didn’t realize at that time was the technique in which Mateo had scored.

 As fate would have it, my prayer was answered when midfielder Juliane Gathrat scored the second goal. This put France ahead to 2-1 lead in time for the siren.

“Félicitations!Tu as très bien joué,’’  I congratulated  Juliane with an embrace.

It was a truly spectacular night of football and team solidarity.

Tribute to Girink, a true farmer’s son

A story of hope and kindness.

by planter’s child adventures

I arrive in Port Moresby in February 2010 with no pocket money but a suitcase full of dreams.

Two weeks before travel dad contacted his nephew in Port Moresby and advised him of my flight.

He remained contactable and met me at the airport. Knowing dad too well with his protocols, he gave me a Nokia mobile phone for communication and saw me off.

As soon as the bus pulled up at the registration desk, the lady who was handling new student enrollment told me I would have to wait for another week before registration simply because my tuition fee was paid for by the Morobe Provincial Government and it would take a week and some days for verification and negotiation.

There was a good number of first year students. Those who had families in Port Moresby made phone calls and were picked up. Others had to catch the first bus 9 and 11 to relatives and friends.

I dragged my suitcase to the shady trees and sat down to think of what to do next. The only hope was to inform Girink about the plight of registration.

Few minutes into pondering and the phone rang. Girink had called to check up and I told him about the situation.

The rest was help and support from a big brother.

He would return after work with bags of food, in everything he bought there was always two sets to it. He was always fair in everything he did for me, something I have learnt to appreciate.

If he decided to enjoy few beers he would make sure I watched some of my favourite adventure programs on TV or watch football highlights on his smartphone.

He made sure I had enough food and pocket money for stationeries. He was responsible and was always hard working.

After almost two weeks of waiting the university’s administration gave the greenlight and myself including others registered for the academic year.

The weekend after that, Girink relocated to BNBM Rabaul office.

He taught me so many things in life. To be responsible and to reach out to genuine people who needed help.

One thing that I truly admired was his maturity to embrace life skills and maintain the farmer lifestyle.

Before leaving the village in Kaiapit as a young man he made gardens on the slope of the hills back home and left it for the family to live on banana, taro and aibika which he planted.

He built his own ‘haus boi’ too. I can proudly say this. He left school at grade six but he was a skilled village boy who through perseverance and determination achieved the odds in life.

He is now somebody in what he does.

I followed his progress after Port Moresby and I continue to learn the art of building houses and growing backyard organic food for healthy and sustainable living.

Dangke chira Girink , thank you so much Girink for the hope and kindness. God Bless you.

The essay that got me into uni was one in which I wrote about Beatles impact on music, film,popular culture and John Lennon’s tragic childhood

This is a special tribute to the Beatles and to my father who first introduced me to this iconic pop -rock band from England’s seaport of Liverpool.

by planter’s child adventures

I remembered so well. It was October 2009, the day all grade twelve students across the country sat for the national written expression exam.

This time exam markers decided that students should provide answers by writing a biography or a life story of someone they know of. After going through the instructions with the invigilator, I decided I would write this with all my heart as an appreciation for the books that dad bought me in the decade and good ole Beatles I grew up listening.

Why did I choose John Lennon? From the ‘Fab Four’ John Lennon’s childhood was one that was affected by his parents dramatic relationship and separation. Its hard to choose your parents. And John was traumatized after the tragic death of his mum Julia when he was 17.

In the introduction I outlined briefly John Lennon’s connection to the Beatles and how his tragic childhood shaped his outlook towards life in general and especially in writing songs that became popular in the I960s and how his contribution helped achieved the success for the band in England and around the world.

Further, I also highlighted John Lennon’s influence as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and founding member of the Beatles. One thing that captivated me was how the group expanded and changed the genre of rock and roll music. The Beatles conquered the world and took America by storm in February 1964.

The press adopted the term “Beatlemania” to describe the scenes of adulation that attended the band’s concert performances. Man I could see myself perplexed by John Lennon’s distinct Scouser accent in ” All My Loving, From Me to You, Please Please Me and Love Me Do.”

To his personal life and marriage, I explained how family obligations affected his band time and decision making with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. Let me put it this way. What happens when you are a fully grown man in a boy band?

Of course John Lennon and the Beatles brought fashion. John in a smart pinstripe blazer and all Fab Four embracing the moustache and ankle-length boots.

Towards the end I sympathized with Lennon’s assasination in 1980 in Manhattan, New York and his influence through the Beatles revolutionized world music.

The life story of Beatles frontman was one which taught me to be kind and gentle. A story that reminds me that all we need is love and happiness is the key to life. We don’t need to be successful to be be happy we just need happiness.

And it was through reading that I knew this story. Million thanks to my father, a diehard Beatles fan who first encouraged me to read.

Reading makes you emphatic and humble, it teaches you the hardship experience of others and make you kind and gentle.

John Lennon once said and I quote:

Sincere appreciation

by planter’s child adventures

It’s always heart warming every time I pay a visit to CGO to collect documents or catch up with friends and colleagues to share personal experiences and encourage each other to pursue the extraordinary.

I am truly grateful for all those who have helped me during my time as a Foreign Service Officer at DFAT.

Below is a heart warming email that I wrote to all my colleagues and friends on the day of resignation in 2018.

Dear friends and colleagues,

I will understand, if you are fuming at the slight appearance of my name in your mailbox in such a very busy time of the year like this.

This time, I’m not here to talk about politics, let’s leave that to the respected politicians. I’m personally obliged by way of appreciation, would like to sincerely thank each of you for being such a great friend and colleague to me during the course of my journey as a Foreign Service Officer.

Each of you has reached out to help me personally and professionally and I’m very appreciative of that. Seems a shame; I will surely miss the great friendship and comradeship here.

I’ve been through a ‘never the twain can meet’ kind of situation especially coming   from a typical mainstream background with budding passion to write under deadlines, to experience the outdoor and learn to appreciate the day to day struggles of ordinary people and see their grass roots and where possible try to educate and inform them with new ideas, knowledge and information to improve their lives in their respective communities.

I wouldn’t be able to achieve certain things had it not for the great support shown from each of you. I am grateful for the warm friendship and teamwork.

I will finish duties as a FSO on Friday, this has come after a considerable thought, and I’ve decided to go for my own good. Time is running out, I need to go back to Kaiapit, Markham where I grew up as a kid and build a house for my father and teach the village people about basic animal and plant husbandary practices for sustainable living. Halivim na sapotim wok didiman long ples!

I am truly honoured to have met and have cross paths with each of you. In journalism, each of you has automatically become my contacts. These are people I will communicate at times with for news story ideas or to confirm specific information or provide expertise advice on a subject matter.

I wish each of you success in the years to come. I also wish each of you Peace and Prosperity.

If you need someone to write your story and make you famous overnight just like a celebrity, never forget your wantok from Morobe. Always keep the communication lines open. Asa Sumba!

 In Anutu We Trust and Prosper.

Dangki chira


Happy New Year

by planter’s child adventures

Happy New Year friends and colleagues! Wherever you are in this part of the world greetings from Papua New Guinea.

I started work yesterday and am excited to see what’s happening in the coming weeks and work towards a positive future.

I have decided that this year I will share more food and clothes with the disadvantaged and broken hearted in the neighborhood that I live in. For my younger siblings, I will help my father to put them to school and mentor them to value their education and learn important life skills and the art of respecting and appreciating simple things in life. Thank you and please go a long way in gratitude and loyalty.

In whatever you do, whether it’s passion or for profit think of the impact you can add to a sustainable future. It’s important to recognize the value of your work.

For me I have made a list to diversify activities for this year but the common denominator is to grow my own food so I can share with others and also volunteer some hours to teaching in rural areas. I am looking forward to coaching students and having some fun playing volleyball and soccer with school kids and washing in the rivers eating roasted bananas and corns on open fire in Kaiapit.

I wish you all a sustainable year through hard work and perseverance.

You Will Never Walk Alone if you walk with God.

Working as a TLO at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: Once in a lifetime experience courtesy of PNGDFAT

by planter’s child adventures

If you ask me what was the most memorable moment of my time working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade? I will honestly tell you the most memorable moment at DFAT was the time I was seconded as a Team Liaison Officer(TLO) during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Port Moresby in 2016.

It was a privilege! One that time and money will not buy. Just don’t ask me why. Blame it on my long distance Liverpool love.

Before I share an insight to help you learn here is a brief on the role of a TLO.
Crucial role in all FIFA World Cups.
• FIFA/LOC primary day-to-day operational link to the teams.
• Core function -> To ensure the teams can focus as much as
possible on their performances
• Serves as an information officer, protocol officer, organizational
navigator, tour guide, hotel manager, transport manager,
translator, etc.
• The TLOs are focused on developing and nurturing productive
relationships with all of participating teams

The tournament officially kicked off on 13 November and ended on 3 December 2016. Korea DPR became the world champions after winning France 3-1 in the grand final. A total of sixteen (16) countries from six continental confederations participated. The continental confederations were:

UEFA- The Union of European Football Associations. Participating teams were France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

CONCACAF- The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association football. Participating teams were USA, Canada and Mexico.

CONMEBOL-The South American Football Confederation. Participating teams were Brazil and Venezuela.

CAF- Confederation of African Football.Participating teams were Ghana and Nigeria.

AFC-Asian Football Confederation. Participating teams were Japan, Korea Republic and Korea DPR.

OFC- Oceania Football Confederation. Participating teams were New Zealand and host country, Papua New Guinea.


 Teams started arriving as early as Thursday 3 November 2016. Team France arrived at 1:50pm on Wednesday 9 November on flight PX 004 via Brisbane.The team consisted of 34 persons. Twenty-one of which were players and thirteen were officials. The officials include the team administrator, doctor, physiotherapist, security officer, kit manager, assistant coaches and the head coach. The team was led by Head of Delegation, Monsieur Jean-Yves Fustec.

 I was at the airport together with ground staff of National Airports Cooperation (NAC), two police personnel and a representative from Local Organizing Committee(LOC) to receive the team.  We assisted in making sure all persons go through the usual Customs and Immigration checks before exit. All passenger luggage and team equipment   were then transferred on to vans for Grand Papua hotel. All players and team officials were transported to the hotel using the big NCDC bus which was allocated to the team for the duration of the tournament. 


Constant coordination was maintained with the FIFA Accommodation Officer (FAO) with regard to accommodation, dietary needs and travel/schedule plans. I had to relay the team’s daily schedule to the FAO so that information is relayed to the hotel management. After the group stage, the team moved to Holiday Inn  and finally to the Stanley Hotel.


  • The significance of TAM was to ensure that teams comply with FIFA regulations. For instance, all passports and copies of birth certificates were listed in order for identity check. Accreditation for all players and officials were handed out. Team kits were laid out properly for inspection. This was basically to avoid branding clash as far as FIFA Marketing regulation is concerned. Samples of the training kit, bibs, goalkeeper gloves and outfit of officials were also provided. FIFA officials do a visual check just to confirm that all colours match the colours received by FIFA.
  • During the technical session of the meeting information on the laws of the game was covered. The General Coordinator covered disciplinary procedures with emphasis on fair play. This meant saying no to racism and all forms of harassment and reporting to FIFA immediately.
  • Agendas such as training, facilities and official training schedules were also highlighted. Players were reminded on the importance of wearing accreditation during trainings for identification purpose.  Other important updates on referring matters with video, doping control and other administration matters were also explained for the benefit of everyone.
  • My role was to pass on all communications from LOC and FIFA to the team immediately. For instance, request for transportation and training equipment or any changes made. I had to ensure that   police escort, team bus and other support vans arrive on time. Training locations and timings had to be given to police personnel to ensure things run smoothly as far as security of the team was concerned.
  • I had to make appointment with Pacific International Hospital for medical queries.


This is a kind of meeting held with FIFA officials a day prior to the match.  It is compulsory for every Team Liaison Officer, Team Manager, Doctor, Kit Manager and Head of Delegation to attend. During the meeting, the following agendas were covered.

  1. Departure from hotel                10.  Post-Match Handshake for peace
  2. Match Colours check               11. Refereeing matters
  3. Start list                                         12.  Medical matters & doping control
  4. Official countdown                  13.  Media matters
  5. Pitch information                      14.  Marketing matters
  6. Warm-up procedures                15.  Safety and security matters
  7. Team benches                          16.  Disciplinary matters
  8. Pre-Match ceremony                17.  Tickets and SADs
  9. Entering pitch after-half time     18.   Check national flags and anthems

 I had to ensure that the request of the team was accommodated by FIFA and LOC. These include confirmation on what should be put in the dressing room on match day. For instance ice requirements for cooling breaks, number and kind of fruits, bottles of water (whether chilled) or placed outside as well as assorted drinks. Apart from that, making sure seats at the stadium were reserved for technical staff of the team.

Importantly, ensuring that the team complies with what has been agreed during the MCM. For example, departure time for all vans and team bus to stadium for the match. I had to notify the FIFA General Coordinator, her assistant and venue manager on the team’s movement. Also remind the players to wear their accreditation. Furthermore, kindly ask them to cover the branding of their headphones while accessing the field of play or put them in the bag as soon as they leave the bus. This was a FIFA marketing regulation on match days and the team has to comply with.


Ensured that French Embassy and staff including, His Excellency, Ambassador Pascal Maubert has access to the match. This was made possible through VIP tickets and car passes.

-Coordination of transport from match venue to reception area as after match celebration for Team France.

– Assisted in arranging Team France visit to Nature Park on Friday 18 November 2016.

-Liaise with PNG Sport Fishing to arrange Team France boat excursion to Fisherman Island on Wednesday 30 November 2016.

-Liaise with Sports Minister’s Office for the community visit to Koki-Wanigela on Thursday 1 December 2016. NCD Governor, Powes Parkop warmly welcomed the team. Koki-Wanigela was a major supporter (fan group) for Team France during all their matches. The team has expressed great appreciation for the warm admiration towards all the players and souvenirs presented to them during the visit.

All scheduled programs for team France went well despite challenges. Challenges were mainly to do with security, access to facilities at stadiums and training sites and the services provided by hotels. Firstly, tasked police escort vehicle had to step in to assist another team that has a scheduled training going on at the same time. It was quite difficult to convince teams to wait.  For some, this could not go down well with them. Although, the situation improved after the elimination rounds the first week of the tournament was an important time for all teams.

Secondly, facilities at some stadiums or training sites affected schedules of teams. For example, non-functioning of lights meant cancellation or re-scheduling activities for the teams. FIFA and LOC had to either re-schedule training to other venues which could accommodate the request or advise the team to leave the site before dark.

There were challenges but the tournament ended well.


The team manager was the only person who spoke fluent English. As such important messages had to be conveyed to the team manager who then advised the officials. I was very careful not to act as a spokesperson but to respect the existing protocol.


All participating teams had their own language for communication. German, Portuguese, Mexican, Swedish, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and other languages. Liaison role was much easier and fun if one could speak the language.

The tournament ended well despite challenges. It was a privilege to have learnt what goes on behind any FIFA World Cup tournament courtesy of PNGDFAT.

I hope you have learnt something new. If you do please let me know.

Merry Christmas and Prosperous 2021.

You Will Never Walk Alone.


The sweet little boy who grew up playing football at the foothills of Kaiapit

by planter’s child adventures

Myself, Roy, Farland and Vincent at the airport arrivals at Jackson’s.

I was all in tears. It was a dream come true to see Farland at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby.

Farland was my big sister’s son from Ragidumpiat, a village situated at the foothills of the old Kaiapit station, approximately twelve kilometers from the main highway at Mutzing.

Farland and I grew up in the village where he started playing football at a very young age. There was something special about him. He was very talented and passionate towards the sport. We would team up every afternoon straight after school and play till dusk. At that time I was schooling at the old Ampan Lutheran Primary School.

Like every other kids growing up in the village, Farland was always confronted with the challenges of being around bigger boys and particularly for a sporting code that was widely followed in the district. There were times when he fell victim to bullying in the hands of older boys because he was very skinny as a little boy.

They would yell at him simply because they couldn’t tackle him when he gets the ball or perhaps he was just too good that the only thing was to do a foul so he could injure himself and simply cry.

He was always calm and relaxed when playing, something I admire of footballers. He was a smart kid among his peers in the field. His ball control and passes were just amazing. His skilled football convinced me that one day he would excel.

I never stopped dreaming of seeing him play football. Every time I go home for holidays, I would ask for his whereabouts and whether he was still playing the sport which he grew up playing as a child. I have always had this dream of watching him play at the stadium in Port Moresby one day. This was a dream that I kept for more than two decades.

Whenever I go to watch a game, I would tell my close friends that I had a nephew who was very talented. Like fate had it happened! My prayer was answered. Farland was selected to be part of the train on squad for Markham Football Club.

I couldn’t contain the excitement that I had to call dad and tell him of the great news. “Yes Doreen, your sister’s son is in the camp training. Are you happy now? Dad told me over the phone.

July of 2017 finally brought Farland to Port Moresby. I had to excuse myself from duties to go to the airport with my friend Cathy to receive him Roy and Vincent at the airport. It was their first time to Mosbi.

It was a very emotional moment for me. I recalled the great childhood days of growing up in Kaiapit and the fond memories of watching games every weekend in Ragidumpiat and Sauruan.The siren came on and I could hear the team song ‘Sagat Ifan’ being played on the loudspeaker.

I stood up and saw the boys walking out the tunnel on to the pitch. Farland was in jersey number six. He was playing in the midfield. “Go Falcon, go son.” Falcon was Farland’s nickname. Only those who grew up in the neighborhood often call him by that name. He looked up smiled at me and ran off.

Have you ever seen a goat?

by planter’s child adventures

I suppose even goats do have their charm. If you haven’t seen a goat before here is a picture of a pack of goats that I met at Sogeri. Goats are becoming increasingly popular as farm animal or as a backyard pet. They are raised for their meat, milk and fur.

Goats can thrive in challenging terrain. They are strong and nimble and can carry things around. They are adaptable to their surroundings. They may live on grassy fields as well as on high snowy mountains.

They like to eat plants including weeds and grass so make sure poisonous plants are away from their pasture.

Keeping them healthy means brushing their fur daily to remove mud and dirt. Also make sure to inspect their hooves and trim them to maintain that length. Replace their soiled bedding with hay every day and get them out for exercise. It is important to keep goats in a fenced pasture with access to clean water every day.

Goats milk is used more than cow’s milk. Goats milk can be made into soft cheese, ice cream, butter and yoghurt.

Find your passion

by planter’s child adventures

It’s four more days to go before Christmas and before you know it 2020 will be up and the new year begins.

It would be an understament to say this year was challenging because every person’s life was changed one way or another.

This is a good time to evaluate your life and set new goals to achieve in the new year. Also it’s important to evaluate what you need to do to start the new year successfully.

Ask yourself these questions?

1.When you were a child, what did you dream of doing when growing up?

2. What was your favourite thing to do while growing up?

3. What do you like doing so much that you lose track of time?

4. Who are you jealous of?

5. What topics turn you on?

6. What is the most important moment in your life?

7.If you could change the world, what would you do?

8. What has been the most difficult problem you’ve encountered in your life?

Ask yourself these hard questions and the answers can help you determine what you want to achieve in the new year with your family, friends, health, finance and career.

Take a note book and make a list of six things you want to achieve in the new year and write it down as goals. Take time off routine work and find a quiet time, it can be a walk in your flower gardens or with your pet dog take this time to picture yourself in five years time. See yourself being successful in what you are doing and that’s the most powerful way to visualise your future.

Everything starts and end in the mind. Having a clear picture of where you want to go is very important.

Once you discover your passion it can help you develop ways to grow that passion that can help you with your purpose in life. Passion and purpose go hand- in- hand.

After discovering who you really are stay motivated always and start working now on your path to greatness.

Try out new things such as adventures and step out of your comfort zones face your fear and achieve your goals.

Merry Christmas!