The email I’ll never forget with tears that never fell

Don’t cry for what you cannot fight for & face life with resilience.

by planter’s child adventures

I remembered so well. It was Thursday, 4 August 2020. The day I became officially unemployed, thanks to COVID-19.

I woke up, poured myself a cup of coffee and switched on the data on my phone to check emails. A nice yellow envelope flew in and I thought it was one of those Liverpool match day update, so I took a much closer interest to read the content.

The subject grabbed my attention. “PNG National Offboarding: Doreen Philip.”

I was anxious, afraid and lonely.

Should I cry? I thought crying at such a news was childish to do.

There was no one to talk to. I didn’t want to bother my father with this kind of news. I wanted to be able to manage the crisis and be responsible enough to take the next right action before telling him about my situation.

I took a deep breath and swallowed the remaining contents in the cup.

I carefully typed the response and punched the sent button the next day. I was officially unemployed.

I didn’t know who to talk to that afternoon. Beth, whom I confided in was in Lae and I didn’t want to disturb her so I decided to take a walk down the street to enjoy buai and catch the afternoon breeze in an attempt to believe the news.

Then I thought of my big brother whose words of encouragement and wisdom over the years have helped me personally and professionally.

” Dzi nafung(my sister), do not waiver in your faith, let’s go for Sabbath on Saturday.”

I happily agreed and joined the kids for service that fateful Saturday at Migagi, 17-Mile, just outside of Port Moresby.

Two days later, I received word to start in a new role.

I thank my brother and his church family for praying for love, peace, guidance and humility. I also thank them for the love and support given.

I believe that a prayer is answered when motive is right.

In my prayer, firstly, I asked God for his guidance and protection over my family at home at this trying times.

” If I took things for granted, Lord, I thank you for the opportunity to realise through this situation and I pray for love, peace, patience and humility.”

I continued: ” Lord you alone knows the plan you have for me, plans to bring prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future I hope for. I confess my sins and I pray that you help me see the good in this situation.”

And I’m happy and thankful that I grew up in a village where God’s Word was widely preached and the Words became light to direct a path.

So spend time to listen, read a lot of good books and watch audios to learn. Effective listening coupled with good company with wise and or ethical people is key to build resilience that help one to control how to react and overcome situations.

I have learned to see good in every situation and I’m not afraid to step out of my comfort zone and action to achieve my goals and inspire other young people to believe in themselves and realise their potential in life.

Stay motivated and blessed.

Namnufan bini. Ongobo dave. Good afternoon.

Farming is not for the poor and elderly, it’s a lucrative career choice for young people

This article was first published in the National newspaper with permission from the author.

BY DOREEN PHILIP

The attitude towards agriculture in PNG especially farming is one that is for the poor and the elderly. If you ask young people, even in rural areas, what they want to do, maybe 85- 90 per cent will tell you they don’t want to be in agriculture. They want to go to cities and do other jobs. It’s important to change the narrative around   agriculture and education because the education and training young people received—either at college or university has been designed to train people how to work for somebody and not themselves.  And this in itself is not integral human development.

 Agriculture is not just hard labour that pays very little but looking at agribusiness value chain, it is an opportunity for young people to engage in business.

Few years back, the Post Courier and the National published a success story of a young boy who helped his parents grew Chinese cabbage and raised freshwater carp to pay for his school fees. Imagine if this boy had maintained and expanded this activity of course he would have raised enough money and created jobs for his peers.

While we can blame the agriculture sector’s underperformance on poor infrastructure and telecommunications, lawlessness, lack of political will and commitment, inadequate development support and research, it’s time  we stop relying on government handouts. As young people we need to network among ourselves to improve awareness and knowledge on food security and sustainability, organic farming and climate smart agriculture at the community level.

Contextualise agripreneurship case studies, think outside the box

Imagine you are a pig farmer, having identified the demand for pork consumption at ceremonies and feasts, you have decided after buying four piglets that you want to breed that stock to meet the demand. There are many challenges but as a young person, think outside of the box, be creative. In order to grow your business use Google to get information on best practice and how to look after pigs. Do your own market research. Open a Facebook account to market your small business. You can also rear traditional chicken and ducks for home consumption too. You will be surprised that one day you will start buying additional pigs from other farmers and start selling them to a retailer. And you are on your way of taking farming to another level in food production.

Lessons from African youth

 I admire the zeal and resilience of young African entrepreneurs. With little formal education after receiving training, support and guidance in choosing an income generating activity they have succeeded as farmers and entrepreneurs. In Zambia, a group of young entrepreneurs have developed a digital platform that uses machine learning to forecast weather conditions and probability of pest invasions or disease outbreaks.

The aim is to take preventative action to mitigate risks and farmers simply take a photo of their crop and send it to company via social media channels or WhatsApp, and the system immediately provides a diagnosis, options for treatment (if needed) and locations of the nearest suitable agro-dealers.Users of this platform range from smallholders to commercial farmers, extension service providers, NGOs, government and environmental institutions. Without the skills to develop, operate and maintain such technologies, African youth cannot make the most of the opportunities offered by agriculture’s digitalization.This type of innovation help to reduce the risks and improve the efficiency of farming–making it a more attractive livelihood option for rural young people.

 In Kenya for example a school drop out with minimal education ventured into farming after attending short courses on how to grow bananas and sweet potatoes. After identifying the niche he expanded the farm and started supplying to town market and restaurants. The journey was not so easy but the farmer succeeded in areas where many have failed in because he had the passion and was determined to do business.

There are key lessons that could be drawn from countries with similar production systems. Young people have the upper hand to harness the transformative potential and economic rewards presented by agriculture’s digitalization. In farms where the average farmer age is 60 plus, half the land is being cultivated due to the age of the farmer and energy to invest in farming. These farmers tend to be slow to innovate or use ICTs for communication.

Accessing land to farm may be a problem as parents are unwilling to hand over land due to inheritance tradition or conflicts with other children. In PNG we don’t hear stories about young people leasing or renting a land from their parents or landowners to use– an approach that works for businesses only.

Young people need to step out of their comfort zones harness technology and innovation in agriculture, use best practice for environment and contribute to a healthy lifestyle. While many youth seek into despair when they are forced to drop out of school being weak in class does not mean you won’t excel in life or become rich in other areas, try your hand in agriculture if you have the passion. There are many opportunities the unemployed youth can utilise and make it big instead of complaining of lack of employment. The problem is lack of ambition and passion, many do not realise this and take advantage to generate income for themselves and create job opportunities for others.

ENDS.

The writer is an agriculture enthusiast.

What is a leucaena tree?

by planter’s child adventures

Today I decided to feature a leucaena tree. Here is a picture of one to help you identify.

A leucaena tree has many purpose. In the village the mature stem is used to build shelters and dry branches make good firewood for cooking.

Leucaena trees are good for soil fertility and are very high nutritive quality for ruminant livestock such as cattle and sheep. You may see leucaena trees growing where cows and sheep graze. They are drought tolerant and are highly productive on suitable soils with seeds that are easy to propagate.

This leucaena tree in the picture above was growing near the lake at Pacific Adventist University just outside of Port Moresby.

If you do visit PAU you will find many of them.

Bon Jovi morning

by planter’s child adventures

Today was great. The sun was up, I woke up to Legend FM’s bright and early tunes and sang along proudly to a Bon Jovi song.

A song called ‘Two Story Town’ from Bon Jovi’s seventh studio Crush album that was released on June 13,2000 by Island Records.

Growing up, I had a childhood fascination for radio broadcasting and every time I listen to the songs on the radio, I see myself taking a walk down Second Avenue on the way to Liberty State Park with a Princeton University lad dressed in denim, t-shirt and leather jacket fit for a music concert.

Euphoria!

I always imagine myself playing the drums and wandering down a street somewhere in New Jersey every time I listen to Bon Jovi.

Don’t ask me why, just listen to Bon Jovi please. Pay attention to the bass lines, keyboard, drums and the American accent too.

If you love music, rock music, as much as I do it’s not impossible to love the lead guitar in any rock song.

My big brother first introduced me to Bon Jovi. He was a diehard Bon Jovi fan. He had CDs, video tapes, scarves and t-shirts all things Bon Jovi. He was a seafarer and having sailed to places like Federated State of Micronesia(FSM), it was easy to purchase items.

Bon Jovi songs have always been great company for me. Songs I can sing along well to, stand on the bed and jump up and down imagine I’m playing the guitar and singing my heart out passionately.

I bought floor mops and imagined they are microphones for my singing session.

I remember back at uni I had the privilege to sing along on stage with my friends. We formed a group and passed the audition and took part in the Battle of the Bands. We sang a rendition of Abba’s Mama Mia and everyone went nuts.

Today it’s Bon Jovi morning with all songs from Crush Album. If you don’t know here are few songs to listen to. I’m singing my heart away.

It’s My Life, Two Story Town, Thank you for Loving Me, Just Older

Bon Jovi is a rock band formed in New Jersey. The band consists of singer Jon Bon Jovi, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, guitarist Phil X and bassist Hugh McDonald. Original bassist Alec John Such quit the band in 1994, and longtime guitarist and co-songwriter Richie Sambora left in 2013.

Have a nice day!

Tribute to late Papa Goromp Nawatz

by planter’s child adventures

Life in Mosbi will never be the same without Papa Goromp.

I met Papa Goromp in 2018 and remained a family member until his passing last year.

Beyond family there was a special reason why I maintained connection with him. He was the one who drove the casket of my late best friend, Isabel, to her resting place in 2016. Papa Goromp was a colleague to Isabel’s dad from the accounting world which Isabel became part of until her passing.

During the time of his death, Papa Goromp was a central member of Yarangs Football Club in Port Moresby. He was the father figure to all of us and his presence was felt weekend in weekend out at the soccer field.

He was always there when transport was needed. He would happily drop off the youth and then find a good spot, sit down and cheer away. He just loves his basket full of buai.

He was always fun to be with because of his laughter and easy going nature. One thing I highly admire was his humility. Man! Imagine a financial controller who was humble enough to listen to everyone of us. He was family oriented indeed.

You could tell him what’s bothering you and he would listen and respond with an answer that made sense.

At the soccer field or at the house, you will hardly hear him talk about his work. Papa Goromp was a mentor and role model.Someone who knew his audience well enough to engage on the same level with great sense of humour, enthusiasm and excitement.

In 2018, my favourite EPL team lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League. I was devastated, I started to banter and Papa Goromp sat me down and said: ”If you are unhappy with something, think about it if there is anything you could do to change it, if there is nothing you couldn’t do then you know where you can invest more energy.”

This was a manly intervention. His wise words provided a direction. I was only reacting to a situation where nothing would change the fact Reds lost.

” Don’t cry for what you can’t fight for”.

Papa Goromp brought qualities to the relationship with all of us. He was close to his nieces and sister, our aunty, which has won my heart.

Thank you Papa for sharing your success with us.Thank you for the words of wisdom and intervention in all our lives at Yarangs FC.

Jeju tangerine

by planter’s child adventures

It’s delicious and juicy. Some may say tangerine is a perfect blend of sweet and tart.

It’s easy to see why Jeju Island’s favourite citrus fruit is famous all over South Korea.

I stumbled across this tangerine grove in Jeju while on a tour on the island in 2017. It was fall and the trees burst with orange fruits.

The tour guide told me the scrumptious fruit plays an important role in Jeju Islands’ culture and economy. He said the volcanic soil coupled with average 15 degrees Celsius provides a prime condition to cultivate this vibrant fruit.

Eating tangerine just like orange and lemon provide an extra boost of Vitamin C in diets. Tangerine also has the health benefit of easing common cough and treating scurvy.

I’ve had the pleasure of eating tangerine and is incredibly cheap across Jeju. I bought myself a box and enjoyed it during my stay.

Now I’m thinking of going home to plant more lemon and orange trees for home consumption and encourage healthy lifestyle.

The friend whose good deeds empowered me to deliver a motivational speech

by planter’s child adventures

  • Take time to honour friends who make your life special and help give you direction to your life
  • A workplace setting is an equal playing field

It was 11:57am and the room at EM Haus was filled with close to thirty people, most of whom were professional women from the oil and gas industry.

I was invited along with two others to give a motivational talk in an effort to inspire and empower fellow women colleagues.

 I was quite nervous, it has been a while since I last presented infornt of a group of people.

What should I do? 

 I poured a glass of water and drank slowly and made my way down to join the group that was forming.

 I didn’t know any of the people in the room except they were colleagues.

Three days before the event, I spoke briefly to Meriang, a new friend I have made on my first day at work. I felt more comfortable talking to her about certain things.

Just before the session opened for introductory remarks, Meriang walked in with a cappuccino and flashed a big smile at me.

She knew I enjoyed cappuccino and this I thought was kind of her to bring. She took a seat at the back in time and listened.

The turn came for me to speak. I stood up, briefly scanned the audience, and warmly greeted them.

 I began my speech…

Today, I am here delighted to remind you all that a workplace setting is an equal playing field.

Let me have a show of hands if you follow a particular code of sport?

A lady raised her hand and said she has been a rugby league fan since Justin Olam debuted for Melbourne Storm.

I asked her the reason behind the support and she attributed to top player performance and try scoring abilities. I thanked her for participating and continued.

In any team sport every player has a responsibility in an equal playing field.

And this means without link play and communication between players the team will not achieve its goals.

Every player has a role to play. I follow English football and the midfielder’s role is to provide the link play between defenders and forwards. It is indeed a huge role.

But in order to complete the link, the midfielder needs the support of the defenders and forwards to execute the target and that is to find the net.

Workplace setting is like an equal playing field. While you are talented and gifted in your own position, you must always respect the person sitting next to you because you cannot do the person’s job. Once you respect the person next to you that person will feel valued and will do their best to find the net which is the goal.

Social media and football is a dangerous cocktail. People like to destroy an errant goal keeper, praise the goal scorer and say nothing to the forward for missed goal attempts. Fans banter and remember the poor goal keeper for goal keeping blunders.

If you get promoted along the way which in recognition for goals you bagged in the field, never disrespect another colleague because success is a collective effort.

I scanned the audience and an expat smiled back to me. This meant what I said made sense.

I gave few examples of scenarios and one of them was the learning from the head coach of France during the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016.

I also emphasized the need to embrace core values of respect, solidarity, team work and integrity and encouraged colleagues to share their experience with others in their civic engagement and church work.

Meriang’s presence empowered me and showed me direction in my talk. I realised how important it was to have a friend who made that session more special.

 I was composed and confident. I engaged with the audience with a great sense of enthusiasm and humour.

I finished my talk on time and some ladies came by and congratulated me for a well presented talk.

An Australian said he made a new friend that day.

Another colleague urged me to pursue academic teaching. “You’ll make a great tutor, she told me.”

I thanked Meriang and in appreciation returned the courtesy with hot chocolate drink at the cafeteria and a hearty breakfast.

Tips to deliver a great motivational speech

  • Understand the need of your audience. It will help you to tailor your message
  • Your passion is your strength. Maximize it to leverage key messaging. Use real life experience and examples to emphasize a point. Engage with your audience for impact. Tone of voice, body language and choice of words all matters.
  • Aim to share something new in story-telling. Keep in mind everyone is keen to learn and no one is interested to pay attention to your EGO
  • Have fun with the audience

Six reasons why I love my father

by planter’s child adventures

Who is your hero? You may have reasons as to why career pathways matter most to you. It could be that you admire your parents, older siblings or family members while growing up or the environment that surrounds you influenced your choice in taking a step to your dream job.

For me personally, my father has had the most influence in my life. He believes in the power of education as a tool for change. His discipline at home instilled resilience and prepared me for adult life. Above all, his fervent passion for agriculture has been the source of inspiration to maximize potential in life.

There are six reasons why I love my father.

Simple planter, a ‘didiman’

He first showed me the difference between planting and burying.

His passion for the guitar

He can play the guitar and scales too…. pentatonic aye? Know your guitar scales and Mark Knopfler and good old Beatles.

He loves dogs

He can pick up a puppy full of scabies and turn him into an adorable dog much loved by everyone. You don’t have to be a ‘didiman’ to love dogs.

He loves boots and denim

Rossi blundstone and denim to the core. Know your choice for the outdoor.

He is a hunter

Growing up in Kaiapit, dad hunted bandicoots and birds in the forest for its meat. He would go to work in the morning visit farmers and teach them to prune their coffee and cocoa trees and then go hunting for bandicoots at night. A skill I fancy.

Teacher and mentor

I didn’t have any problem with writing essays back then. Dad would edit all my writing and advise which words made sense with context of the stories. His senior told me later that dad was a top English student at Bugandi High School, a testament of his love for books. He had a good grasp of written and spoken English.

When it comes to boy/ girl relationship, his words are stern: ” If you go to school just to find a boyfriend, Dorren, you will end up in a kiss of death… There are so many great things to do in life and you can find a gentleman when you become the best version of yourself.”

I’m grateful I grew up with a ‘didiman’.

Beth this one’s for you

by planter’s child adventures

What a great way to start this day. The sun was up before seven and I could see the light through the mango trees.

I pulled my backpack and waited for the pick up bus. It swung by and I got on. I could hear the beat of Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy on full blast.

I thanked the person in front for sticking by Legend FM’s bright and early songs.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh…Jungle life, I’m far away from nowhere On my own like Tarzan Boy

Hide and seek, I play along while rushing ‘cross the forest

Monkey business on a sunny afternoon

The song reminded me of Bethelle. I nodded my head in approval of the music and imagined I was playing the drums on stage… ‘Beth this one’s for you.’

Bethelle is the only friend I meet and the first conversation is music. This may sound boring for others but I tell you it’ a great brain teaser and music trivia for us.

” Have you heard of a US rock band called Pearl Jam?”

Well if you do then those are leading questions I ask about music. We could end up naming all song titles, band members, their special talents, gifts, choice of fashion, haircut, nicknames and the list goes on.

Beth and I became friends in 2015 where we worked at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

She was a year behind me at uni. She majored in literature and English Communication.

What I didn’t know about her that time was her connection with my cousins in Kaiapit.

February 2015 arrived and we travelled to New Zealand for the Foreign Service Training Program. This program was co-funded by the PNG government and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the aim of equipping young graduates with tools and skills for a career in the foreign service.

One summer afternoon after class, I decided to watch cricket on TV at the Comfort hotel located in the heart of Wellington.

I bought two glasses of strong whiskey and enjoyed the commentator’s Kiwi accent on TV.

As always I enjoy watching TV, listening to country and rock music. I enjoy my own company. I can spend two hours listening to music and sing with conviction.

Few minutes into watching Beth walked by. She saw that I was on my own and got carried away watching cricket, a sport I rarely find time to watch.

” Hey, do you take whiskey? Beth asked.

“Yes I do”, I replied and continued watching.

“Let’s raise a toast to good friendship and summer in NZ.”

“I have been to Kaiapit,” Beth told me.

” Which village in particular?” I asked.

” Sauruan,” she replied.

“Then which family are you friends with?” I asked.

“John Moses.”

I stood up and shook her hands.

“John Moses is dad’s brother and he is a well respected tradesman and has made a name for himself in vocational teaching at St Joseph Technical School in Lae and in Markham as well.” I explained to Beth.

The rest was history.

Beth and I had so much fun while in New Zealand. The highlight was a country trip to Wairarapa, known for its winerries,antique, food and historic charm.

The trip was blissful through the countryside past the winding roads and pine forests.

This is where our music knowledge was put to good use. The coach driver was a golden oldie and he decided to play CCR, Smokey and Eagles.

He couldn’t believe his ears. We named all songs and albums that he got so excited and let us sang all the way to the orchard farm in Wairarapa.

On the way back he presented a box of freshly picked pears to us. Freshly picked pears are crunchy and juicier than the ones that end up on the shelves in Port Moresby. They lose their quality and taste.

One month of learning new things, exploring new places and meeting people of different cultures ended, and we returned safely to Port Moresby.

Beth was a friend indeed. I would reach out to her if I had no money or had some problems. She was there for me.

She sympathized with me and helped me through some of those tough times with her care free attitude and cheerful self.

I’m the opposite, I have this no nonsense approach to things and she helped me to understand perspectives on certain issues.

She became a family to me and I’m grateful for those times she reached out to me personally and encouraged me to realised my potential and become the best version of myself.

True friends are those who despite their own struggles would want to see you progress in life and Beth is one.

Am glad meeting Beth was a God-ordained path.

Thank you Beth for your kindness and I wish you the best in your studies.

Dangki chira dzi raing bini. Gubu bini da gubu maisan dzi rut agu.

P.S I am still waiting for my keyboard birthday present so I could play Don Henley’s Boys of Summer.

With love

Gaz

Countryside

by planter’s child adventures

I love the rolling countryside to the core.

If I have to choose between living in the city and the country, obviously I’ll choose the country.

Why? Because I grew up in a place surrounded by cattle and pine trees and it’s hard not to imagine an affiliation with the stunning countryside.

Dad worked as an agriculture extension officer and got a house next to a cattle farm. The house at Umi was right next to a forest of coniferous trees. I would look outside the window and see cows eating grass and tree leaves and hear the sound of winds howling through the needle like coniferous trees.

Sometimes these cows would jump over the fence and roam freely at the back of the house. They would end up eating cassava and kaukau leaves from mum’s garden leaving behind huge footprints and poo in the garden.

When I was six years old, my younger brother and I would join other kids to fly kite in the forest and hunt for wild birds and bandicoot.

I love the taste of birds and bandicoots cooked on open fire.

It’s a special and unique situation to grow up in a countryside.