Partner application to farmer wants a wife

by planter’s child adventures

Care for a laughter? Why not let’s have some fun laughing session.

What is the most romantic, funny and crazy subject you’ve written as a writer?

You wouldn’t believe this, would you? Writing effectively is important in communication but it is also important to write with purpose and clarity.

For me personally, I’ll let you in on a secret and you can laugh all the way to the garden, to the farm and into the countryside where there is fresh air and green grass.

It was a bright sunny day. I was so bored doing routine work that I decided to pen an honest rather funny application in search of a prospective husband. Not just any husband but a country farmer husband.

Someone born and bred on the farm. That’s it.

This could be what people like to say fishing for a farmer through writing. Perhaps it’s also a reflection and adoration of my deep connection with all things country and farming.

Let me take you back to my memorable childhood. When I was seven, my father got us a house on a local government station at Umi in Markham. The house was located near a forest full of pine trees. My small brother, Jerry and I would open the windows and see cows graze on the grass and walk about in the forest.

It was just like looking outside to see flowers bloom in the backyard. I’m saying this because it’s the everyday view.

We would look out and start saying moo moo in an effort to chase them away. Sometimes they would escape into mum’s garden and help themselves to the kaukau and cassava leaves.

It was always a lovely sight to see cows graze on the lush green hill next to Yati, a fast flowing river which is about ten to fifteen minutes walk from the house.

Sometimes mum would go fishing while I helped with baits and food. I had a fear for fast flowing river and I would just sit and wait under the shade trees.

And it’s not impossible to develop a strong connection with the countryside.

So it was on this dull monotonous day that all these country thoughts hit me emotionally. I realised I was single and was genuinely looking for love. I came across ” Farmer Wants A Wife ” and so I happily submitted the application.

This was what I have written. See proof attached. Now you can believe this is fun aye.

I am single and genuinely looking for love. I grew up as a planter’s child and it’s hard not to imagine a life without the love and passion for all things farming.

Farming in this sense is subsistence at a smallholder level. I have learned to grow food crops such as taro, banana, cassava, yam and taro coupled with vegetables like aibika, spring onion, tomatoes, beans including corn.

What I am looking for in a prospective farmer husband is honesty, trust and effective communication. I believe these are essential for a long lasting and fruitful relationship.

I have walked out of failed relationships because those I have befriended were also dating others at the same time and second fiddle is not my cuppa tea. I’m not a love guru, but I believe in taking one chance at one time. I also believe that relationship should not be seen as a back up plan for failures in life. It should be based on genuine motive.

Well here I would like to date Farmer Andrew of New South Wales. What I find interesting is your opinion on fundamentals of good relationship which is one that is build on effective communication, trust and honesty.

And I enjoy the adventurous of country walk, dipping in gushing streams with more humour and jokes.

In five years time, I see myself married with two kids on the farm with a farmer husband.

I believe my tradtional PNG upbringing can compliment your Australian agribusiness lifestyle as a farmer. I can help you write and edit your business files, plant some tropical garden food and teach you to cook marafri in a claypot as a proud Adzera as part of my public diplomacy outreach.

We can go to church and sing along to Bada Iso Ge Mi for a family reunion.

I believe my outlook in life coupled with a background in communications with a passion in agriculture and farming can help you achieve your farming goals for a sustainable, climate-smart lifestyle.

Why not farmer Andrew. Let’s embrace this journey for two persons-one dream and that’s farming.

I send this with all my love.



Carrot plots

by planter’s child adventures

The sun is up, grass is green and students are keen to garden. Head of Agriculture Department at Markham Valley Secondary School, Api Markus is leading students to prepare beds to plant carrots. 

Empty rice bags have been cut open and are laid flat on the prepared beds. Then soil and other organic matter such as grass clippings are spread over the bags. The bags will serve two purposes; first, it will keep the nut grass down, and secondly it will help to trap moisture in the soil.

Carrots are generally grown in cooler climates, so hopefully the bag experiment should help to create a moist soil environment for the carrots.

This is the third attempt to grow carrots. The school first grew carrots in 2019, and the results were an eye-opener for. In 2020 students grew carrots again, with a healthy yield. Encouraged by this yield, they are planting carrots the third time. 

Markham Valley Secondary School continue to teach, inspire and guide students who can return home and lead a self-reliance & sustainable lifestyle.

by planter’s child adventures

These boarding students at Markham Valley Secondary School did a fantastic clean up work on Saturday morning.

In my time we work too but this is becoming more exciting and interesting because there is fun, memories and colours that tell a beautiful story.

As part of community service, clean up is a shared responsibility to keep the school clean to allow for a healthy and happy learning to take place. After students leave school, they are prepared for the reality outside.

Life in a boarding school prepares a student to become self-reliant, independent and smart so that you can take care of your own homes, grow your own food, build your own house and look after your family and those around you with a sense of responsibility.

Many hands make work lighter.
Tending to plants in school is not only for girls.
Gardening can make you appreciate team work.
Let’s capture our journey in pictures.

Passion combined with ambition

This story was first published in 2015 with permission from the author.

by planter’s child adventures

 I have been reading a book about success written by an Indian author, Joginder Singh and what inspired me was the wisdom that you can be successful if you dare to dream, capitalize on your talents with a sense of creativity driven by passion, determination and a positive attitude to grow.

Here is an inspiring story of a military photographer whom I met in New Zealand in 2015. He has been to some of the worlds amazing places including the Antarctica.

Sixty-one year Colin McDiarmid tells me: “photography, done well, takes a great deal of skill and the people that do it well are very good indeed, unfortunately it is an under valued profession and not many people can maintain a practical income from it, if you can then it would have to be the best thing you can do!’’

 In February 2015, I was privileged to be among a group of trainees and officers from respective government departments that underwent a professional development training at the Victoria University of Wellington.

The training was specifically tailored for a career in the PNG Foreign Service.

It was at that time that I met Colin who was working as a photographer for the university.

Colin had gone to Kelburn campus to shoot for the powhiri, a Maori welcome ceremony hosted by the university.

By then the ceremony ended and everyone was walking around admiring the designs in the house and busy taking photographs.

I walked over to Colin introduced myself and politely asked him for a photograph to be taken.

I learnt later that Colin owns a corporate photography business in Wellington and that interestingly he had a vast experience of working as a photographer for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Colin was born in 1960 in Southland, New Zealand where he grew up as a sheep farmer’s son until he flew off to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force at the age of 16.

“I joined the Air Force because it sounded like an exciting thing to do, back then’’ Colin told me.

Becoming a photographer for the military was a dream come true for Colin. He was doing things, which he would have never imagined.

Working for the RNAF he has been photographing parachutes leaving a C130 Hercules at 10,000 feet flying in small, fast and jet aircraft-aerobics from inside the aerobatic aircraft (under crushing “G forces) which he described as doing air to air shots of other aircraft in tight or loose formation.

This may sound risky for others but he said there have been few exciting times throughout.

Colin described working for the army as bouncing around in the back of an Armoured Personnel Carrier (like a tank without a big gun) or truck or helicopter so he could get to an either dusty or snowy Army exercise somewhere in NZ or in a jungle overseas or spending a rather intense time photographing with the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS).

For the navy it was cruising the Mediterranean on board a naval frigate and photographing the ship from the ship’s helicopter around Greek Islands or providing publicity images of the work of the Navy’s hydrographic research vessel, tanker, dive tender or the rigid hull inflatable boats which hang off the sides of the ships.

“I spent three and a half months over the summer period, in Antarctica attached with the US Navy and travelled to places like Somalia and Cambodia with the United Nations, USA and Hawaii, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Athens, Crete, Dubai, Bahrain, Germany, lots of trips to some of the Pacific Islands (alas not PNG) including Australia,’’ he said.

His most frightening experience was flying in an Andover with the back ramp open to take photos of another Andover that was following them.

He was secured to the floor with a long strop when they hit some turbulence.

“I was thrown against the roof of the aircraft then crashed to the floor (near the end of the lowered ramp) my camera followed and hit me in the face. Unable to continue we called off the sortie,’’ he said.

Half of his twenty years service was spent as a publicity photographer, which saw him travelling around the world, a number of times, to photograph military personnel doing their “thing” overseas.

“Eventually I would be found travelling around the Pacific Islands and around the world taking newspaper/magazine images to give the folks back home an idea of what their sons, daughters, friends or relatives were doing in those often trouble lands’’, he said.

During that time this was a fantastic recruiting idea, as people in the serviceman’s hometown would read about what “Johnny Bloggs” had been doing in some exotic overseas destinations.

As a result of such images and caption detail “Johnny Bloggs’s’’ and ’friends could then imagine themselves in that situation and could contact the local recruiters to see if they could join up.

Colin said once out of uniform he was able to dedicate his skill and enthusiasm to own a corporate photography business which he operates today in Wellington. He is involved in planning and creating images for wonderful customers for wedding, corporate clients and shooting videos for websites.

Colin said wedding photography has been a real strength and reckons he must have been doing something right when past customers meet him on the street and introduce their children or friends to him.

If you are creative, keep on doing what you love and the world is yours. Find your passion and create that reality.

Drumhead cabbage

by planter’s child adventures

Drumhead cabbages grown by students at Markham Valley Secondary School as part of their agriculture practical lessons for assessment and for self-reliance.

This cabbage is among the variety of vegetables grown by students at school.

The cabbages are harvested and some are sold for money and others end up in the kitchen mess for student meals.

Growing vegetables like this you can cut down on spending costs.

Why buy when you can grow your own.

Let’s embrace smart agriculture for a sustainable lifestyle.

It’s planting time

by planter’s child adventures

An expatriate friend of mine on LinkedIn said Markham and Ramu Valley kids have the best potential future of any youth in Papua New Guinea nowadays.

Why? Because these kids do know how things should be done on the ground. And also, it’s important to show these kids how it should be done properly.

I continue to share stories and promote agriculture at Markham Valley Secondary School because I believe agriculture is the solution to hunger, poverty and unemployment.

And schools like MVSS are better placed to influence and guide students for positive outcomes.

It is important to teach life skills to students and prepare them for a self- reliance lifestyle. Indeed self-reliance lifestyle is healthy, rewarding and fulfilling.

Yesterday MVSS principal, Mr Billy Kayo shared pictures of new agriculture developments at the school.

This nursery of drumhead (round) cabbages are ready to be transplanted in the agriculture gardens. Considering that the Markham plains are generally hot, and that this vegetable may not do as it would in the colder regions, it is an interesting challenge.

In 2020, the first trial turned a healthy yield. The school has two other plots for self-reliance. In two weeks time, they will harvest the first block for 2021.

And I am keen to share this first harvest too.

While it is fulfilling to see these cabbages grow and mature, students will be assessed on various skills including nursery skills, planting, and crop management skills.

Agriculture is a sustainable lifestyle so let’s change the narrative around agriculture education in PNG and make it a happy and healthy lifestyle for young people.

Patriotism combined with humility

With a career spanning 38 years in the aviation industry, both military and civil, Francis Utah’s journey to become a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer at Air Niugini is an unusual one. Inspired by patriotism, he joined the PNG Defence Force in 1983 and ended up in a challenging yet rewarding job of ensuring aircraft is airborne and safely flying.

  • He became the first Papua New Guinean to attain Aircraft Maintenance Specialist Inspectors Certificate in Non Destructive Testing.
  • First Papua New Guinean to become Quality Control Manager at Air Niugini, a role previously held by expatriates.
  • Has worked for 20 years with PNGDF and 18 years with Air Niugini in both military and civil aviation.
  • He studied Theology to enlighten his personal understanding and relationship with God.

I owe my gratitude to my sister, Lucy and uncle Francis Utah for this remarkable and inspiring story worth spreading.

by planter’s child adventures

Most often very few stories of humility ever make the news. Politicians and sport starts fight for the spotlight and the media gives it to them. I believe people we should emulate are those who don’t need the spotlight.

I first met uncle Francis Utah in 2019 at a family gathering in Port Moresby. He is aunty Gloria’s husband and aunty Gloria is dad’s first cousin from Kaiapit.

What really inspired me at that meeting was Uncle Francis’ humility. He joined Aunty Gloria to welcome my friend, Michigan and me and made sure we had enough food to eat and bring back extras for dinner.

 While making a first impression is imperative to becoming an influential leader, serving people is one of the most powerful way to guide, teach and inspire others. This was when I decided to write his story to inspire and motivate young people to achieve their dream jobs with determination to learn and discipline.

 I later learn that Uncle Francis was more than a well-respected aircraft maintenance engineer, he was a Sunday school teacher, mentor, counsellor and role model to many.

Francis Utah was born in Hinno village, North Solomons Province, on 19 October 1964. He received his initial formal education at Katuku Primary School in 1971 and continued to Rigu High School in 1977 before going to Passam National High School in East Sepik.

In 1983 there was a border incursion by Indonesian soldiers and a subsequent shootout with Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers around the border area in West Sepik. Having studied history as a student at Passam, the atrocities that Indonesian military was committing then was no convincing for him. Overcome by a sense of patriotism, Francis joined PNGDF on December 5, 1983 at the age of nineteen.

The conflict of 1983 was resolved diplomatically and soldiers were given opportunities to take up special fields of interest.  This was after six months of very hard military training at Goldie River outside of Port Moresby.

Francis chose aircraft maintenance engineering and he was sent to Igam for another six months of training and studying Apprentice Bridging Course in preparation for a training with the Royal Australian Air Force.

In 1985, he became the dux of Adult Engine Fitters course at Royal Australian Air Force School of Technical Training in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. He returned to PNG and served in the army.

Having sworn an oath to serve God, Queen and PNG at enlistment, when the Bougainville crises flared up in 1998, Francis served the PNG government with loyalty during the years of conflict.

“I reached the rank of a sergeant and in 2003 I voluntarily retired from the PNGDF when the retrenchment exercise was conducted. I sacrificed 20 years of my life for the people and country that I love,’’ Francis said.

Francis is now a retired member of the PNGDF but his peers still reach out to him from time to time to assist with advice on specific things they require or have little understanding of. “Once a soldier, always a soldier. I will always be a soldier in heart until I exit from this earth,” Francis enthused.

One day in 2003 in his 20 years of working for the army, two senior staff from Air Niugini came looking for him while he was out on lunch. At that time they did not have an aircraft maintenance specialist to perform ultrasonic inspections on their F28-400 aircrafts and Francis was asked to do ultrasonic inspection on number 2 Rotor fan blade of F28-400 aircraft engine.

He obliged and they went to Air Niugini engineering hangar and he performed the inspection. After signing the documents for this inspection, Francis was asked to see the maintenance controller. The maintenance controller came out and told him blankly that today was the start of his employment at Air Niugini.

Francis went back to PNGDF Airport Transport Squadron and as the PNGDF retrenchment exercise was going on, he volunteered for early retrenchment and was officially discharged in 2006. The rest was history, he has been with Air Niugini since 2003.

Francis described a typical day at work as there is never a dull moment or time of relaxing on this job. It is go right from the hangar building till 1700 hours or even extending late into the night.

To become an aircraft engineer was not his dream job. “I did not have one. When I joined the PNGDF, I looked at all the job opportunities available and aircraft engineering seemed to be the most challenging job amongst all the jobs so I chose this field.’’

He continued. ”I have no regrets for taking up this field of trade as it has taken me to places around the world I would have not reached. It’s a challenging job but these challenges are always rewarding when you see the aircraft airborne and safely flying to various destinations within PNG and abroad. The remunerations of a Licensed Aircraft Engineer is very high especially if you have dual ratings.’’

To be an aircraft engineer, as a young person you have to be a rational person, ready to face challenges with a sharp mind always thinking out of the box for worse case scenarios regarding personal safety, aircraft safety and safety of passengers flying on the aircraft and process safety and be able to read and understand instructions.

In 2012, Francis became the first Papua New Guinean to attain Civil Aviation Safety Authority PNG Certificate as an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the field of Non Destructive Testing (AMS2).

The highest achievement of his career happened in 2018 when he received his maintenance specialist license and aircraft maintenance license from CASA PNG and his license as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME).

Francis said the driving force behind his achievements was becoming a born again Christian from a religious driven life of the past.

“I am privileged to have studied theology as it helps me when relating to issues at work when staff come to me for advice or counselling. God also uses me to preach in church as a Sunday school teacher for men and women and preach in the church when the pastor is out of the church.’’

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL (Francis Utah)

1. What are two highlights of your career at Air Niugini?

 I. I became the first Papua New Guinean to attain the Aircraft Maintenance Specialist Inspectors Certificate in NDT. My AMS 2 number is # 2. Thus my AMS 2-02. Now it has gone into hundreds.

II. I am the first national Quality Control Manager in Air Niugini Ltd. Previously it was all expatriates.

2.  What is your biggest achievement?

The highest achievement in my life would be the attainment of my Aircraft Maintenance Specialist Licence and my Aircraft Maintenance Engineers License. I was the only PNGDF Defence Corporation Program (DCP) to have successfully passed all disciplines of the Non Destructive Testing Methods with distinctions.

The highlights of my career is performing Non Destructive Testing for Marshall Islands in March 2021. I was flown in the Falcon aircraft, which was chartered specifically for my travel to Marshall Islands. The crew waited for me two days until I completed the job and they flew me back to Port Moresby. Others would be performing Ultrasonic Inspection at Mt Kare in Enga Province and performing lightning strike inspection on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft in Manila, Philippines.

As an auditor it would be my audit of Singapore International Airport Engineering Company in Singapore and here at Air Niugini would be leading the team [Team Leader] at Air Niugini Engineering for the company to pass the IOSA Audit, BARS Audit and CASAPNG MOC Renewal Audit and other third party audits.

3. Who has made the biggest contribution to your success?

I would say it was God who made things happen. He used my uncle (dad’s younger brother) to pay for my school fees from primary school to Grade 12. My dad passed away when I was in grade 5. The rest was me putting the puzzles together and of course God was in it all.

4.  What’s the best advice you have been given so far?

 Put God in the equations of your life to balance things for you–same like the mathematics lesson (Algebra).

Be honest to yourself and to others– You will go a long way with it.

Have self-respect and respect for others.

Humble yourself – humility and meekness are not weaknesses as people see them. They are the inner strength of any person and are much stronger and powerful than boasters high minded and narrow minded people.

5.  If you could give aspiring soldiers or aircraft maintenance engineers some advice, what would it be?

 You will have to be self-disciplined, have a positive outlook on things in life and lot of self-sacrifice and have a teachable spirit and be a team player to achieve your dream job in life. Nothing is impossible. Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. 

Markham Valley Secondary School embrace agriculture for life skills & livelihood sustenance

Pictures supplied.

by planter’s child adventures

About 1400 students at Markham Valley Secondary School are privileged to have teachers and managers who are keen and determined to invest in agriculture as a life skill to equip students for life after school and to sustain them while at school.

This to me is gold. Why? Because it’s time we all change the narrative around agriculture and education in schools.

Instead of giving false hopes to students and encourage them to migrate to towns and cities for job hunting,let’s educate children to grow their own food to sell for income and create jobs for themselves and for those around them.

This mentality that agriculture is hard work and very little money need to change. Agriculture is a lucrative career choice for hard working young people. Teaching agriculture and agribusiness skills to adolescents will build their skills in farming practices and prepare them to become farmers.

This piggery has the capacity to hold 60 pigs.

Why agriculture at school? Agriculture equips young people with life skills for self-reliance. In agriculture students can develop team work skills and value nutrition.

By learning to grow food you can feed your family and create jobs for others.

It’s interesting to learn that students grow aibika, Pakchoi, cabbages, capsicum, taro and pawpaw as part of their assessment in their school garden plots apart from growing for the mess supply. These gardens are an effective way to improve student knowledge and attitudes to food, gardening best practices and nutrition.

The more variety, the balanced and nutritious.

With 7 hectares of arable land to grow crops, breed pigs, raise chickens and feed cows, students can have enough food to eat and this can help the school cut down on mess cost.

Why agriculture? Investing time and resources in agriculture is a long-term solution to cut down on spending and of course drive home a a culture of self-reliance and healthy lifestyle.

Students planting pawpaw in their school garden.

Why rural people? Because change starts here. So many of the problems of hunger, poverty, youth unemployment and forced migration have deep roots in rural areas. If we all invest in small-scale agriculture and inclusive rural development, we can solve these problems.

Markham Valley Secondary School is a rural government school with a student population of 1200 boarders and 200 day students. The school is located approximately 121 km outside of Lae and a day’s trip into town takes about 2 hours depending on road condition.

Hydrangea, Staglands Wildlife Reserve, New Zealand

by planter’s child adventures

I took pictures of these blooming hydrangeas during a visit to Staglands Wildlife Reserve in the summer of 2015.

Why hydrangea? I first saw one virtually thanks to Cinderella movie made popular by Hillary Duff.

Since then, I’ve made it a habit to take pictures of plants, both flowering and non flowering so I could share later with colleagues and learn their names as a pastime research.

On this note, I wish you all a pleasant day of learning and actively caring for your gardens.