If Christopher was a line in a hymn, he would be ‘pass me not oh gentle savior’

For my beloved brother, Christopher Tataeng, whose modest personality continue to inspire me daily.

by planter’s child adventures

Meet Christopher Tataeng aka CT. He is my big brother, mentor and guardian.

Christopher’s paternal grandfather and my paternal grandfather are brothers. We come from a village at the foothills of Kaiapit in Markham called Gantisap.

Christopher was named after our great grand father called Nabia and he has lived up to the legacy of this name.

He completed his secondary schooling at Kabiufa Adventist Secondary School in Eastern Highlands where his father worked for a coffee livelihood support project.

“Growing up I wanted to become a pilot and soar the skies. Fascinated by Fireman Sam, I wanted to be a fireman too,” Christopher chuckled.

Due to lack of advise from guidance teachers and accessibility challenge, he ended up in the school of social sciences at the University of Papua New Guinea in 2005.

The challenge that he went through on all fronts made made him wanted to share information with others so they too can be informed to make a better choice.

” I wanted to influence the outcome irrespective of one’s socioeconomic status as I believe every human being has the innate God given potential of channel of blessing to receive and give willing fully. And I believe HR strand came at the right time for me to switch.”

Christopher found his calling when he switched courses to study human resource management at the School of Business Administration.

Mentoring and coaching program, interview coaching sessions, career talks, CV write ups, guest lectures were his professional and personal plans of giving back in human capacity development.

In 2010, Christopher graduated with flying colours. I was a first-year journalism student at that time. I hold him in high regard and admiration.

He went on to work for Ok Tedi Mining Limited and made his way up and out to High Arctic Energy Services as a manager before he left for other engagements.

CT is the most inspiring person you could ever meet. I have learnt a lot from listening to his conversations about day to day life to helping underprivilege kids to conducting interviews for CEOs. I marveled at what I hear with much respect.

One of his greatest achievements was a Youth Employment Project in 2016. In this project, CT was involved in creating pathways for marginalized disadvantaged youth from the settlement of Port Moresby into formal sector as part of the World Bank Urban Youth Employment Project.

Why was the above achievement seen as greatest compared to the ones from mining and oil and gas experience?

“It is because I touched (influence the outcome) the lives of the hopeless, disillusioned, discouraged but promising young Papua New Guineans. To see the youth turn around to be somebody full of hope for tomorrow with their eyes beaming with light was truly the greatest achievement.”

In the mining and oil and gas industry, CT’s mission is to touch lives while working. This means building relationships with the locals and looking at ways to impact the lives of youth.

“I’m happy to influence youth development program and sponsor them to convention and school upgrade program. I’m sure, they’ll be a lot of Chris through such approach.”

Today, CT is still making this impact in the formal workplace environment at Lihir.

“To see the results in the heart of youth was memorable and lasting when you know you’ve achieved something.”

Dangki tsira, thank you CT for being a champion of change, an inspiration and role model for many including, myself.

Thank you dad

by planter’s child adventures

Today I’m reminded of the importance of family and living responsibly.

I am indebted to my father whose love and passion for agriculture and farmer extension work continue to inspire me daily.

I am also grateful to all Markham farmers who have made my childhood truly special and memorable.

Dad taught me to embrace education with commitment, discipline, determination and perseverance.

He showed me the difference between planting and burying. Indeed agriculture is an art itself.

And I’m proud that I can speak in Adzera and hold a conversation too.

Dad’s birthright guaranteed my university education for four years. I owe my success to his determination to see us think and live independently with resilience and values of respect for simple people.

He introduced me to the Beatles and here I am another diehard Beatles fan. One who can sing with conviction for a Liverpool affection.

To this end, I send All My Loving to dad.

Dangki tsira ramang.

Mural painting promotes creativity and friendly environment

by planter’s child adventures

In an effort to encourage positivity and raise awareness to the public to take care of the city, AkzoNobel has collaborated with National Capital District Commission and Ray White with Tool Boox to do mural painting in Port Moresby.

About fifty participants including youth from Tool Box completed painting murals of traditionally inspired designs on the property wall of Ray White along the Sir John Guise Drive in Port Moresby.

The aim of Let’s Colour project was to use colour as a platform to express positivity and power of renewal that comes from painting with belief that paint could transform lives through a facelift that could create a friendly environment.

As part of AkzoNobel social responsibility to give back to the community, the mural painting is one of AkzoNobel community projects. 

Tracy Konj, marketing executive from AkzoNobel said paints spread colours, colours convey a beautiful story and the use of mural as a way to express feelings has the potential to impress the eye and inspire the soul.

“It’s an opportunity to educate the public to take care of the city and to discourage graffiti on buildings,’’ Tracy said.

AkzoNobel GM, Ravendren Kanniah said Taubman’s will continue to collaborate with NCD to transform the community we do business in. While engaging the local pool of talented painters and contributing to building a better and colourful community.

Peter Elavara, from Tool Boox said it’s a great initiative to educate, entertain and inspire the youth to embrace this artistic talent and use it to change the perception around graffiti vandalism in the city.

Peter reiterated that since 1989, graffiti vandalism was an issue with the use of aero spray on public buildings.

“We have engaged youth from the settlements to enhance their painting and drawing skills. It’s on the job that we inspire and transform these talents from just scribbling on papers to actually transferring their drawings and designs on mural painting,’’ Peter said.

The painting of the Ela Beach wall mural along the sea wall and the city bus stops is also one of the anti-graffiti collaboration work of AkzoNobel and NCDC aimed to transform and community we do business in.

Students at Markham Valley Secondary School to benefit from taro planting

by planter’s child adventures

The taro journey at Markham Valley Secondary School started few weeks ago with a small taro plot. Encouraged by the growth of the taro, grade nine students in an effort to embrace self-reliance and and put into practice life skills at school, planted 563 taro suckers.

In one of the plots students with the supervision of teachers, planted 323 suckers. Another 240 were also planted in another plot.

Taro is a root vegetable grown primarily for its edible corms and leaves. Preferred scientific name colocasia esculenta.

In Markham, taro is known as umant in the Adzera language.

Enjoy your day with taro.

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.