PNG Building Project
De La Salle’s annual PNG trip saw a very fortunate 14 Year 11 boys accompany Mr Tim Hogan and his team of Mr Walker and Mr Clements, to be given the opportunity of a lifetime.
When we landed at Port Moresby we made our way out of the airport to be greeted as rock stars by a line-up of PNG locals and affiliates, with Mr Hogan seemingly being the most popular person in the country. Everyone immediately started sweating with the dramatic heat change from a cold Melbourne to PNG.
On arrival at the De La Salle Brother’s house we were openly accepted, and with the support of the Brothers we easily settled in.
The first morning saw us attend assembly at De La Salle Bomana, which is short walk from the Brother’s house. After assembly we got into our tradie gear and began work. The building project required us to divide a building into two classrooms — adding two offices and a bathroom — making this the biggest job Mr Hogan and his team has taken on in PNG. It was hard work and challenging at times, especially in the heat, and on a couple of nights we ended up swimming in the river.
A particularly memorable day was when we went to the local water park and a beach with a group of the PNG boys. How much fun… well except for the water slide not working for the first hour, then getting lost trying to find the beach, and for being in a hot steamy bus for three hours! I suppose it is all part of travelling, but we still had a ball as we rode the slides, had a sausage sizzle, played soccer and cricket on the beach and had an unforgettable sing along on the bus trip home.
PNG was truly an experience that none of the boys will ever forget. The lessons learned and the people we met are unforgettable. I encourage students coming through Year 11 to consider applying for this trip because you’ll have the time of your life.
Our PNG adventure started at 4:00am, on a bitter cold Melbourne morning. Once landing in Papua New Guinea and walking out of the plane all of us realised that we are finally here! After all the hype, the countless meetings, all the permission slips and three big needles later.
Our first impression of Port Moresby was the mass poverty and pollution, your nostrils are overwhelmed with the smell of burning rubbish, the masses of slums never before seen by our eyes; families living in a tin sheds.
Hogan’s Heroes where shown the upstairs dormitory which would become our focus, our obsession, our lives for the next two weeks.
All the troops were keen to get stuck into the job of dividing the dormitory into two class rooms, two staff offices and a toilet. The days were long but enjoyable with good company and a good work ethic. After a hard day of working we were rewarded by being able to go for a swim in the local river.
We were fortunate to be in PNG when they were celebrating their 41st anniversary of their independence and we marched in the parade with 20 other schools.
With one day left of the trip the finish line was in sight, the project was that close to being finished and the only thing to do was paint and a couple more walls to sheet… unfortunately we ran out of time.
Later the school threw a party in our honour for their appreciation of work; this was overwhelming due to them having so little and yet do this act of generosity. It was sad to leave struggling to keep our emotions together when we started to reflect on what we have done.
There was truly blood, sweet and even a few tears put in to the project.
Jonathan Green and Charlie Atkin