Papua New Guinea Tour 2017
The trip of a lifetime started at 6:30 on a cold Sunday morning at Tullamarine Airport, as 14 students and five staff members took to the skies, on our way to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
On arrival the climate instantly took our breath away as the heat and humidity hit us like a freight train. We were welcomed with leis and open arms by the local workers and students of De La Salle College, Bomana. Instantly the generosity and happiness of locals was illustrated to us as they would help in any way they could to make our time in PNG as enjoyable as possible.
Overall we spent 12 days in Papua New Guinea, working and living alongside the locals that call De La Salle Bomana home. The majority of our time was dedicated to helping renovate the six Year 9 classrooms that were in desperate need of a restoration after close to 80 years of neglect. As a team we completed a wide variety of jobs that the majority of us had never attempted before. Jobs included the digging of holes, replacement of walls, painting of walls, construction of stair cases, removal and concreting of posts, paths and landings as well as the repair of floorboards. The days of work were unbelievably challenging, with the heat and humidity making even the smallest of task seem a great deal more difficult. The help we were lucky enough to have from the students and maintenance team of De La Salle Bomana was incredible, with many of them giving up their holidays to help us make a difference to their community.
After each solid days work we would head down to the local oval and spend hours playing footy or rugby with the local boys. The times playing and socialising with these locals was some of the most rewarding times on the trip and no matter how tired we were at the end of the day’s work, we would all make time to head down and experience the amazing culture PNG has to offer. The hospitality we experienced while staying at the Bomana Brothers residence was unbelievably generous as they opened up their doors, gave up their food and welcomed us into their homes.
Occasionally we would have an afternoon off work and we would pile into the truck and head out to explore Port Moresby. These trips included visits to local craft markets where many locals would sell their handmade creations. Probably the most memorable trip was out to the beginning of the Kokoda trail. The drive to reach Kokoda took us along the dirt roads of the country side while passing many of the remote communities that live in the PNG highlands. We also had the privilege of walking the first 500m of the trail, which was the hardest 500m walk any of us had attempted. However I am happy to say that with the help of our guides we all made it back in one piece.
On arrival back into Australia we had the opportunity as a group to reflect on the amazing experience that we had just been a part of. It was unanimous that we had been on a journey that we would all experience for the rest of our lives and one that we could not recommend enough. I am confident in saying that it was two of the best weeks in my life, and to future boys thinking of applying for the trip or anyone thinking of visiting PNG I cannot recommend it enough. PNG is a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people who are incredibly grateful for your presence within their community.
Joshua Paul, Year 11
*Thank you to Mrs Sue White for the airport photo!