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The Journey to Paradise Photos of great cultural and natural beauties of Papua New Guinea

 
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:17 AM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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Helping the village men fish

IF YOU are flying into Port Moresby, you will notice a big body of inland water just minutes before you touch down at the Jackson's International Airport.

This body of water - actually a swamp - is known to old timers here as Gavagabada Gaeare. Now it is commonly known as Waigani swamp. It stretches from the bush land of Borehoho village in Gerehu Stage 6, a depressed area north of Port Moresby, up to 8 Mile, an area lying in the north-east of the city and the gateway to the east towards Central province.

The new Borehoho village, Stage 7, Gerehu ( houses build by Couples For Christ - CFC PNG for the poor in the area).
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:28 AM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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Nobody whom I talked with knew how wide this swamp is. But it is home to some edible fish species like tilapia (or talapia as it is called here in Papua New Guinea), a yellow fish locally known as Michael, another flat fish, eel, and another variety which is long, white and with big eyes. It is also home to a certain type of crocodile.

But certainly, this swamp is massive in its area and it belongs to a clan of 50 families headed by 53-year-old Dikana Gomara. Likewise, Dikana's clan owns that big track of land that is now the Gerehu Stage 6, from which a big portion was seized by the government long time ago for urban development that is known today as the suburb of Gerehu.

When Dikana was in his teens in the early 60s when PNG was still a colony of Australia, his father - Gomara Udia - used to bring him around the swamp on a hunting expedition that lasted for three days.

Dikana Gomara - the first in the family of 10 poses for a picture at his home in Borehoho while at the background his house - the first of the te houses completed under the Gawad Kalinga project is build by the members of CFC Family Ministry in PNG.
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:43 AM
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"My father was a great hunter he had killed lots of crocodiles with his shotgun along with deer, cuscus, wild boars and other wild animals," Dikana said.

"He told me all the land around here, including the swamp, belonged to our family."

His father Gomara Udia inherited the customary land from his father, who in turn got it from his father, who got it from his father. It's a chain of land ownerships stretching as far back the mid 1800s that was never disputed by any government that ruled PNG over the last 50 years although the clan never held even a shred of document to support such claim.

Dikana said his father who neither smoke nor drunk was a very tough and strong man that climbing the valleys and hills around his land chasing his favorite game was piece of cake. His father was about 100 when died in 1986. That time Dikana was 34.

Borehoho village is made up of land with good garden soil..
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:46 AM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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UP TO THESE days, the Gavagabada Gaeare swamp continues to provide food and source of income for many people who lived around it. Many of those who regularly fished in the swamp were migrants to Gerehu from provinces around the country. They came for jobs in the city of Port Moresby only to end up at Gerehu to fish in the swamp.

At Dikana's ancestral village of Borehoho in Gerehu Stage 6, some men continued to make a living from fishing with their nets. However, the quality of catch has become erratic. There were days when they were lucky to haul in much fish of marketable size. In most days, however, the catch was few and small - up to three bundles of 12 small pieces, just enough for the family needs. A bundle of this size usually sold for one kina (K1 = 17.50 pesos), the local currency. Good catch was sold at a public market in Gerehu for K5 a bundle and the money earned was used to buy a pack or two of Trukai or Roots - two brands of cheap rice, a liter of kerosene, salt, sugar, cooking oil, a can or two of Diana tuna - a cheap and popular brand - or sardine, a bar of soap or a box of detergent power and a few more items.


Houses build at Borehoho....
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:52 AM
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In the absence of rice, which was very often, the families ate root crops like boiled kaukau (sweet potato), tapioks (cassava), yam (gabi roots) and a number of green bananas which the clan families raise in their nearby food gardens (vegetable farms). These root crops are the families' main source of carbohydrate while the swamp fish occasionally provide them with the needed protein.

I went to the swamp a number of times and saw how the fishing activity went. By the look of it, the swamp was being over-fished by now as shown by the size of the tilapia caught. The biggest catch was about four inches in length - from the base of the tail to the tip of the mouth.

Obviously, there's not much to get from it save for the fish bones. But anyway, they have no choice because this supplements the food on the table.

Dikana, however said, the swamp still has big ones in its water. It's only that they have to find the fish among the wildly-growing weeds under the water and under the leaves of water lily.

He himself has gone fishing in the swamp a number of times while waiting to harvest his food garden so his family of four, including a 15-year-old single mother daughter, could have some protein in their meal.

DIKANA'S VILLAGE is right now being developed into a Gawad Kalinga Village - one of the first overseas housing projects for the poor being worked out in Port Moresby by the Philippine-based GK movement. So far, GK has built the first 10 colorfully-painted houses out of the 50 that the movement is trying hard to put up on a land generously donated by Dikana's clan.

Dikana's family is one of the first ten who got their own houses after living in a shanty of discarded fly-boards and rusty roofing sheets for nearly 53 years.

Since livelihood generation is one of the projects under the GK program at Gerehu Stage 6 village now known as Gerehu-Gawad Kalinga Village, I have proposed to the GK leadership the setting up of fish cage-net project in Gavagabada Gaeare swamp. The fishnet project is similar to the ones that could be seen at the Laguna de Bay, a massive lake within Metro Manila in the Philippines.

GK village children....
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Old 21-09-2005, 10:55 AM
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In my proposal, the swamp area close to GK Village will be parceled out to families interested in farming tilapia. Each cage-net will be stocked with the fast-growing tilapia fingerling variety and the fish culture will be supervised by an inland fish farming technician from the National Fish Authority (NFA), a key agency in the PNG government.

Since tilapia takes at least four to five months to reach marketable size, those who wanted to fish could do so in other spots of the swamp, thus avoiding from disturbing the fish under culture.

I BROUGHT this idea to a former schoolmate of mine in the 70s at the University of the East - Manila in the College of Business Administration, who is right now very much involved in the development of the fishing industry in PNG as well as in its sustainable commercial exploitation.

Learning about this, Pete C Celso, the executive vice-president and managing director of RD Tuna Canners, Ltd, a Filipino-owned cannery in Madang north of PNG, immediately took interest in the project.

RD Tuna is fully-owned and managed by the Philippine-based (General Santos City in Mindanao) RD Group composed of about 30 companies. In PNG, it makes "Diana" and "Dolly", two top-selling brands in the local market and exports extensively to Europe and the US.

In an email to me a few days ago, Pete said:

"The cage culture farming can work as well. We are doing this in Mindanao on a large scale basis. But as we all know, this can also work on a small scale model."

Pete said he can help the Gerehu-GK project take off, with assistance from the National Fisheries Authority. This he can do because recently, he was appointed as NFA director by the cabinet of Prime Minister Michael Somare for a term of three years.

"I can certainly sponsor an assistance program for the GK community, particularly the cage-net fish project," Pete said.

The RD Tuna executive is after the sustainability of the Gavagabada Gaeare swamp as a source of fish for the GK community and the rest of Papua New Guineans who are largely dependent on it for food.

He said the best way to immediately restock the lagoon is to seed the area with a lot of tilapia fingerlings.

"We have done this in the lagoon in Vidar by getting fingerlings from the NFA the stock has since multiplied, hence enabling us and the Vidar community to fish a lot of tilapia," he said.

Vidar is a village within a huge property that RD Tuna has acquired from the government years ago just outside the town of Madang where the cannery operates.

Pete said he will discuss the GK fish project with the NFA in their coming board meetings. He would like to get it going as soon as possible.

DIKANA was happy to hear the good news and doesn't mind if people other than those from his clan fish in their swamp. He has high hopes the project will work although he said those "lazy people" from outside the GK Village would poach their cage-net fish once it is ready for harvest.

But they will deal with it later, Dikana said. What is important is that something workable is coming their way and that alone is one reason for his people to thank Gawad Kalinga and Pete Celso.

And the crocodiles in the swamp? Dikana said the "pukpuks" hate people activity, so they will stay away from the shore and leave the tilapia men alone to tend to their cage-nets without any worry.

Dikana's home at Borehoho....underwent an amazing transformation....FROM Slums to a total glam.
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Last edited by ***aCe***; 21-09-2005 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 26-09-2005, 04:43 PM
Korepi Korepi is offline
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Thanks so much CFC, you truely have the hearts for these people.... Please keep up the good work....

Jonas - Boundary Road, LAE
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