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Old 06-12-2004, 02:28 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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Feature on the Kikori Delta

The sound of cricket fills the air. The sun beats down furiously on the inhabitants and flora and fauna below. I seek refuge under the roof that slopes over the old wing of Delta lodge in Kikori in the Gulf Province and wet my parched throat with a glass of cool water.

Although I have my little transistor radio tuned to the Community Development Initiative FM station, the crickets residing in the natural underbrush that surrounds the lodge overwhelms the music.

The faint but distinct sound of an outboard motor chugging down the Kikori River breaks through the dense sound of the crickets and the radio vying for my attention.

The peacefulness and the setting appeals to my five senses; birds join in the throng of sounds, a chicken crow somewhere in the distance while butterflies flitter gaily in and out of the flowers.
Apart from the voice of mothers calling their children and people chatting, all is quiet.

No telephones ringing and no voices blurring from television screens.
This is the land of time forgotten.

OC team – The Ombudsman Commission officers chill out in the cool of the evening at the Delta Lodge after getting a belting from the hot humid sun. (From L-R: Patrick Niebo, Roslyn Pochelep, Andrew Sea, Esther Haro and Bonner Tito).
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2004, 02:31 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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The Delta Lodge would be one of the only eco friendly lodge set up in Gulf Province. It is surrounded by vegetation unique to the Province. Bamboo shoots stand tall and proud among coconut and sago palms, breadfruit, mango tree and others more. The wind stairs the leaves and branches. I enjoy the coolness of the wind as it caresses my cheeks and breathe in gulps of fresh air; elsewhere nature works magically to drain away stress, tiredness and pain from my aching body.

The five officers from the Ombudsman Commission went on an awareness visit to Gulf Province and the second leg of our visit was to Kikori. We had booked into the Delta Lodge and were surprised to find this haven tucked away and hidden under the canopy of tall trees that canvas the entire lodge. The lodge is owned by the Kikori Delta Limited. The other businesses it runs include Delta store and Delta Fish plant.

Kikori Delta limited is owned by John Sinia and they now look after the postal service as well as Airlines PNG runs.

Granger, one of the locals and our neighbour was the first to meet the team. From his description of the place and the activities that go on there, I was reminded of the phrase the land of milk and honey from the Old Testament.
Granger says with the Oil Pipeline that runs through Kikori to the Southern Highlands Province, the landowners receive two royalty payments; one for timber and the second for oil.

“With that amount of money circulating in the district, store goods are gone within two days or so when royalty payments come in. 20 feet-container of brewery also goes in one day,” said Granger.

The Lodge is hidden away under trees and plants lending a friendly and quiet respite for those who seek solace from the throes of work and everyday commitment.
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:34 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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When all the store goods are all sold out, the three main stores including Delta store then wait for the next shipment of goods which are brought in by Erima Chief or the Agotoi Chief.

Kikori is a district situated in the Kikori Delta. It is a delightful little place, quite removed and different to Kerema which is the main centre in Gulf Province.

From the plane an observer views land separated by rivers that make interesting shapes as they zigzag through the land mass.

Far below markers spaced about 20 metres apart, sprout from the river indicating the oil pipeline lying dormant on the river bed but otherwise transporting oil, a valuable commodity. Our plane touched down on a runway of wire meshing making it a rough and bumpy landing.

A non-governmental organization, Community Development Initiative runs a number of invaluable training and assistance to the locals as well as running a successful radio station known as CDIFM.

This was the other surprise that greeted us on our arrival in Kikori. We tuned our little transistor radios to the stations frequency which is 92.3 and picked up the latest music which we normally hear in Port Moresby as well as a variety of music. Apart from that the station churns out educational programs, talkback shows and news.

The station is on 24 hours a day and the Ombudsman Commission team was delighted to meet Jobby Paiva, a disk jockey and announcer who ensures that the station’s broadcasts flows smoothly.
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Old 06-12-2004, 02:36 PM
***aCe*** ***aCe*** is offline
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The team was impressed to see the level and sophistication of the technology of the station. The frequency range goes as far as Kopi some 30 minutes drive from Kikori and to the Southern Highlands Province. Through CDIFM’s talk back show, we were able to reach a lot of people and educated them on the roles and functions of the Ombudsman Commission.

The five-member team conducted a number of awareness programs with visits to schools, a meeting with Local level government presidents and ward councilors and members of the public.

After the long exhaustive talks, it was a welcome respite to return to the lodge. Selina who is the manageress of the Lodge cooked us wonderful dinner of barramundi, prawns salad and vegetables during our three days stay. For breakfast the aroma of coffee and tea mixed and mingled with fried eggs and toast, bake beans, sausages and cereal.

The cost of breakfast and dinner are inclusive with accommodation cost. The air conditioned rooms in the old wing are K88 per night, while the fan rooms in the new wing is K110 per night.

To get to Delta Store and market, we had to go through the ‘apim sket kona’ or lift your skirt corner. This particular section of the track derived this somewhat hilarious name from the fact that when it is high tide, women and men hitch up their skirt and trousers above their knees to avoid getting their clothes wet.

With our allowance used to supplement local economy by buying crabs, sago, and prawns, it was time to say goodbye to Kikori.
On a chartered airplane, we looked down at the view below and once again marveled at the Kikori Delta and its tributaries and bade it farewell.

Ends///
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