Go Pinis

Go Pinis

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Peace in Bougainville

Hi there. You might recall that I have been conducting some public forums on restoration and development in Bougainville. While discussing the forums with Niki Hannan, a fellow VSA volunteer, the idea of including the opinions of Bougainville's students came up. Niki works at a distance education school in Buka and asked her students to write a short essay on peace in Bougainville. I would like to share the following response from Belinda (22).

"In this essay I am going to write about Peace in Bougainville. The first paragraph will look at the issues around Peace in Bougainville. The second paragraph will look at what is going well in terms of Peace. The third paragraph will look at what is not going well and finally the conclusion.

The problems in Bougainville are violence against women and children, abuse of alcohol, drug taking, land disputes, road blocks, guns and further to this crime and many more.

On the other hand people are starting to fed up of all this problems and are working hard to reach peace on the region. For example the village community police are working hard to make sure everyone in the village is safe and they have the freedom to do what they intend to do and further to this the freedom to move around.

However, people are still dying, road blocks are still operating and violence against women and children is still practiced and the guns are still on hand. Which means there is still no Peace in Bougainville.

In conclusion, I think that if we want total peace in Bougainville we should forget all about the past and let us move forward and turn away from all the problems we are facing and reach the everlasting Peace in Bougainville."

Belinda was a student whose education was interrupted during the Crisis. That interruption means that this 22 year old women has a reading age of a 15 year old, but thanks to a return to relative peace and stability Belinda is able to pick up where she left off and continue her education. Makes you appreciate what you've got huh?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Camp Slayer

For those of you living in Melbourne, my mate Dave has a photo exhibition going up at Monash Gallery of Art. The name of the project is Camp Slayer, and is basically a collection of photos Dave took while he was working in Iraq as a forensic photographer.

For those who can't get to Melbourne, you can view photo's from the exhibition on Dave's website http://www.davidhempenstall.com .


We Would Like Another Hospital Please

So the Minister of Health just paid me a personal visit. I had no idea why he wanted to talk to me, so I really didn't see it coming. I've just been directed to conduct a cost benefit analysis on the establishment of a second hospital in Buin, Southern Bougainville.

I'm stoked – not because he approached me personally, but because finally someone is taking the initiative to get something done. The CEO of the Buka Hospital and myself have already tried to get something going on this before, but failed due to lack of will within the Division of Health. Now we have a clear mandate to get the work done. Awesome.

The other bonus was that I was able to provide the Minister with a copy of our survey report on the health centres and aid posts. That report has been very well received here, and it will give the Minister a good briefing on what the challenges are.

As background, one of the problems we face here is a big gap between the Executive and the Administration. This gap grew due to the death of the President and the Chief Administrator. The new President has made it clear that we need to bridge that gap, which is part of the reason I am happy that the Minister of Health is so engaged.

So yeah, awesome, great way to end the week!

Monday, June 8, 2009



Apologies for the lack of updates. Here's a quick run down:

- two new VSA volunteers have arrived in Buka and are working at the local high school
- I have no flatmates
- I've been sick for five weeks but am finally getting better
- the infection on my finger is finally healing
- there is mould all over my house and it is taking a lot of time to get rid of it
- the health summit was delayed and I hope to meet with the Division of Health this week to find out why
- planning a trip to the Carteret Islands at the end of the month to hold a public forum
- hope to get agreement on process for reviewing Bougainville's development priorities this week (finally)
- big reconciliation meeting this weekend with the controversial Sir Julias Chan