Josh Mcdade Reports from Bougainville PNG
Current Political Situation
An Australian Army medic on Operation OP BEL ISI until early December 1999. The operation is part of the Peace Monitering Group (PMG).
I have constant access to e-mail but work committments means I only get on the computer once every day or second day and at odd times. We are using satellite communications to the rest of the world. A number of people here have accessed your site and found it to be helpful and/or informative. Unfortuanatly because of sensitivity my travelling is limited. There are plenty of opportunities but few that can be planned because of the nature of the operation.
I am rather interested in WWII explorations here due to my great grandfather being a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Medic on Bougainville during WWII. My grandmother gave me a small photo of a RAAF outpatients clinic that he took then. Apon return to Australia I have a friend with a scanner if you are interested in looking at it.
I was in Buin the other day and just missed out on visiting the Yamamoto wreck I think it was. There was only certain days and times to visit and the charge is now 25 KINA. I will get that information correct from a friend there and send on to you. Snorkiling is highly encouraged but scuba gear is rare.
I think there is about three good books out at the moment about the crisis that has happened here. "Black Islanders" talks about history of the Bougainville people up to about 1991. "The Sandline Affair" I think its by Sean Dornhay, a famous Australian author / reporter who lives and writes about PNG. He was here the other week planning a documentary of PNG 25 years on. To be filmed in three weeks probably in October. "Enemies Within" by Mary-Louise O'Callaghan is a very new book and up to date that I havn't had the chance to read just yet.
About 90 percent of local infrastructure has been destroyed. Thousands of people have been hiding in the mountains returning to living off the land! The political climet is improving and the peace process is moving along well.
Most of the many factions are participating in the peace process. People are slowly moving back from the mountains and businesses are slowly opening and trade recommencing.
Last week the PMG was involved in organising and assisting in "Arawa clean up day". Much of the town is over grown by jungle in the past ten years. But the town is on the improve in many ways. We built a swing set and a park for children has been restarted.
I apologise for abbreviations because I'm in the Army I constantly use them thinking everyone knows them. I have gone back through and put their meaning in so if I use them please ask if your not sure.
Especially remembering things like Australian ABC is completely different to your ABC! Ours is Radio and TV channel supplied by the govenment and is often lacking funds and not always of a high quality!
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