Port call in Papua New Guinea: FFFAW

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The passengers from the cruise ship stepped onto land to be greeted with a cacophony of sounds. Tribal drumming from one quarter, taxi drivers spruiking in another and the other quarters, two schools competing for attention, the begging bowl in front of the children who were performing for the cuiselings like seals at sea world.

There were passengers who were comfortable engaging, whilst others walked quickly away. Some paid money for photos with a near naked child whilst others gave generously, having no idea where that money would eventually go. Others, preprepared, came armed with paper and pencils to donate to the children. They knew it was the basics that were needed. For a short time the children would not have to use a canary feather dipped in tar to write their alphabet on a scrap of paper.

Word count 138.

In response and with thanks to Priceless Joy who hosts Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers each week and to Goroyboy who provided this weeks photo.


About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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42 Responses to Port call in Papua New Guinea: FFFAW

  1. michael1148humphris says:

    Your story brought back memories. Many years ago I was accosted by a whole village of children in India. I was certainly glad that I had taken pencils.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reena Saxena says:

    Brilliant interpretation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joem18b says:

    i’m not comfortable rating someones work, but this is a good one. cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lifelessons says:

    I still remember children in Sri Lanka demanding “Secrets and Skoolbins, Secrets and Skoolbins?” Or was it Indonesia? It took us awhile to realize they were asking for cigarettes and school pens.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. goroyboy says:

    Poor kids.. a reflection of a countries character, how they treat the most desolate

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So much of the world in such dire need of basic supplies and so much waste on such foolishness. You’ve written an excellent story, Irene, one that makes me realize how fortunate I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sharon. We are indeed fortunate. I had expected much of what I saw but I had thought the towns would have a degree of sophistication to them (as Port Vila in Vanuatu did) but I have to admit that I was staggered at just how little those in the towns had and the level of poverty.


  7. Varad says:

    Fantastic writing, Irene. This hit hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Iain Kelly says:

    An evocative scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. James says:

    That’s a direction I would never have thought to take the prompt. Well played.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful story, Irene!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Michael says:

    Your tale reminded me of my son currently in the New Guinea Highlands dealing with the terrible earthquake they have experienced. I thought you captured the chaos of disembarking in New Guinea.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. calmkate says:

    lol great take on the prompt … had me going!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I often visit India, always armed with boxes of ballpoint pens and pencils. Your story really struck a chord with me. Excellent.

    Click to read my FFfAW!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Charli Mills says:

    I can easily imagine the scene you set up and then felt the heaviness of the reality compared to the abundance of the tourists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was told by a local on more than one occasion that we were all millionaires. Far from the truth but when you see how little they have in one respect we are millionaires. I don’t know though that it is a good ethic to be spreading that begging is the way to improving your life. It doesn’t seem to me to teach the right principles or am I being too Victorian in my attitude?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        What are the barriers? I don’t think anyone wants subsistence, but if you don’t have basic needs met, what are the choices? I worked with Equal Exchange for many years, promoting their coffee which in turn built a program for countries around the equator. Coffee and chocolate are the indulgences of the wealthy, and yet some of the most impoverished people work the coffee and cocoa fields. Equal Exchange eliminated the middle-man (distributor) and worked directly with workers to become owners who sold directly to the EE label, guaranteeing a minimum price to maintain a standard of living. EE has gone on to start a banana program, too. I agree it’s not a good ethic to encourage begging, but somehow, these tourist companies need to think like EE and create tourism that sustains the communities they tour. Ha, ha that’s my “co-op” mentality. Let’s work together!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree with EE programmes and setting up industries for the local people by the local people with the profits going back into the community. Sadly we only saw one such industry whilst we were there – a coconut oil industry. Sadly I’m jaded because I’ve seen too much aid that has not benefited the community and has been a waste of the contributors funds. I’m all for working together.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Ellespeth says:

    Thought provoking story. Great take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is a thought-provoking and evocative story. I wonder how those children truly felt?

    Liked by 1 person

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