Mahonia Na Dari

It's been a while since I last wrote, so lots to tell this time. I've been away for 10 days, travelling in PNG and dear me, the internet in most places is terrible. I didn't know just how spoiled we are with our satellite broadband internet and that I can even answer e-mails from our bedroom with our WiFi. Hence, whilst away, I only answered the most important e-mails and at one stage, I even had to engage Dietmar as my secretary, telling people I would get back to them as soon as I had figured out why I could receive e-mails without problems, but couldn't send anything. Seeing Dietmar, Missy, Chivas, Shrek, Nozaki and the staff wasn't the only reason I am happy to be home again!

My first stop on the trip was Walindi, or rather Mahonia Na Dari, which means "Guardian of the Sea" in Tokples (talk place = the language spoken in that particular area of Kimbe Bay in New Britain, the Talasea Peninsula).
Mahonia believes that one of the best hopes for preserving Papua New Guinea's marine biodiversity is to build a grassroots constituency for conservation.  Mahonia supports community-based conservation and resource management in Kimbe Bay and the Islands Region of PNG.  Their highly successful marine education program has already proven to be a powerful tool in building this support by increasing environmental awareness and inspiring local action to protect coral reefs. One of the main components of their marine education and awareness program is the Marine Environment Education Program, MEEP in short.

The reason for my visit at Mahonia was to talk to Lorna Romaso, who is the Education Officer at Mahonia. I've known Lorna for a while and she even came to visit us once at Lissenung with a group of students from one of the local high schools. Unfortunately, funding for the New Ireland schools dried up, so not much has been done since 2006. At Mahonia, however, Lorna is still in full swing, educating teachers, youth ambassadors and school students alike. She has a wealth of information that I wanted to tap into as we would like to learn from Mahonia Na Dari and start to run small versions of their MEEP here in New Ireland. I knew what I would like to achieve, but I didn't know how to get started and Lorna has provided some great ideas. Thank you Lorna!!

Thanks also goes to Cecilie and Max Benjamin from Walindi Plantation Resort, who accommodated me free of charge for the 4 nights I was there. Cecilie is the Chair of Mahonia and took some time out of her busy day to accompany me on my visit to the education centre and to answer lots of my questions.

The next stop was in Port Moresby to attend the National Tourism Conference. I stayed with our good friends Sandy and Ian Rosen, and Sandy and I got lots of girlie time in. We went shopping, we lunched, we visited the beauty shop and then we shopped some more.
The conference was very informative and a great opportunity for networking. I met some very interesting people and caught up with some of my friends.


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