05 September 2013 | The Louisiades, Papua New Guinea
Yachties can thank Milia for the warm and gracious welcome we receive at Panapompom. He instilled the culture that locals respect the visitors and their boats. His rules: Do not steal things from boats, offer to trade if you want something. Do not ask for too much. Do not let your canoe touch the yachts. Be polite.
Milia has four children: Noino, Toby, Ishmael and Julie. Noino and Julie are both pastors. Toby is an administrator at the school. Ishmael is the ward councilor. All visited us on Tenaya and told stories of their struggles and accomplishments. They are smart, positive, kind, loving, hard-working people of whom we grew very fond.
We got to know many other bright, friendly people on Panapompom and learned their stories. Neal and Martin worked in the mine at Misima before it closed. Abel and Abel were both teachers and have come back to enjoy their retirement here. Julie is the head teacher at the elementary school and is doing a fantastic job. Wendy is involved with the women's fellowship along with Alice, Elsie, Gwen, Lidia and Keloy. The kids are all adorable. Well, except one that glares with intense eyes and never smiles.
We spent two weeks anchored in the lagoon between uninhabited Nivani Island and Panapompom. We could have stayed months. When the locals found out Jim could fix sewing machines, they carried them from all over the island. We are happy to do what we can to help. People here lack many things we take for granted. Like glue. Often they know how to fix things but don't have the resources. It's amazing how many people a tube of silicone or some epoxy can help!
The people of the Louisiades look forward to visits from yachts. It's the only way they get much needed clothing and supplies. There are no stores and they have no money. But they have delicious fruit to trade and appreciate the opportunity to sell wonderful wood carvings and beautiful baskets.
See our website at www.tenayatravels.com for stories and pictures of our time in Papua New Guinea.