By Sera Price
The team have made it to Bougainville!! They could not believe their eyes or ears with the warm welcome from hundreds of people at Tinputz District. The singing as they sailed into the bay was amazing!!
They were hosted by the lovely and inspirational Ursula Rakova of Tulele Peisa, a local NGO “striving for strength and action” for the people of the Carteret Islands whose land is badly affected by climate change and subduction. Have a look at their website here. Ursula has been doing all kinds of good things for the people of the Carteret Islands. Thank you so much Ursula for your warmth, kindness and generosity.
The team spent time with James on his plantation, seeing and learning how he does things and hearing about the positive changes the upgraded dryer has made. The work is easier and the quality of the beans has improved remarkably, fantastic! Rochelle’s done herself a deal to come back and help out with a harvest, she’s truly bean to bar.
Since Bougainville is quite a big place (in island terms) with significant diversity and history the team had a bit of a look around. They visited the Panguna Mine to get a better understanding of the Bougainville Crisis and stayed over in a village. Thank you Bosco of Bougainville Tours for orgnising that, it was an unforgettable experience, they loved it.
The team met up with Robert Critchley of Sankamap Exports who did an excellent job getting the beans export ready. The beans were well taken care of, they were in excellent condition and expertly packaged ready for the journey. He even made special smaller sacks so they could be carried and maneuvered around the boat easier. Excellent service!
The trip wasn’t without its challenges but we had great local support. These people truly made the trip, thank you for your support and assistance! In particular, Raymond Moworu of the Division of Commerce, ABG and Paul Bedggood who organsised this warm and spectacular visit. James and Gary for growing excellent cocoa and sharing your passion with us. Robert for your professionalism, advice, and patience. Ursula for your warmth and generosity in hosting our team and organising a truly spectacular welcome. Gabe is still lost for words.
I have taken the initiative to make a start on the thank you’s, no doubt there will be many many more when the team return. They have just left Bougainville and are on route to Wellington via Honiara, Solomon Islands. Watch this space.