Day One in Kokoda – meeting “Queen Priscilla” and enjoying the view from her backyard. (I heard someone refer to her as Queen of Kokoda, and with her attitude of care for her community, it fits!)
We were standing on the edge of a cliff at the back of her guesthouse property, looking over the gorgeous valley, having just eaten the most amazing pineapple after a vibrant, heartfelt welcome.
Introducing – Priscilla, Queen of Kokoda.
I’d mentioned to Priscilla that I do video chats with entrepreneurs and she was quick to say “oh I’m not an entrepreneur”, but I thought it worth chatting anyway, to introduce her and give you an update from Kokoda. It’s pretty soon into the chat when she says her purpose in building the guesthouse is to provide work for the boys and girls of the village. Priscilla does a lot to create opportunities for her community and I loved her straight away.
As you’ll see – it’s also for the Aussie’s who need a hot meal and a comfortable bed after 8 days on the track!
I have plenty more photos and some very inspiring conversations to come, but this one’s just a hello from Day One, and a glimpse of the fabulous welcome we received when we arrived. We were all made to feel so welcome, and particularly our veterans who are very honoured guests of the Papuans.
On the video you can hear shouts of “ORO ORO” (sounds a little like aura aura) which is “Welcome” – we felt it, even before it was interpreted. To share a note from my journal on the day – “Priscilla took Grandads hand, and then mine, and we stood as they danced towards us singing in their language “Welcome our father. Our brother, we welcome you” and at the end, when Priscilla wanted to lead us between the dancers, they started again “our grandfather, we welcome you.” I can’t remember if she said that they also sang “we thank you”. Their welcome and sense of gratitude was evident – or maybe the gratitude I felt was mine. I can’t explain it, but to say it was beautiful and a privilege. The respect, honour and gratitude they have towards our veterans was amazing.
Kokoda is in the ORO province of PNG. It’s not just a word but a way of life. I’ve never walked into such an amazing welcome.
I’ll be back soon with more – including my gratitude to the Kokoda Track Foundation for helping to make this trip possible – as well as the Dubbo RSL Sub Branch who contributed to our trip after I shared Grandad’s story with their members.
I’d love your feedback… have you been to Kokoda? Experienced a welcome like that? What else would you like to see from our Kokoda trip? Please comment below and I’ll reply ASAP.
For my business readers – let’s consider how we can roll out the welcome mat for our clients, guests and friends :-)
Cheering you on,
PS. Still to come – Elijah, Bede, and Kokoda Track Foundation. All amazing Difference-Makers in various ways :-)
by Kerrie Phipps