Bede Tongs is one of my new friends from our Kokoda Trip, and his belief in the power of a positive attitude and a smile was something special that connected us. I’ve just received Bede’s book in the mail – and it is so incredibly moving. I read some of it in Kokoda, a borrowed copy, and stayed up late reading it last night. I will be posting a video of one of our chats soon. I can’t wait! However I’m trying to keep these blogs in some kind of order. (chronological, at least to begin with!)
Today’s video is another day 2 moment. I referred to Day 2 on my first Kokoda blog – our time in Mamba village, where Bede gave a copy of his book to Francis, one of the original Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. You’ll see flower petals on Bede’s arm and his book. The veterans were showered with them as we were welcomed to Mamba, another beautiful moment of honour and appreciation for their elders.
The video below was taken just before we met Francis and we were enjoying the amazing view. We were approximately 20km from Kokoda with Elijah, who escorted us in all directions over the week. You know I love to chat with champions, people who are making good things happen. Elijah was quietly going about looking after us, but I heard someone mention his village that he is rebuilding, starting from scratch really, as they relocate to a safer area after being wiped out by floods. You may not understand all places he mentions, or the distances between, but you’ll get the sense of someone who’s definitely a quiet achiever and a great asset to his country.
You’ll notice that Elijah mentions Geelong Rotary. If you know someone there, please pass this on. I’d love to acknowledge their support in Elijah’s village. Since being in PNG and talking to the locals, and since coming home, I’ve heard so many great stories about the support of Rotary – including the hospital in Kokoda, which I discovered local councilor and bank manager, Kevin Parker was involved in building (as well as other champions from Dubbo, who I haven’t had the pleasure of chatting with yet).
There’s a real sense of collaboration and support between Papuans and Aussies and anyone who’s walked the track or spent time in the villages will know. It began back when Bede, Grandad, Owen and their mates were very young men and lives on as the Papuans continue to move forward with a passion to give their young people greater opportunities than they had. The hearts cry of parents and leaders all over the world. A unifying trait.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this snippet of our Kokoda trip. And guess what! You can join me on the phone next week and hear more – you’re invited to eavesdrop as I’m interviewed and join the conversation if you wish.
Please leave comments below with questions or insights and I’ll reply ASAP.
Cheering you on,
PS. Mum and I will be speaking at Gilgandra’s Red Cross Luncheon in Gilgandra this Friday and sharing a few Kokoda highlights, photo’s videos and other special moments. You don’t have to be in Gil to hear more though!
Don’t miss our call next week! I’d love to connect with you on the phone. Check out the info and register your interest by clicking here.