Papua New Guinea is a country of multiple paradoxes. The country is rich in mineral wealth yet most of the people are so poor. The land is very beautiful but the townships are frighteningly violent.
Since it acquired independence from Australia in 1975, PNG has not prospered. Many claim that its people are far worse off than in the days of Australian administration.
Catherine and John helped run a workshop in a Baptist mission quite close to Mt Hagen, which is about xxx kms from the capital Port Moresby.
There they met village women who got together in a workshop to make bilums. You can see one hanging off the shoulder of the woman in a blue dress. John has one about his neck as well.
As in most Pacific islands, many people have left rural villages to try to better themselves near a large town like Mt Hagen. They hope for work and education for their children.
They congregate in unwanted areas near the town in squatter settlements. There they build very basic dwellings with no water or electricity. Often they are in conflict with tribal landowners who resent their arrival.
The people who live in the settlements are very poor indeed with little hope of employment.
Mt Hagen Settlement dressmaking sewing
Port Moresby Cricket team outfits and sports equipment
Our visit prompted a tour of the settlement and a request for sewing machines.
This was the starting impetus for Tool Power Projects. Catherine contacted a local paper and soon 50 sewing machines were gathered.