Open Letter exchange to P&O Passenger Facebook group administer John

Thank you John for letting us know about your post on your FaceBook page group post and here is our response:

Dear John

Caring for Kiriwina is a registered charity operating under the umbrella of the Global Development Group (GDG).  I attach a link to our J903N project at GDG.  http://globaldevelopmentgroup.org/au/projects/j903n-caring-for-kiriwina-project-png/.  If you need any references for our operation we can provide you with a GDG contact to liaise with.

We have had the occasional P&O passenger approach us offering help transport our birthing kits for some years.  They also often take up other items on their own volition thinking they are helping, such as books and pens, first aid kits and so on.  And yes, we are all too well aware of difficulties with distribution once they try to handover anything on Kaibola (or anywhere in PNG for that matter).  This is usually because there are no official representatives present to take responsibility for equitable distribution of such donations, and it’s just a free-for-all.  Kiriwinans are opportunistic and who can blame them.

However, Caring for Kiriwina does have official representation on the island (through the Village Health Volunteers), and has a decades long history of care and involvement with the Kiriwinan people generally.  If we know there are passengers hoping to deliver Caring for Kiriwina birthing kits (or educational items) we arrange for representatives to travel to Kaibola to meet the passengers and personally receive the donations.  They are easily recognisable by their uniforms with logos and we also know their names and can advise the passengers accordingly. See also the GDG link.  Also we can easily package the birthing kits into manageable numbers into say a small sports bag (eg airline carry-on bag size) that makes it manageable for an individual to carry.  The kits are assembled by us in Sydney, and are sealed in a transparent plastic bag with an identification sticker, making it simple to visually identify the contents.  We can deliver these by courier to the passenger’s home or wherever is convenient.

We have approached P&O numerous times in the past about assistance with delivering birthing kits from time to time, thinking that it would be a worthwhile aid thing for P&O to do, seeing how they have a commercial interest in visiting the Kiriwinan people.  This would be wonderful if it could happen, as our usual method is to send birthing kits by air.  It is expensive, and our parcels often get stranded in Alotau. However in the past P&O have not been able to offer official help in this regard.  We do not rely on passengers taking birthing kits by any means, but when they offer we try to jump at the opportunity.  At this point in time we are even more keen to get help with transport because the airstrip on the island has been out of operation for some time due to damage caused by some local frustration after the recent elections.  So there are currently no flights to Kiriwina.

We know all the difficulties with dealing with the Kiriwian culture, especially so when outsiders visit. We have representatives in many villages on Kiriwina, with our principal representatives situated in Kavataria village on the south side of the island.  As yet we don’t have an official presence on Kitava Island, this is mostly due to the virtually impossible logistics of getting birthing kits there.

So that’s us.  We can’t influence P&O policy about this, but are only responding to those passengers who contact us offering help.  In the past there have been some passengers who have travelled with our representatives from Kaibola Beach to the south of the island (which is an experience in itself) and ceremoniously greeted with dancing and refreshments at Oyabia Mission Station School or Kavataria Village.  Some of these have subsequently commented that this experience was the highlight of their entire cruise.  So this can be a win win if done carefully!

We will leave it up to the passengers to confer with you and P&O about all this, and hopefully liaise with Caring for Kiriwina should they still wish to assist.  Please don’t hesitate to ask anything at all about our work there, and we stress we will do everything we possibly can to alleviate your concerns raised and help P&O clients help the Kiriwinan people.

Kind regards

The Caring for Kiriwina Team

On 10/4/2017 3:27 PM, John Hocknull wrote:

From: John Hocknull <director@edoms.com.au> Subject: Asking P&O Passengers to deliver items to Kiriwina. Message Body: I have just posted this response on a Facebook Group I set up and administer. This task would be far better handled by P&O as the quantity will be far greater than one or six individuals can handle. It’s a simple matter of making contact with Carnival Corporate offices in Sydney and asking them to help. If they have done this already and been denied assistance then there has to be a reason. If they have not approached Carnival then they should immediately. No matter who the organisation is I would not be taking any sealed packets to anyone else with knowing EXACTLY what is included. Corporations can handle this situation if asked properly. Passengers will be compounding the problems that are very tense at the wharf at Kaibola on the island as many of the donations are high jacked by those immediately at the beach and they don’t get further afield. Some are sold and the children at the school don’t benefit from the ‘free’ books and pens as they have to pay for them. The teachers put the money who knows where. The parents certainly don’t know. There is a ships agent who will make contact with the appropriate person on Kiriwina and liaise for them to collect the items at the wharf and take them further afield. They will want the kudos as well. If the organisation sets up a process with Carnival then it can be repeated at any time and the ships agent can handle everything. The organisation may also want to have these items sent to Kitava and possibly to Alotau as well. — This e-mail was sent from a contact form on (http://caringforkiriwina.org)

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