Sunday, March 9, 2008

Emergency Contact Information

Carry this information with you along with other important documents in your hand-carry luggage.

Share a copy with family/friends who need to know.

Please note time differences when making calls:
¨ Americus, Georgia (GV headquarters) is on Eastern Standard Time.
¨ For Papua New Guinea, from the East Coast, you have to add 14 hours (ie: at 9pm Sunday night in New York, it is 11am on Monday morning in PNG)
¨ For Singapore, where most of us have a layover before entering PNG and upon departure of PNG, you have to add 12 hours (ie: at 9pm Sunday night in NY, it is 9am on Monday morning in Singapore)

If you experience delays or problems while traveling, you can notify your team leaders if you think it is necessary:
1) by email at

2) call our son, Anders, in Oregon at 541-915-3494. If you don’t show up at a designated time, we’ll know to contact him to see if you’ve called.

3) leave a message at the Oxford Hotel in Singapore at (65) 6334- 9633

4) try to send an email to the Oxford Hotel with instructions to contact your team leaders at

5) leave a message with the PNG national office representatives (Elaine Namuesh 675-472-0113/692 1001, or Martin Petrus 675-472—0113/691 0440)

6) call the Asia Pacific coordinator, Allyson Drinnon, at 1-800-422-4828, ext 7527

If you experience a medical emergency while traveling on your own, contact:

MEDEX Travelers Assistance Network (24/7)
Policy number 6404-54-47, MEDEX code CHB
1-800-527-0218 OR 1-410-453-6330 (US)

If you experience trouble making this call, use the emergency GV cell phone, in Americus, Georgia, at 229-938-8870

For your families, in an EMERGENCY, have them use one of these numbers (remind them of the time difference indicated above) – if they have trouble making an overseas call, they should use one of the other two options.

1) leave a message with the PNG national office representatives (Elaine Namuesh 675-472-0113/692 1001, or Martin Petrus 675-472—0113/691 0440)

2) call the Asia Pacific coordinator, Allyson Drinnon, at 1-800-422-4828, ext 7527

3) call the Global Village emergency cell phone in Americus, Georgia at 229-938-8870 or the director, David Minich at the office 229-942-6935, ext 2547, or his home 229-928-9341

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Immunizations for going to PNG

We, as team leaders, cannot tell you exactly what you have to do to protect your health on this trip. That decision is between you and your health care provider. Because of the health risks that do exist in PNG, we strongly advise you to seek out a "travel doctor" or clinic that is familiar with international travel and current exposure potential. For example, I have been told that dengue is presently not a risk in PNG. However, your travel doctor will have more current information and may advise you differently.

Of course there is more to health care than immunizations...such as wearing sunblock and a hat and drinking plenty of water. Your physician will advise you on all of this, as well as other preventative measures.The travel clinic will want you to bring information regarding your your up-to-date list of vaccinations, medications, allergies/sensitivities and recent illnesses.

In addition, we encourage you to have a routine check with your General Practitioner, regarding your blood pressure, medications, and overall health for this trip. Let him/her know what the "travel doctor" recommended for you and see if there is an agreeance. For your information, as a measure towards preventing malaria, we are going to be purchasing bed nets to put over you and your mattress at night. We'll leave those nets with the affiliate when we leave. Also, for those of you who often donate blood, please note: You are not allowed to donate blood for 1 year after you have returned from a malarious area.Most of the following information came the CDC website: If you go to that website, there are other links mentioned that you can go to for further information.If you have ANY questions, please ask!

To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect and to start taking medicine to prevent malaria, if you need it.Even if you have less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see a health-care provider for needed vaccines, anti-malaria drugs and other medications and information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.CDC recommends that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. Find a travel medicine clinic near you. If you have a medical condition, you should also share your travel plans with any doctors you are currently seeing for other medical reasons.If your travel plans will take you to more than one country during a single trip, be sure to let your health-care provider know so that you can receive the appropriate vaccinations and information for all of your destinations.

Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Papua New Guinea, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. If you will be traveling to one of these countries where yellow fever is present before arriving in Papua New Guinea, this requirement must be taken into consideration.

Drugs to Prevent Malaria (antimalarial drugs)If you will be visiting a malaria risk area in Papua New Guinea, you will need to take one of the following antimalarial drugs: atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine (primaquine in special circumstances and only after G6PD testing).Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Papua New Guinea and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region. Malaria risk area in Papua New Guinea: Risk throughout at altitudes below 1,800 m (<5,906>
a.. Sunblock and sunglasses for protection from harmful effects of UV sun rays.
b.. Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

To prevent insect/mosquito bites, bring:
a.. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat to wear outside, whenever possible.
b.. Flying-insect spray to help clear rooms of mosquitoes. The product should contain a pyrethroid insecticide; these insecticides quickly kill flying insects, including mosquitoes.
c.. Bed nets treated with permethrin, if you will not be sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room and will be in malaria-risk areas. For use and purchasing information, see Insecticide Treated Bed Nets on the CDC malaria site. Overseas, permethrin or another insecticide, deltamethrin, may be purchased to treat bed nets and clothes.Be sure your routine vaccinations are up-to-date. Check the links below to see which vaccinations adults and children should get.Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) are given at all stages of life; see the childhood and adolescent immunization schedule and routine adult immunization schedule.Routine vaccines are recommended even if you do not travel. Although childhood diseases, such as measles, rarely occur in the United States, they are still common in many parts of the world. A traveler who is not vaccinated would be at risk for infection.Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Vaccination or Disease Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Routine Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc. Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG) Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in countries with an intermediate or high level of hepatitis A virus infection (see map) where exposure might occur through food or water. Cases of travel-related hepatitis A can also occur in travelers to developing countries with "standard" tourist itineraries, accommodations, and food consumption behaviors. Hepatitis B Recommended for all unvaccinated persons traveling to or working in countries with intermediate to high levels of endemic HBV transmission (see map) and who might be exposed to blood or body fluids, have sexual contact with the local population, or be exposed through medical treatment, such as for an accident, and for all adults requesting protection from HBV infection. Typhoid Recommended for all unvaccinated people traveling to or working in Southern and Western Pacific, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Japanese encephalitis Recommended if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis, see country-specific information. (VACCINE NOT ROUTINELY RECOMMENDED)Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Papua New Guinea, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to present proof of yellow fever vaccination.Update: Dengue, Tropical and Subtropical RegionsThis information is current as of today, November 01, 2007 at 16:28Updated: September 19, 2007Dengue has become one of the most common viral diseases transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquitoes (usually Aedes aegypti); it is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia.* Symptoms of dengue include fever, severe headache, retro-orbital eye pain (pain behind the eye), joint and muscle pain, and rash. Dengue can produce a range of illness from mild to severe, as well as fatal hemorrhagic fever. Travelers are at risk for dengue infection if they travel to or reside in areas where dengue virus is transmitted; the preventive measures outlined below can reduce their risk.Dengue Risk AreasThe range of areas where dengue is located has rapidly expanded in recent years. Today it includes many tropical countries in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, South and Central America, northeastern Australia, and Africa. See the Distribution of dengue maps for areas where it is present most of the time. Risk of infection is related to mosquito exposure, which can vary with the season. The mosquitoes that transmit dengue breed in man-made and natural containers, which are especially common in and around houses; therefore, dengue is common where many houses are clustered.Currently, an outbreak of dengue is being reported in French Polynesia and Palau in the South Pacific. Singapore is also experiencing an increase in dengue cases this year. As of June 30, 2007, the outbreak of dengue in Paraguay was reported to be subsiding. Other areas in South and Central America and the Caribbean, such as Brazil, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico, are experiencing an increase in dengue cases in 2007.Prevention Measures for TravelersNo vaccine is available to prevent dengue, and there is no specific treatment other than therapeutic support. Travelers can reduce their risk by protecting themselves from mosquito bites: a.. Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed skin. DEET concentrations of 30% to 50% are effective for several hours. Picaridin, available in 7% and 15% concentrations, must be applied more frequently. When using sunscreen, apply it before insect repellent. a.. DEET formulations as high as 50% are recommended for both adults and children over 2 months of age. Protect infants less than 2 months of age by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit. b.. Wear loose, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors. c.. Indoors, spray insecticide where the Aedes mosquito likes to linger: closets, behind curtains, and under beds. If practical, empty or cover containers containing water. d.. Air conditioned, screened rooms furnished with mosquito nets provide further protection. e.. Empty or cover containers that can collect water (e.g., uncovered barrels, flower vases, or cisterns), because mosquitoes that transmit dengue breed in standing water.Aedes mosquitoes, the principal mosquito vector, usually are active at dusk and dawn, but may feed at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when the weather is cloudy. Unlike malaria, dengue is often transmitted in urban as well as in rural areas.Many diseases, like malaria and dengue, are spread through insect bites. One of the best protections is to prevent insect bites by: a.. Using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET. Picaridin, available in 7% and 15% concentrations, needs more frequent application. There is less information available on how effective picaridin is at protecting against all of the types of mosquitoes that transmit malaria. b.. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outdoors. c.. Remaining indoors in a screened or air-conditioned area during the peak biting period for malaria (dusk and dawn). d.. Sleeping in beds covered by nets treated with permethrin, if not sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room. e.. Spraying rooms with products effective against flying insects, such as those containing pyrethroid.Additional InformationProper diagnosis of dengue is important; many other diseases may mimic dengue and health-care providers should consider dengue, malaria, and (in South Asia and countries bordering the Indian Ocean), chikungunya in the differential diagnosis of patients who have fever and a history of travel to tropical areas during the 2 weeks before symptom onset. See Dengue and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Information for Health-Care Practitioners for information regarding reporting dengue cases and instructions for specimen shipping. Serum samples obtained for viral identification and serologic diagnosis can be sent through state or territorial health departments to CDC's Dengue Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne and Enteric Diseases, 1324 Calle Cañada, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00920-3860; telephone, 787-706-2399; fax, 787-706-2496.You should purchase your antimalarial drugs before travel. Drugs purchased overseas may not be manufactured according to United States standards and may not be effective. They also may be dangerous, contain counterfeit medications or contaminants, or be combinations of drugs that are not safe to use.Halofantrine (marketed as Halfan) is widely used overseas to treat malaria. CDC recommends that you do NOT use halofantrine because of serious heart-related side effects, including deaths. You should avoid using antimalarial drugs that are not recommended unless you have been diagnosed with life-threatening malaria and no other options are immediately available.For detailed information about these antimalarial drugs, see Information for the Public: Prescription Drugs for Malaria.More Information About MalariaMalaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. Humans get malaria from the bite of a mosquito infected with the parasite. Prevent this serious disease by seeing your health-care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug and by protecting yourself against mosquito bites (see below).Travelers to malaria risk-areas in Papua New Guinea, including infants, children, and former residents of Papua New Guinea, should take one of the following antimalarial drugs listed above.SymptomsMalaria symptoms may include a.. fever b.. chills c.. sweats d.. headache e.. body aches f.. nausea and vomiting g.. fatigueMalaria symptoms will occur at least 7 to 9 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Fever in the first week of travel in a malaria-risk area is unlikely to be malaria; however, you should see a doctor right away if you develop a fever during your trip.Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria infections with Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Despite using the protective measures outlined above, travelers may still develop malaria up to a year after returning from a malarious area. You should see a doctor immediately if you develop a fever anytime during the year following your return and tell the physician of your travel.Malaria symptoms can develop as early as 7 days after initial exposure in a malaria-endemic area and as late as several months after departure from a malarious area, after chemoprophylaxis has been terminated.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Travel Medical Insurance Information

Travel Medical Insurance

Global Village Program
A portion of your work trip fee established by your team leader
covers the cost of insurance coverage. Through paying your fee,
you will automatically be insured against accidental loss of life,
limb, sight, speech or hearing while participating in volunteer
activities sponsored and supervised by Habitat for Humanity.
This mandatory insurance coverage is consistent with policies
recommended by Habitat for Humanity International’s Legal
department and ratified by the HFHI board of directors on Feb.
10, 1994. The coverage is designed to ensure a comprehensive
risk management program and to provide protection to Habitat’s
Global Village trip volunteers.

We have a serious commitment to risk management and
assume everyone is willing to comply.

Note: Covered medical expenses incurred for treatment
of a pre-existing condition are limited to a maximum
of $50,000. “Pre-existing condition” means any injury or
illness that was contracted or that manifested itself, or for
which treatment or medication was prescribed, prior to
the effective date of this insurance.

To file a claim, consult with the team leader immediately and
request a claim form. See “Quick Tips for Filing a Claim”
(below) for proper procedures and assistance in filing a claim.

Specifications, Provisions and Exclusions
Coverage is sold on a per-day basis and commences at the
actual start of the trip from the insured’s residence or designated
departure point. Coverage terminates immediately upon
return to the insured’s residence or designated return point,
or at the end of the published itinerary.

Note: Anyone traveling five days before or five days after
their official team dates is offered (automatically) the same
coverage at no additional cost.
Unfortunately, no other
extensions of this coverage are available. You must be sure
to properly insure yourself for all other personal travel.

The policy does not cover loss caused by or resulting
from any of the following: intentionally self-inflicted injuries;
suicide while sane; attempted suicide while sane; pregnancy,
childbirth or miscarriage; accident occurring while a passenger
on, operating or learning to operate, or serving as a
crew member of any aircraft. Injuries or sickness sustained
while under the influence of drugs (other than prescribed)
or alcohol are not covered. Injuries or illness sustained while
racing or committing or attempting to commit a felony are
not covered. This is a general summary, but it is still subject
to the policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

Medical Assistance
Medical assistance for Global Village team members is available
24 hours a day, seven days a week. It includes the following:
• Medical evacuation and repatriation benefit. Your expenses
up to $150,000 will be covered in the case that accidental
bodily injury, disease or illness requires your medical
evacuation or repatriation while on a covered trip.
• Multilingual MEDEX assistance specialists.
• Assistance in locating the nearest, most appropriate
medical care.
• International MEDEX preferred provider networks.
• MEDEX program medical advisors (physician) consultative
and advisory services, including review of appropriateness
and analysis of medical care.
• Assistance in establishing contact with family, personal
physician and employer, as appropriate.
• Monitoring progress during treatment and recovery.
• Emergency message transmittal services.
• Translation services and referrals to local interpreters, as
• Verification of insurance coverage facilitating entry and
admissions to hospitals and other medical care providers.
• Special assistance regarding the coordination of direct
claims payment.
• Emergency funds transfers.
• Coordination of embassy and consulate services.
• Management, arrangement and coordination of emergency medical transportation, as necessary.
• Management, arrangement and coordination of repatriation of remains.
• Knowledgeable legal referral assistance.
• Coordination of securing bail bonds and other legaldocuments.
• Special assistance in replacing lost or stolen travel documents,including passport.
• Courtesy assistance in securing incidental aid and othertravel-related services.
• Special assistance in making arrangements for interrupted or disrupted travel plans resulting from emergency situations, including:
1. The return of unaccompanied travel companions.
2. Travel to the bedside of a stranded person.
3. Rearrangement of ticketing due to accident or illness and other travel-related emergencies. 4. The return of stranded motor vehicles and related personal items.

Covered Services Per Volunteer Benefits
Medical Accident or Sickness. . . . . . . $250,000 Max.
Deductible. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . None
Coverage (%) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100%
Permanent Total Disability . . . . . . . . . . . . $250,000
Emergency Medical Evacuation . . . . . . . . $150,000
Accidental Death & Dismemberment. . . . . . $250,000
Repatriation of Remains . . . . . . . . . . . . . $150,000
Medical Assistance Services . . . . . . . . . . . MEDEX

Quick Tips for Filing a Claim
Policy 6404-54-47 MEDEX Code CHB
1. Notify your Global Village team leader of any accident
or need for medical attention as soon as possible.
2. Your team leader will supply you with an accident claim
form that needs to be completed and sent to Habitat
Claims Unit c/o Chubb Group of Insurance Co. Details
are on the form.
3. Be certain the attending physician completes the
“Physician’s Report” section of the claim form, including
diagnostic/treatment, signature and date.
4. Obtain a copy of the hospital/clinic invoices and make
copies of all prescriptions/invoices and submit same
with the claim form.
5. Have your team leader sign the form.
6. Claims must be submitted within 90 days from the date
of the accident/injury/illness.

Important: If assistance is needed in identifying an appropriate
medical provider or facility, contact MEDEX at (800)
527-0218 or collect at (410) 453-6330. MEDEX code is CHB.

Urgent Care and Evaluation: If emergency evacuation
and/or urgent care are needed, contact MEDEX immediately.
MEDEX will make all the appropriate arrangements.
See phone numbers above.

Note: Even if the claim amount is considered too small for
submission, or it is determined by diagnostic evaluation that
the condition may not be serious or requires no further medical
treatment at the time, the Global Village program and its
underwriter recommend completing all of the above steps in
order to establish a basis for admission of a valid claim later.
Toll free numbers are available in some countries as listed
below. You should call collect if the toll free number is
not accepted by the local telephone exchange.

International Toll Free Telephone Access Numbers
Australia and . . . . . . 1-800-127-907
Austria . . . . . . . . . . 0-800-29-5810
Belgium. . . . . . . . . . 0800-1-7759
Brazil . . . . . . . . . . 0800-891-2734
China. . . . . . . 108888-800-527-0218
(North : Beijing, etc)
China. . . . . . . 10811-800-527-0218
(South : Shanghai, etc)
Egypt. . . . 510-0200-1-877-569-4151
(inside Cairo)
Egypt. . . 02-510-0200-1-877-569-4151
(outside of Cairo)
Finland. . . . . . . . . . 0800-114402
France and Monaco. . . 0800-90-8505
Germany. . . . . . . . 0800-1-811401
Greece . . . . . . . 00-800-4412-8821
Hong Kong . . . . . . . . 800-96-4421
Indonesia. . . . . . 001-803-1471-0621
Israel . . . . . . . . . . 1-800-941-0172
Italy, Vatican City . . . . . 800-877-204
and San Marino
Japan . . . . . . . . . . 00531-11-4065
Mexico. . . . . . . . 001-800-101-0061
Netherlands. . . . . . . 0800-022-8662
New Zealand. . . . . . . 0800-44-4053
Philippines. . . . . . 1-800-1-111-0503
Portugal. . . . . . . . . . 0800-84-4266
Republic of . . . . . . . 1-800-409-529
Ireland (Eire)
Republic of . . . . . . . . 0800-9-92379
South Africa
Singapore. . . . . . . . . 800-1100-452
South Korea . . . . 00798-1-1-004-7101
Spain and Majorca. . . . 900-98-4467
Switzerland and . . . . . 0800-55-6029
Thailand. . . . . . 001-800-11-471-0661
Turkey. . . . . . . . 00-800-4491-4834
UK and. . . . . . . . . . 0800-252-074
Northern Ireland, Isle of Jersey,
the Channel Isles and Isle of Man
United States. . . . . . 1-800-527-0218
Canada, Puerto Rico,
U.S. Virgin Islands, Bermuda

MEDEX Assistance Coordination Centers
United States. . . . . [1] 410-453-6330
Baltimore, Maryland

United Kingdom. . [44] 1-273-223000
Brighton, England

Notes:• When a toll free number is not available, travelers are encouraged to call MEDEX collect. The country code precedes the phone number in brackets. The toll free numbers listed are available only when physically calling from within the country.
• The toll free Israel line is not available from payphones and there is a local access charge.
• The toll free Italy, Vatican City and San Marinonumbers have a local charge for access.
• The toll free Japan line is available only from touch-tone phones (including pay phones) equippedfor international dialing.
• If calling from Mexico on a pay phone, the payphone must be a La Datel pay phone.

Global Vilage department : P.O. Box 369 Americus, GA 31709-0369 USA
phone: (229) 924-6935, Ext. 2549; (800) 422-4828 in the U.S. or Canada fax: (267) 295-8714 e-mail:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Make a Donation or a Payment!

Donations by sponsors or payments by participants are made the same way for this particular team.

Sorry, credit cards cannot be used.

Write a check out to "Habitat for Humanity Anchorage"
(the sponsoring organization for this team). Anchorage does NOT keep any of the money, they are only handling the accounting. ALL money will go to the PNG team fund.

In the memo section put PNG-GV8341 and the team member's name that you are supporting. If you want to support the whole team, just put the code number.

ANY amount of donation is greatly appreciated by the team, and the families in PNG.

Mail the check to:
Leslie Bell
868 6th St
Springfield, OR 97477

Leslie is the team leader AND the volunteer accountant for this particular fund at Anchorage Habitat.

A tax deductible receipt from Habitat Anchorage will be sent to the name and address that is printed on the check. Make sure the address is current! If you do not receive a receipt, contact Leslie at or the team member that you are supporting to make sure the check was received.

Thank you!

Read about the Mozambique team, June 28-July 12

To read about the Mozambique team, June 28-July 12, click on

Read about the Nepal team, Nov 8-22

To read about the Nepal team, Nov 8-22, click on

Friday, January 25, 2008

History of PNG - Pre 20th Century & Modern

Pre 20th Century History

It is believed that Papua New Guinea was originally inhabited by Asian settlers over 50,000 years ago. The first European contact in 1526-27 was by the Portuguese explorer Jorge de Meneses, who named the island Ilhas dos Papuas (Island of the Fuzzy Hairs). The Spaniard Inigo Ortiz de Retes later called it New Guinea because he thought the people similar to those of Guinea in Africa. Further exploration followed, including landings by Bougainville, Cook, Stanley and John Moresby.

A large, rather daunting place, New Guinea was left alone for several centuries, with only the Dutch making any effort to assert European authority over the island. But in 1824, the Dutch (seeking to shore up their profitable Dutch East Indies empire) formalised their claims to sovereignty over the western portion of the island. Germany followed, taking possession of the northern part of the territory in 1884. A colonial troika was completed three days later when Britain declared a protectorate over the southern region; outright annexation occurred four years later.

Modern History

n 1906, British New Guinea became Papua, and administration of the region was taken over by newly independent Australia. With the outbreak of WWI, Australian troops promptly secured the German headquarters at Rabaul, subsequently taking control of German New Guinea. In 1920, the League of Nations officially handed it over to Australia as a mandated territory. During WWII the northern islands and most of the northern coast fell to the Japanese who advanced southward until stalled by Allied forces. By 1945 the mainland and Bougainville had been recaptured, but the Japanese were impregnable in New Ireland and especially Rabaul in New Britain, where they dug 500km of tunnels. They surrendered these strongholds at the end of the war. Post-war, the eastern half of New Guinea reverted to Australia and became the Territory of Papua & New Guinea. Indonesia took control of Dutch New Guinea in 1963 (incorporating it into the Indonesian state as Irian Jaya). PNG was granted self-government in 1973, and full independence was achieved in 1975.

Papua New Guinea's most immediate concern after independence was its relations with powerful neighbour Indonesia. After Indonesia's takeover of Irian Jaya, many West Papuans organised a guerrilla resistance movement - Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) - which fought Indonesian forces with limited success. Tensions decreased markedly after 1985, as the flow of refugees (estimated at over 10,000) between Irian Jaya (now called West Papua) and PNG slowed. There are still 7500 West Papuan refugees living in camps in Western Province - the largest expatriate group in the country.

However, a new trouble spot for PNG soon appeared on Bougainville Island, where the locals regard themselves as racially and culturally distinct from mainlanders. Bougainvilleans were embittered by the environmental destruction caused by the giant Australian-owned Panguna copper mine and by the way revenue from the mine filled a third of the national coffers but did not find its way back to their island. They formed the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) and forced the mine to close in 1989. This act, coupled with rebel demands for secession, sparked a major military confrontation with PNG forces and a resulting slew of human rights abuses.

After much bloodshed - including the notorious St Valentine's Day Massacre of 1990 when gunships, supplied by Australia, were deployed in an offensive role by the PNG security forces - peace talks were tentatively staged. But in 1992, then Prime Minister Wingti launched another major offensive against the rebels, further exacerbating the situation. The conflict claimed the scalp of the next prime minister, Sir Julius Chan, in early 1997 when PNG military leaders refused to co-operate with a US$35 million covert operation that involved South African mercenaries re-taking the island by force. The mercenaries were sent home and Sir Julius resigned. Elections in mid-1997 saw Bill Skate take up the office.

The Bougainville war officially ended in April 1998 - during the course of the 10-year war around 40,000 Bougainville islanders became refugees, and up to 20,000 people were killed. Rising optimism over the ceasefire was rapidly tempered by a corruption scandal fizzing up around Bill Skate, and a catastrophic drought, caused by El Niño and felt worst in the central Highlands provinces. Around 500 deaths were attributed to resulting hunger and disease and more than 650,000 people were severely affected. As if that wasn't enough, in July 1998 three giant tsunamis hit PNG's north-west coast - up to 3000 people were killed as villages along the coast were completely flattened. However, with the Bougainville ceasefire holding, cautious optimism is abroad.

Recent History

In November 2000, the government announced plans to relocate 1000 inhabitants of Duke of York atoll, which is slowly sinking due to shifting tectonic plates accompanied by volcanic activity. Meanwhile the country continued to teeter on the brink of lawlessness, to the point that, in his third term as prime minister, Sir Michael Somare invited the former colonial masters to intervene in July 2004. Australia agreed to send 300 police and bureaucrats to help fight crime and corruption. However, the Australian police were soon on their way home again when certain terms of their deployment were found to be unconstitutional in a local court challenge. Bougainville's first president was elected in mid-2005.

Map of PNG and "Fast Facts"

Note locations of Port Moresby (where you will enter PNG and clear customs and immigrations) and Wewak, where we will fly to meet our Habitat host before driving to Nindibari.
Fast Facts:
Country Full Name:
The Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Population: 5,700,000

Currency: Kina (K)
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +10

Country Dialing Code: +675

Weights & Measures: Metric

PNG Habitat House Construction

A typical Habitat house in PNG is made of timber with a corrugated metal sheet roof. Due to heavy rains, the house is raised on stilts a meter or more off the ground to keep it dry. The area under the house is used for storage, community gatherings and livestock. Habitat encourages home partners to cut and mill their own timber from their own land. To ensure sustainability, Habitat has developed a reforestation project; two trees are planted for every tree used for a Habitat house. Note hand tools being used in pictures, as there is no electricity (kerosene is the fuel used for lanterns at night!) Four types of Habitat houses are being built in Papua New Guinea. The first type, at 33 sq. m. in size, is a one-bedroom structure; a two-bedroom house is 37 sq. m. in size while a three or four-bedroom home is largest at 48 sq. m. The average monthly repayment per house is US$15.50 and the average mortgage period is 20 years.

R&R Itinerary & Activities

The tour company Ecotourism Melanesia will be our guides for this part of our trip. This is what they have scheduled for us:

Friday afternoon - we will leave Wewak waterfront in open speed boat* transfer to Muschu Island. Accommodation at village guest house.** Nice evening meal based on seafood and vegetables dry-roasted wrapped in leaves in hot sand pit. Sing-sing entertainment.

Saturday - full day at Muschu Island - beachwalking, rainforest, swimming,snorkelling on beautiful coral reef, paddling native canoes, napping on the beach under the shade of overhanging trees (watch out for falling coconuts!). Beach barbeque for lunch. Late afternoon open speed boat transfer to larger Kairiru Island. Accommodation at village guest house. Evening entertainment: drama performance by village youth group about islandlegends (very funny). They are accomplished performers.

Sunday - choice of activities on Kairiru Island: 1. hike to crater lake(biodiversity hotspot) 2. hike to waterfall, caves and hot springs 3.rainforest walk 4. go fishing in native canoes with locals using traditional fishing methods - cook your catch for lunch. 5. village culture study 6.more beachwalking and swimming/snorkelling. The group can split up into smaller groups according to preferred activity. Packed lunch based on village-style picnic (fruit, dried fish, dry-roasted vegetables) is carried with you wherever your guide is taking you for your activity. Late afternoon open speedboat transfer to Wewak - disembark on the beach right in front of our accommodation at Surfside Lodge which is right opposite the airport for hassle-free check-in Monday morning.

* Information on speed boats: transfer from Wewak to Muschu Island is 30 minutes and from Muschu Island to Kairiru Island is another 30 minutes. The boat is an open dinghy that can carry up to 12 people with bags. If more than 10 people we use 2 boats. The boats are privately owned by people on the island and we hire them. Our company guide based in Wewak will accompany your group on the trip. Our company provides life jackets in the boat. The boat does not travel out of sight of land at any time. Sometimes the weather is choppy in the afternoons (and even raining) but in this case the boats just take it slowly and hug the coastline as much as possible.

** Guest houses - The village guest houses have a mixure of small rooms (2 people) and large rooms (4-6 people) so various permutations are possible. The village guest houses have mattresses on the floor covered with mosquito nets. Bedding is supplied, just BYO towel.a

Personal Stories and Pictures

This posting will reflect personal stories and pictures from team members after they return. This is an opportunity for them to share amongst each other, as well as give a perspective to others who may be considering a team to PNG.

Passport and PNG Visa

All participants on the PNG team must have a valid passport that does not expire before October 15, 2008.

Participants must have a PNG visa before entering the country. Individual names must be included in a letter of invitation from Habitat PNG to Immigrations prior to application. More information on this application will be given once a participant has been invited on the team. The process could take several weeks, so it is imperative that those seeking a spot on this team contact the team leaders as soon as possible.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Expenses are $2000, which includes the $450 donation to Habitat and the PNG building program and mandatory medical travel insurance. It covers all expenses while in PNG, including food and accommodations at the host community, ground transportation, and R&R activities/food/lodging. It does not include airfare, expenses while traveling, or expenses associated with international travel (visa, passport, immunizations). Funds must be received by March 1, 2008.

Fundraising is encouraged; information is available from team leaders.

Airfares vary depending on your departure city. Contact World Traveller's Club at for a quote, or your own travel agent. Your itinerary must have you in PNG no later than April 1 in time to depart Port Moresby for Wewak, and leaving Wewak no sooner than April 14. No team member can arrive later or depart earlier than the posted itinerary. Your team leader can give you more information.

How to Apply

If you are interested in joining this team, there are a few spaces still left. Serious inquirers should have an application on file with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village Department. There are no fees for applying and it takes only minutes.

Go to to apply online. If you already have an application on file, contact the GV information desk at 1-800-HABITAT to have your application forwarded to Bob and Leslie Bell. Then contact us at to arrange an interview. Interviews will not be conducted unless the application has been submitted.

Meet the 2008 PNG Team!!

Here we are, the adventuresome group that has already been hard at work raising funds, raising awareness amongst friends, family, and
colleagues. And soon to be working even harder to join a community in their efforts to eliminate poverty housing. We are small in number, but we make up for that in our diversity and energy. Enjoy "meeting" each other!

ELINOR - After receiving a Masters in Chinese Studies from Berkeley and working in the field of US-China relations, I changed careers to housing and community development and have been in this field for more than 35 years in the public and private sectors, from working as an inspector of houses undergoing renovation in Baltimore’s inner city; to serving as Deputy Asst Secretary at HUD under President Clinton, running the $4.2 billion HOPE VI Program to transform severely distressed public housing; to being a private developer of urban, infill, mixed-income, mixed-use developments, in a range of partnerships. Current projects include redevelopment of a 1960’s church in downtown DC into market rate offices, a sanctuary and space for a meals/social service program for homeless people; redeveloping 23 acres and a marina at DC’s waterfront; a 60 acre site in Ithaca New York into a mixed-use, mixed-income development; and a residential 600 unit housing HOPE VI project in Spartanburg SC. I’m a proud grandmother of a 5 month old grandson and proud mother/mother-in-law of a wonderful daughter and son-in-law, who recently launched architecture/builder firm in Oakland, California. Power yoga/pilates/power walking/Zydeco dance enthusiast and volunteer at a local shelter to co-lead a cooking class for homeless women. Built with Habitat in Guyana several years ago and very much looking forward to the build in Papua New Guinea with the Bells and other team members.

Dulcy - I’ve lived 31 years in Alaska and am now retired from working as a special ed teacher and speech therapist. I enjoy traveling and meeting people from all cultures and have been to approximately 30 countries, as well as the 50 U.S. states. I have also enjoyed many Alaskan trips which have often included bear watching, camping, hiking, and/or kayaking. My other interests include going to movies and plays, reading, rollerblading, and volunteering for the Red Cross. Although Alaska is my favorite state, I am ready to live in a warmer clime! This is my first trip with Habitat for Humanity.

Bob - I have been a tool dresser, potato planter, log peeler, dog musher, glacier guide, school principal/teacher, Habitat trainer, and dad. I'm known for telling stories, which I'm not really sure is accurate. I like to spend my free time watching animals, especially in Alaska. And I love to be in the outdoors. This picture is of my youngest son and I on our recent trek into the base camp of Everest. When I grow up, I want to be content with what I've done in my life. My birthday is on the same day each year, usually in the middle of the second run of sockeye salmon going up the Kenai River.

Leslie - I have been an Alaska Court clerk, director of youth camps, built my own log cabin, taught 8th grade, built/remodeled/demolished a few houses, served as full-time volunteer for HFHI as a Global Village trainer in Asia Pacific, and as a team leader. My most full-filling, ever-changing job has been, and still is, that of a mom. I enjoy spending my time with Bob in most of the things he does, especially in Alaska. I always look forward to meeting new people on teams, and experiencing different cultures with them. I can be easily bribed with ice cream and can eat more of it than anyone, our three sons excluded (they learned from the best).

Andrea - I have Nursing degrees and did direct patient care for a few years. I am currently working as a Clinical Analyst using my nursing experience and computer technology to assist in the implementation of a clinical system. My part is to ensure that is tested thoroughly before the clinicians are able to use it. The GV teams I have been on are to Anchorage, AK (2), Kauai, HI, Biloxi, MS and Serbia, Russia (the pictures is in Moscow, from the Siberia team). This will be my second international one. This is my third team with the Bells and my fourth with Bob. I think they can not get rid of me until I get it right! What I'm looking forward to the most while in PNG is working with all you special folks of the team and the PNG people. I am also looking forward to the beauty of the country and their spirit. This will be my first time working without any electricity. I think it is going to be fun to just let go and go with the flow. I like to spend my free time running, playing the piano, and now I have started quilting. I am hoping to finish painting my office before I leave. So that is one of the things keeping me occupied in the cold winter days here in the Chicago area. When I grow up, I want to be loving life and never loose the passion of living.

Hello everyone,
I’m Diane Erickson. I have lived in Alaska since 2001 and I am enjoying all things Alaskan, including our malamutes. The ‘puppy’ in the picture with me is Tuk (short for Tuktyuktuk). Tuk is 1 ½ years old and his little (only 120 pounds) brother Frost is 9 months old. The other members of my peaceable kingdom include Meowie and Miss Kitty and my significant other, John. John and I live up on Hiland Road. We are both teachers at the University of Alaska Anchorage. So, we have lots of time to enjoy the summers in Alaska. I am looking forward to meeting and building with all of you in PNG!

Julia Weiler and James Gambrill are two adventurous spirits with a host of varied experiences that have brought them together for this life’s journey… speaking of adventure, they met in skydiving school almost 15 years ago! Julia is currently a travel writer and editor whose latest book is titled "More Sand in My Bra: funny women write from the road, again!". She has also worked in the past as a veterinary technician, in antiques restoration, as a photographer, a painter, a builder, a hot pepper farmer, and the list goes on… James is currently tethered to his corporate job as a programmer/analyst, but has dabbled in millworking, lumber dealing, building, car washing, dreaming (didn’t get paid for that though), and once even moon lighted as a TV news studio cameraman/floor director. Someday when James and Julia finally do grow up, they hope to have lived a life full of experiences that kept them smiling and wealthy in health, spirit, and love.
We ourselves are nearing the end of our own building project… the two year “DIY” renovation of our humble 1905 house in Springfield OR. Throughout the process, we have been blessed by the many helping hands of friends, family, and neighbors...even complete strangers have stopped to offer advice or a quick hand up. In a roundabout sort of way, this is how we met Bob and Leslie, who later assisted us in the pouring of our new foundation… and somewhere along the way they twisted our rubber arms, re-inspired our adventurous spirit, and we decided to join them on the PNG build.
Although we are seasoned travelers, this will be our first time to PNG and our first GV trip ever. We are so looking forward to meeting all of the team, and even more to helping people build their dreams together.

Robbie Robinson - A Bostonian by birth, Robbie grew up on a farm in Woburn, Massachuetts.After a two year stint in the US Coast Guard, he graduated as a mechanicalengineer from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He hasworked for both Exxon and Mobil in India (3yrs.), Indonesia (5yrs.),Singapore (5yrs.), South Africa (2yrs.)and Alaska (12yrs.). He has lived inAlaska 34 years and is active in church, Campus Ministry, the American Society for Quality, Toastmasters, Antique Car Club and community activitiessuch as FISH (delivering food to low income families). In the early years ofthe Anchorage HfH affiliate, he was the Construction Manager and currentlyworks on both local and international HfH projects such as the JCWP buildsin the Philippines, Mexico and India. He has also been on GV teams in theFiji Islands, North Long Beach (CA) and Belfast, Ireland. His wife, Marianne, is a psychoanalyst (PhD)and their three children(adults) and families are self-sustaining and pay taxes.

My name is Linda and I am a “late arrival” to this team. I live in a rather rural southwestern corner of Virginia and love to travel. This will make my 9th GV trip, I think. I have been to Americus, GA; Alaska twice; Nepal; Kauai; South Dakota; Argentina (the pictures was taken there); and most recently to Siberia. I love being on a team with Leslie and Bob, not only because they have become good friends, but also because they are so organized. Plus, they are fun to be with, too. I have recently found the perfect job as a “career coach” for a local community college. It is part-time and lets me have more freedom to travel than my school counseling job did. My husband Mark went with me to Kauai on one of the Bells’ teams in November of ‘05. I have taken the Habitat team leader training and have co-led a trip to Alaska. But it is more fun to simply be a team member and to let someone else do all of the planning and worrying. When I grow up I want to be an exotic dancer (my husband dared me to put this down. This will show him!). Besides living with Mark, I live with two crazy dogs who are in desperate need of therapy.

Martha Shortlidge - The Papua New Guinea trip will be my sixth Habitat trip since my retirement from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Prior to retiring in June, 2006, I worked as communications and development director in Westchester County, New York. When I’m not traveling to visit family in Indiana (my home state), my son Joel (29) and wife Lisa in New Hampshire or my son Aaron (26) in Kansas City, I live in Brewster, New York (located about 60 miles north of NYC).

My first Habitat/Thrivent trip in July, 2006, was to Senegal, West Africa. This was a wonderful experience which led me to become a Thrivent member and to sign up for another Habitat trip to Key West, Florida in January, 2007, followed by a trip to New Zealand in March, Anchorage in June and Northern Ireland in August All five of these trips were quite different, but each was very rewarding. In Senegal where the major language was Wolof, we completed a three room house during our stay. In Key West, we worked to repair a home damaged by Hurricane Wilma. On my most recent trip to Northern Ireland, we put a roof on a new house in the Shankill district.
I’m really looking forward to being part of the PNG team and the opportunity to combine travel to a wonderful destination with the work of Habitat.

Perc Walley - Born in Bloomington, Illinois. Grew up in Ottawa, Iowa. Upon high school graduation entered the U.S. Navy during WWII, serving in the South Pacific. After re-entry to civilian life, attended and graduated from Central College, Pella, Iowa. Entered Berkeley Baptist Divinity School, Berkeley, California. Later served with fellow truth-seekers in churches in Michigan and Iowa. Served as a director for a Camp & Conference Center in Iowa. Became acquainted with HFH on a visit to the Koinonia Partners commune in 1976. After my beloved wife's death in 1990 0 the year of our retirement - the Spirit was at work providing opportunities, along with the strength to meet the adjustments necessary to move forward. Habitat became that spring board for a new beginning. First, joining the traveling work teams in 1992 to celebrate Habitat's 15th year. Then, later, helping to organize the local affiliate in Webster County, Iowa. To complete the ccle, in 1996, I participated in my first GV work camp in Kasulu, Tanzania. And since then, I have joined a work team every year somewhere around the world. God has blessed me with many wonderful Habitat volunteers and partner family friends around the world. I look forward to this New Guinea work experience, because each of you will add your own inspiration to that which motivates me to be part of this Christ-like ministry.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Community Where We Will Build


East Sepik Affiliate is one of the newest and exciting affiliate established by Habitat for Humanity Papua New Guinea in June 2003 in partnership with rural leaders of two piloted projects namely, Apangai Building Community in the Maprik District and Nindibari Building Community in the Yangoru Sausia District.

This team will be going to the Nindibari Community.

The targeted project area for Sepik Affiliate is consisted of two provincial areas, which are East Sepik Province with its town Wewak and Sandaun Province, formerly West Sepik with its town Vanimo.

East Sepik Affiliate shares its borders on the land with Madang Province, Southern Highlands Province, Western Province and the Irian Jaya - Papua province of Indonesia and in the sea with Manus Province and Irian Jaya.

About Sepik Provinces
Sepik is featured to many for its many landmarks like the famous mighty Sepik River, the famous Haus Tambaran, the Wom War Memorial Beach, the Mission Hill, and the Boram, Meni & Windjammer Beaches. Sepik is also the home to the country’s founding father and current Prime Minister Hon Sir Michael Thomas Somare.

For religion, Sepik is the birthplace for the Evangelical Brethren Church and the Assembly of God Church in Papua New Guinea. The province itself is rich with sceneries, cultures and traditions and histories that are second to none.

Housing Needs in Sepik Provinces
The most important reason to start Sepik Habitat for Humanity is to improve on the current quality of housing. Up to now, people have been building and living in bush material houses. Only a few people have built permanent or semi-permanent houses. On average, most houses have to be replaced every five (5) years. Common bush materials used for building houses like limbung (wild palm), sago leaves and palms and bamboo, from all selected new forest growth is getting lesser and lesser as time passes.

Improved housing will address urgent needs and/or problems, like:

  • Urgent need of land for gardening and for cash cropping because of rapid increase of human population over the years. More and more forests are being cut to make way for new gardens and plantations which is directly contributing to scarcity of forest resulted in.

  • Low quality unprocessed bush materials that last no more than five 5 (years).

  • Conflicts between members of the clan and/or family groups over building materials and land for gardening.

  • Forest for wildlife and in other importance such as medicine, traditional dressing, food, etc… is depleting rapidly.\

  • Sicknesses like diarrhea and malaria and skin diseases like scabies and grille occur because people are consuming contaminated water thru cooking, drinking, bathing and laundry.

  • Curable common respiratory diseases like asthma and TB are resulted from inadequate and over crowding housing.

  • Urban drift started well before PNG gain its independence. Village people have migrated to other provinces as government and private sector contracted laborers. Even still today there is overwhelming evidence throughout the country that the drift of village people to the towns will continue despite measures the government may take to arrest it. This rural housing concept a rural development as an end in itself because it will help improve the wellbeing and the standard of living of the great mass of people, but it also hopes–perhaps optimistically–that this housing program and associated measures in rural areas will reduce the rate at which the drift to town takes place. The housing program will also encourage Sepik citizens now living as settlers in other provinces to return to the village.


A Building Community is a local organization that agrees to follow Habitat for Humanity’s policies and principles in the operation of a house-building program in their community. The building community handles both the construction and administration of the local program Builing Build.

Other main functions of a Building Community would be, community education and awareness, homeowner training and nurturing, family selection, site selection, tree selection and saw milling, resource development or fundraising, house building and supervision, program budgeting, program reporting, program planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Sepik Region is the home of the famous haus tambaran, carving, arts, dancing, yam worship and ceremonial feast. The day-to-day living is subjected to the many believes they associated with their culture and the environment.

Nindibari Building Community Description

Nindibari Building Community is located in the West Yangoru sub-district north west of East Sepik Province. The name “Nindibari” derives from Nindipole and Nambari villages, the initiators of the program. The program has drawn over-whelming interest from other eight nearby villages now constitutes the program. The other eight villages are, Yarombueng, Kuaian, Holik, Numboruong, Alisu, Himbru, Winge, Suanumbu, Wanigu, Witipe, and Winguong.

The Nindibari Community is consisting of sixteen major clans with the population of about one thousand seven hundred (1700) men and women including children. People are evidently living in clan or family groups.

DUO language is spoken as the mother tongue for the people of Nindibari. Apart from Duo language, Pidgin and English, is also spoken and heard by many. Pidgin is regarded as the second spoken language.

There are a total of six schools in the whole of West Yangoru sub district. Five upper primary schools with their yearly intake from grade three to eight. The sixth school is Yangoru high school accommodating grade seven to ten. The high school has plans to enrol grade eleven and twelve by next year 2004. Parents at Nindibari enrols their children in the following schools,

1. St Thomas Upper Primary School
2. Wara Bung Upper Primary School
3. Yangoru AOG Upper Primary School
4. Yangoru Secondary High School.

The above four schools are walking distance from Nindibari. Literacy is averaging at 75%, which means that many people can speak and read English well.

The people are Christian with two major local churches being traditionally Catholic and Assembly of God in the whole of Yangoru. However, there is evidence of other denominations in the community.

Two established health centres are providing health services to the people of Nindibari and whole of West Yangoru. One is a government run and the Seventh Day Adventist runs the other. The common types of sickness affecting many are respiratory problems including asthma and T.B. Malaria is common and is caused by mosquitoes especially during the rainy seasons. Skin problems are common.


Yams, sago, taro and banana are the staple food but rice is becoming the staple food as more and more families grow or buy rice. Protein is in short supply and therefore demand for meat and other protein is very high. Although pigs and chickens can be raised and sold in thousands, the costs of looking after them are considered very high. Lack of adequate protein in diets also contributes to some of the diseases experienced not only in Apangai and Nindibari but also through out the Central Sepik area as a whole.

The water sources for daily consumption are from small creeks, tanks, and bore hole. During rainy season the creeks and borehole can become dangerous to consumption due to floods.

Like elsewhere in PNG, the people are primarily subsistence farmers selling their produce at Markets in Wewak, Maprik, along the highway and within the community. The principal cash crops are: rice, coffee, cocoa and lately, vanilla. Before the introduction of vanilla, rice, coffee and cocoa were the major cash crops with coffee being the biggest contributor to the local economy.

Generally speaking, when prices for these commodities are good people receive better and higher income. When prices are low, people do not earn much from the sale of their cash crops. With introduction of vanilla as a cash crop and currently offering good prices from outside buyers of vanilla beans, the average income for families and individuals in the villages have improved. Average income is therefore, estimated at around 1, 200 –6, 000 Kina per year.

The Apangai and Nindibari Habitat Project sites are easily accessible by road. The projects are located on the main Sepik Highway. Main mode of transportation will be by road in terms of transporting of goods and building materials. Hayfield Airstrip is nearby but not used by operating airlines in the province because of good road links. For Nindibari a feeder road of about 3 kilometers links the Sepik National Highway to the community

Like most parts of Papua New Guinea, temperature remains the same all year round, averaging around 25 – 30 degrees Celsius. It can be much hotter or colder depending on the climatic changes during both seasons (ie: dry season and wet season). The dry season starts around April or May for six months to September or October each year while the wet season starts in October or November to March or April the following year.

Annual rainfall has not been recorded in the village so it is difficult to give an accurate figure. But the area does receive heavy rainfall sometimes for days, especially during heavy and prolong wet seasons. Villages also experience droughts during long dry spells. However, because of the geography the villages in the area do not face severe food shortages during long dry spells.

Toilets are pit latrines located some distance away from the houses. A pit latrine is common in Apangai and Nindibari. The communities are encouraged never to use bushes, rivers or small streams.

Up to now, people in both communities have been building and living in bush material houses.
Two main types of houses are built: ground house for storage (usually for storing yams) and house on stumps usually for sleeping. The houses vary in size depending on purpose, choice and family size. Kitchens (or commonly called “haus kuk”) are built separately. Washing of dishes, pots, etc, as well as laundry is done in nearby wells, rivers or streams.

Even though the people are located on the main highway and are living closer to town and government services, life in the village is very tough. Bush materials have to be found and carried up the hills and rough terrain when building houses. Water has to be fetched and carried up the hills and rough terrain to the village. During wet seasons, walking down or up the hills and mountains can be quite dangerous.

For these reasons, people are now keen and looking forward to building good permanent houses. The people are aware that a Habitat house cannot be large but the people believe that they have the resources and the capability to build bigger and better homes. They are prepared to contribute and mobilize their savings, timber from their forest and other resources that may be required to build permanent houses. Labour will be provided free as they themselves will build the houses with the assistance of trained and experienced carpenters and supervisors


Village Accommodation
Accommodation for the Global Village Team is HFH Sepik Affiliate Guesthouse.

Food & Beverages
The community prepares food and beverages for the team. Generally, food will be mixture of store food and garden produce. Store foods are rice, frozen meat, canned fish & meat, etc and garden produce like taro, yam, banana, watermelon, pumpkin and greens.

River is used for bathing and laundry. Rainwater from a water catchments tank is used mainly for cooking, and may be used for bathing as well. Bottled water is recommended for drinking, rinsing of mouth and brushing teeth.

Other Activities
While in the host community, team members are encouraged to take time to visit or be part of the day-to-day activity of the community. Everyday people attend to their yam gardens, or processing of sago, or harvesting of cocoa and vanilla. And Sunday is Sunday service and sports i.e. soccer and volley all in the afternoon.

Habitat house is built of timber on timber stilts, prima flex for walling and galvanized steel roofing sheets. The construction of house begins when the trees are felt and milled for the selected homeowners.

Milling for a Habitat House is done three to six months prior to actual erection of the house. The timbers are milled in accordance to a standard sawmill cut list. After the timbers is being cut enough for a house or more the entire community will set aside a day in which people will carry the timber from the sawmill site to the construction site on bare shoulders. Before the team arrives the house/s are set to the floor joist in preparation for the GV Build.


April 1, Tuesday
Arrive Port Moresby, PNG
Clear customs and immigrations
Those arriving early in the day will go to a local hotel to relax, eat
breakfast/lunch; others arriving later will stay at airport
3:20 pm - entire team flies to Wewak
5:10pm - arrive Wewak
Dinner, relax at Wewak accommodations

April 2, Wednesday
Breakfast and Orientation by Habitat coordinator in Wewak
Transport by truck to village (approximately 2 hours)
Reception by village
Settle in to accommodations

April 3 - 5, Thursday - Saturday

April 6, Sunday
Church service in village
Visit Apangai and Spirit House

April 7-10, Monday-Thursday

April 11, Friday
Closing ceremony in village
Transport back to Wewak, lunch
Boat trip to Muschu Island
R&R activities

April 12, Saturday
R&R activities Muschu Island
Boat trip to Kairiru Island
R&R activities
Debriefing and Evaluation

April 13, Sunday
R&R activities
Boat trip back to Wewak
Wewak accommodations

April 14, Monday
Breakfast in Wewak
8:40am Flight to Port Moresby
10:30am Arrive Port Moresby
Team farewell
3:40pm Some of team flies to Sinapore - others have later flights

April 15, Tuesday
Start planning for next GV team!!

What To Pack and How To Pack It



IN GENERAL: PNG is very casual. You will need mostly work clothes. Your other activities are still very casual. You may want something a little nicer for Sunday service in the village and for “R&R” activities, but still casual.

Be prepared for hot & humid, and perhaps rain. April is the last of the wet season, beginning of the dry, so we‘ll probably get both.. Temperatures will range from 25-30 degrees Celsius (get used to Celsius and other metric measures!) during the Habitat building and recreation time. To change Celsius to Fahrenheit just multiply the Celsius temperature times 2 (precisely it is 1.8) and add 32. To change Fahrenheit to Celsius just subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit temperature and divide by one half (precisely it is .56).

HOW MUCH CAN I TAKE? Let’s start with that question because the rest of this will make a lot more sense, such as when we’re suggesting “wear your heaviest shoes on the airplane”. The flight from Port Moresby to Wewak is the limiting factor. You can check in 16kgs (35#) and carry on 5kgs (11#). And if you think that you might want to bring back a souvenir or two (PNG is famous for their wooden carved masks!), you might want to go even lighter than that. If you are planning on traveling elsewhere after the team is done, you MIGHT be able to leave an extra bag with things you don’t need in PNG at a hotel where you’re overnight, such as in Singapore, or maybe even one in POM, but you would have to check into that, and you would have to do so at your own risk.


KEEP IT APPROPRIATE!: Women cannot wear shorts unless they cover the knees (like Capri pants) nor can they have bare or slightly covered shoulders (like tank tops). Men can wear shorts, but consider the longer shorts as more appropriate (but don’t need to cover knees). Men can wear tank tops, but it is not recommended because of the sun. You may, men as well as women, find it easier to wear a “laplap” to the shower building instead of all of your clothes. This is a “wrap around”, like a sarong, or lavalava. I don’t know that there will be an opportunity to buy one of them before getting to the village, so you may want to look around for something, or just make one out of lightweight fabric.

KEEP IT LIGHT! You will find jeans and t-shirts to be very hot and uncomfortable. Try to wear lightweight pants/shorts and short-sleeved cotton shirts and blouses for work during the day. If you don’t have any, consider “scrubs”, those lightweight cotton pants worn by your dental hygienists, nurses, doctors. They are looser than you may usually like, but that helps keep you cool. They usually have an elastic waist, which you may find more comfortable also. You can buy them at uniform stores, but they are also often available at Salvation Army or Goodwill or Value Village. If possible, get them with pockets. If you want to spend more money there is lightweight clothing available in travel stores and magazines.

KEEP IT SAFE! We will be in a malarial area (have you talked to your doc about meds and other immunizations yet?). This is caused by mosquitoes that bite during dusk, dawn, and dark. Therefore you are going to want to wear long sleeved pants and long-sleeved shirts, as lightweight and loose as possible, but “secure” around your wrists and ankles (elastic or buttons - rubber bands work too). If you are wearing sandals, wear a lightweight sock with them. There is currently no outbreak of dengue fever in our area, which is caused by a mosquito that bites during the day, so we won’t need to worry about that.. As well as protecting against mosquitoes, wear what is necessary to protect yourself from the sun: hat, bandana, etc.

FEWER IS BETTER! You only need 2-3 changes of work clothes for the whole time you are in the village. The “women’s group” (a group of trained women that we pay to do the food prep & cooking) will be doing laundry, and if that isn’t often enough, you can rinse out your own shirt/pants at night. That’s the other reason to keep things lightweight - they dry faster in humid climates. It’s another reason to not bring your best - you can pretty much count on your clothes getting sweat stains, and the laundering methods won’t be the most careful. Don’t count on laundry opportunities while you are traveling or during “R&R” - wash out at night, or bring enough to change - or just don’t change!

*Sturdy closed-toe shoes (tennis shoes are OK)
*Shorts, pants as described above
*Blouses, shirts as described above
*Work gloves - if they are light enough, you can wash at night if you need to
*Hat or bandanna - sunburn is a reality and a danger. Some people prefer a broad-rimmed hat, such as a straw hat, to protect the neck.
*Water bottle
*Day pack/small bag - It will be very helpful if you have a small, simple day pack or bag to put your valuables - camera, documents, etc. - when you are at the worksite. At this point we cannot guarantee security for these items if they are left in the community building. We won’t know until we get there, so just count on keeping these items with you at all times. You may want to wear a passport carrier around your waist or neck for documents, cash, etc, but put them in a zip-lock bag to keep them from soaking up your sweat!

OTHER CLOTHING YOU WILL NEED when not at the worksite:
*Comfortable/casual walking shoes (tennis shoes) for travel & R&R - tennis shoes or sandals
*Shower shoes - something to wear to and in the wash house - flip flops are OK, but you can also wear your sandals if they are waterproof and that would cut down on an extra shoe to pack.
*Pants/shorts as described above
*Shirts/blouses as described above
*Skirt/dress - women may want to bring something different for Sundays or R&R (but remember, not for evening because of exposed legs and arms)
*Socks - lightweight - enough to wear between washings
*Something very lightweight to sleep in - we are suppose to have mosquito nets available for our beds
*Bathing suit
*Poncho or lightweight rain jacket - it will probably make you hot to wear and you may choose to just be wet; but you may really want it on the speed boat rides if it's raining!
*Umbrella - small, collapsible

*Flexibility, patience, and a sense of humor
*Passport with PNG visa
*Spending money - for whatever you need for traveling. It is recommended to have $100 cash while in PNG for souvenirs, gifts, etc. You can change to PNG kina at the Port Moresby airport, and perhaps even in Singapore
*Insect repellent - DEET level of 30 or higher is suggested
*Sunscreen or lotion
*More patience
*TP Kit (zip-lock bag with hand sanitizer & toilet paper for a couple of trips to the latrine)
*1-2 rolls of TP of your own - to refill your TP kit
*Alarm clock
*Throw in an extra dose of “sense of humor”
*Lightweight, small towel (something that dries quickly in humidity) - travel/outdoor stores have them, or use a small, thin worn-out from home
*An extra dose of “flexibility”
*Extra zip-lock bags - to put your own trash to carry out
*Laundry bag (mesh, or old pillowcase, or your first dirty shirt)
*Bed linens - mattresses on the floor are provided, so you’ll need a sheet or sleep sack
*More and more patience
*Prescription medication, contact lens supplies (could be very dusty) and any other personal needs, including feminine hygiene supplies
*Flashlight, extra batteries - there are kerosene lanterns in the buildings, but otherwise it’s dark!
*LED headlamp - a lot handier than a flashlight when using the latrine at night! These lamps come on a strap for around your head, or there is the kind that snaps onto the bill of a baseball cap
*Waterless antibacterial wash when water is not available (towlettes not recommended because of disposal problem)
*Personal first aid supplies for cuts, blisters, diarrhea ( we will also have a Team First Aid kit, but it helps for you to have your own available in your pocket at the worksite)
*Electrical adapters and converters, depending on what you are bringing (see note at bottom for more info)
*What the heck - a little more won’t hurt - add even more flexibility, patience, sense of humor
*Snack foods - it may happen that you don’t care for all the local foods, and find yourself hungry. There are no stores to buy anything. It wouldn’t be acceptable to bring your own food to a meal prepared by our hosts, but you could have something back at your own room. You have to keep in mind bugs and heat and humidity and weight. You will need to keep anything stored in zip-lock bags, and take care of any trash/packaging by packing it back out with you. Suggestions: nuts, seeds, protein or granola bars that aren’t gooey, crackers.

Tools you could bring if you have them: (keep in mind weight and that they have to be in checked baggage).
Tools left with the village will be greatly appreciated, but you can bring along your own to take back with you as well
*Hand saws - for wood
*Tape measures - metric
*Wood chisels
*Wood planers
*Ratchet drills and bits 16-20 mm
*Tri squares

OPTIONAL (consider value, weight, and security):
*Back support - the work is all manual
*Extra prescription glasses
*Laplap (sarong, lavalava) to wear to the shower
*Journal, paper, pencil or pen
*Bible/meditation material
*Games, cards to use at night with just team members (some may not be appropriate to be used with community members)
*Games to play with children - frisbee, jump rope, finger puppets (do not give these to children - even simple gifts are not allowed. They can use them with you, but must give them back when you are done playing with the kids each time)
*Laundry powder- in case you want to wash something out at night
*A few photos of family and home to share with team and host (remember, pictures of who we are, not what we have - like boats, houses, cars, etc)
*Camera, batteries, extra memory
*Small musical instrument - recorder, harmonica
*Ear plugs

*Illegal drugs (you might want to try the chewing local beetle nut instead….not)
*Firearms, firecrackers
*Bad sense of humor
*Short tempers

You are allowed only 16 kilos for checked baggage (35 pounds) and 5 kilos for hand carry (11 pounds). If you are not used to those kinds of limits, make sure you pack and weigh in advance so you know what to leave behind. Your weight limit is more than that for getting through the US and on to Port Moresby, but it becomes limited on the flight from POM to Wewak.

For those of you doing personal traveling after PNG: if you are staying overnight somewhere on the way in to PNG (such as Singapore) and you are also going to go back through that same city, you may be able to leave a bag behind that you don’t need in PNG but want for the rest of your trip. Check with the hotel where you have your reservations. Don’t count on airport storage. You’ll have to make your own decisions as to whether you think it is secure enough. You’ll also have to check the baggage limits for where you are going.

Consider using luggage that is lightweight and “soft”, perhaps without wheels because it will weigh less, giving you more allowance for clothing, and it crams more easily in trucks, small overhead compartments, and other transportation we may encounter.

Your carry-on should have a little of everything, to get you through several days of not having your luggage catch up with you. (the last time I was in PNG, mine didn’t catch up with me the whole week I was there - I picked it up at the airport on my way back out!!)

Wear as much weight as you can on the airplane to keep your bags lighter - wear your heaviest shoes, and possibly several layers of clothes.

Make sure you can padlock your bag to help insure against theft enroute. Do not put items in unlocked outside pockets. (a simple duffle, with no outside pockets works best). Use a combination padlock instead of a key. If you have the special locks that only TSA can open, remember that may not work overseas…you will need to be able to open the locks yourself in other airports for inspection.

Pack leaky items (shampoo, lotions) in zip lock bags - and tighten the cap right before you put them in. Pack most of that in your checked baggage. Read up on the current allowances for liquids in your carry-on.

Be sure your bag(s) are well labeled with your name.

If you need a pillow to sleep, consider just putting your clean clothing in a pillow case or clean shirt and using that.

Simplify your toiletries - if shampoo will work as your body soap, and even laundering your clothes, that will cut down on number of bottles.

Dr Bonner’s soap - you can wash EVERYTHING, including your teeth, body, hair, laundry, dishes…whatever! It’s biodegradable, “green”, plus the bottle is fun to read! Get it in “trial size” and there will be enough for you and a friend. One team member recommends “mint” as it leaves behind a nice tingle, and is best flavor for tooth-brushing. REI (outdoor equipment store) and natural food stores carry it

Roll-up style space bags are great for compacting clothing items….no vacuum necessary!

Hair dryers and other electrical accessories won’t work in the village because there’s no electricity! If you can share with others while on R&R, that will help cut down on your weight. Those of us traveling on our own afterwards will probably carry a hair dryer, so the rest of you don’t have to (us girls can chat about that on our own).

NOTE: Electrical adapters and converters - PNG uses the “I” style plug/socket (that’s “I” as in Indian). It’s the same one used in Australia and New Zealand. Singapore uses the “G” style. The “I” plug has a grounding pin and two flat prongs forming a V-shape. The “G” style has three rectangular prongs that form a triangle. For more information you can go on the web to You can also find information at that site about other countries as well.
A converter is not the same thing as an adapter. The adapter just makes it so that your plug can fit in to their socket. Your appliance, such as a hair dryer, must also be able to change voltage from 120 to 240. If your appliance doesn’t have that kind of switch, then you need a converter as well. You are only going to be able to use electrical appliances while traveling and on R&R, and if you are traveling elsewhere after the team trip, so decide if you want to even bother. Converters and adapters can be purchased at a travel store or online ( Target carries them. I have been told that Lowe’s does as well. Check department stores that carry luggage. Maybe Radio Shack?