Man, meri, pikinini
waite man, black man, olgeta lain.
Passerby’s pass on by
in quick strides,
shunned, avert eyes,
seeing what can’t be unseen
– Lukim em,
em sanap na lukim
She squints to look.
There, beyond the glass of safety
laid barren hope, dreams, ruined.
Despair, etched deep into frail wrinkles
like the cracked path they led,
leading them down here to where the crumbling mortar, hanging from moss ridden bricks was their clothes in tethers, pealing from their damp skins.
Pasim ai, karamapim nus, sakim het.
The putrid stench of failure,
hopelessness seeks desperation,
rising from the viscous substance
crawling to makeshift drains
tunnelling beneath her feet,
Saitim ai, inap lo’ luk luk,
Her pace harkens for quick strides,
her squint disappears behind dark shades.
Her phone had seen enough.
He walked in ahead of me, shook hands, and wrapped himself into of those large meeting seats that sat around the conference table that took up too much space in the small room.
Stories In Planning
Today when planners tell stories,
We do so remembering history.
What would histories be without stories,
When words connect memories to space, and time
Embedding themselves onto space, remembering times –
Like dirt tracks that become raging roads,
Like cargo wharves hosting art shows,
And acreage that become quarter acre blocks.
We tell stories,
to fill the gaps in our memories
of space through time.
But some histories are too young.
Some memories too short.
Remembering is not possible.
So we borrow time,
Embedding our space with another story,
Living another planners history.
Can planners really use stories to help us understand the city?
A concerted energy is blowing through the historic streets of Port Moresby, transforming the once derelict Down Town Precinct into the site of future commerce.
What makes a city come alive?
Or rather, I should ask why
– Why would we want a city to come alive?
Maybe the second question is easier to answer.
Since the outbreak was declared in PNG in mid June 2018, a dozen cases have been reported, and we are still counting.
One case has already been reported in Port Moresby’s 5 Mile.
But how does it spread and how can you get amongst the latest craze to sweep the nation?
It’s the week of Independence.
A young mother, elegantly attired in her PNG meri-blouse, huddles amongst the murmur of other young parents under a tent at the Gerehu Hospital.
With all her attention, she watches the nurse-meri, her eyes trailing every movement of the nurse as she squeezes two drops of a liquid into the pinched mouth of her four year old son.
She exhales in relief knowing that the monster lurking in the dark won’t take her son. At least, not this one.
AS we settle into the days after our 43rd Independence festivities, we will be confronted with the dawning reality that may haunt us more in weeks to come.
No, it’s not APEC 2018. And it’s not the nervous toea-clanking at the bottom of the governments empty purse.
It is something much, much, worse.