How I managed to tick off half my life’s bucket list, in 1 Project!


How I managed to tick off half my life’s bucket list, in 1 Project!

Being part of a documentary shoot in Papua New Guinea

Even in my craziest & biggest dreams, I’d have never thought I’d be going to Papua New Guinea to help document mind blowing stories to help remote communities in need.

But last August, I had the amazing opportunity to assist our Creative Director Jacqui Hocking to create documentary style videos & content in the Gulf Province (red dot in the map below). Our aim was to document the positive initiatives of our client benefiting remote communities in the Gulf Province that are only accessible by (looooong hours) of river boat or helicopter.

Documenting stories…

Doing a social project in one of the most untouched and beautiful countries in the world does not happen everyday. That was the second project Gone Adventurin’ was doing in Papua New Guinea. Through the first one — ‘Overcoming The Impossible’, we helped a NGO — YWAM to fundraise AUS6M to replace the boat they were using to deliver medical services in the country.

My job was to manage the logistic & administrative aspects of the project, in short making sure our client was happy. But this time, I was also involved in the creative activities of the project: from assisting the filmmaker; to being involved into the pre-production of the content, and up-skilling in photography.

Generally speaking, our goal is always to inspire people and companies to discover a bigger purpose. For this project, it meant encouraging our client to tackle environmental and social issues through their daily activities & core business. We wanted to learn more about their operations and programmes, as well as the impact they were having on the local communities.

Through authentic storytelling and eye-opening adventures, we hope to encourage all companies that are doing business in PNG to be mindful of their impact harnessing the pristine & fragile resources of the country, and to give back to the society and the environment.

…In one of the most untouched countries!

Papua New Guinea is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, with hundreds of ethnic groups living within its borders. More than 800 languages are spoken across the country, thanks to a diverse indigenous population. They represent 12% of the total languages existing on this planet!

Not only the culture is diverse, but the environment too, is rich in biodiversity! The scenery blew us away during the entire trip. The country is part of a marine area called ‘Coral Triangle’ that “nurtures six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, more than 2000 species of reef fish and nearly 600 different species of reef-building corals alone.”

Credit Photos: David Doubilet, Kimbe Bay, Coral reefs, National Geographic

The country is also very rich in natural resources. Exports earnings from oil; gas; copper; and gold account for 72% of the country’s GDP. Also, palm oil has grown steadily, followed by coffee, cocoa, and coconut oil. The country also relies on tuna exportation. In 2008­-09 during financial crisis, contrary to the rest of the world, the country saw its economy growing thanks to large investment for exploration, production and exportation of petrol.

How can we find a way to ensure all this development is sustainable, not just for our generation, but for the next generations to come?

Papua New Guinea is one of the many developing nations in the world right now seeking solutions to ensure livelihood development & opportunity, without the expense of their natural environment.

Sadly too, as the economy grows, the social gap widens. Papua New Guinea is suffering from serious healthcare problems, due to it’s rugged landscape and lack of medical access:

1 in 13 children die before the age of 5

94% are affected by malaria

1 dentist for every 100,000 people in PNG

Our New Zealander & PNG pilot and co-pilot

Where we were in the Gulf Province, there is barely infrastructure or road to access these communities. Locals usually travel by river boat, a journey that is as beautiful as dangerous. It is indeed really common to meet crocodiles and mosquitoes infected by malaria. To get to all the locations, our team travelled by helicopter from one place to another, visiting 4 different communities: a Hospital and 3 remote villages.

01. Kapuna Hospital

We went to Kapuna Hospital that provides medical services to more than 100 patients with 30 staff in the Gulf Province. Our client has been supporting this hospital by providing fuel and helicopter / boat transportation or deliveries for staff and villagers living next to the hospital.

While on site, we documented the donation of a microscope that will help the village to fight against Tuberculosis TB. It’ll allow the medical staff to diagnose TB in order to get treatments faster to stop the spread.

Laeko Villa, Community Health Manager, Kapuna Hospital

02. Waboo Elementary School

After 45 minutes of helicopter from our base camp, we arrived in a village called Waboo. It is located on a land of 147 hectares surrounded by the jungle and the river. When we arrived, the headmaster of the only school and the hundred of students were waiting for us. The head of the village made a speech in front of his peers. The pupils were really quiet but were smiling at our cameras. When we left the location and started to walk back to our helicopter, they suddenly run after us laughing, screaming, willing to be photographed. That is one of my best memories of the trip.

Students from Waboo Elementary School

03. Poroi Village by the river

The last day, we took a river boat and cruised for 1,5hrs to visit POROI village of 150 inhabitants. This village is supported by volunteers fromInternationalSOS who provides prevention sessions about sexual transmitted diseases to women and helps to improve the agricultural activities.

The head of the village who closely works with the InternationalSOS volunteers had gathered in advance all the villagers. We received a warm welcome for the villagers, followed by the students arrived with their teacher.

Villagers from Poroi

After the epic adventures in Papua New Guinea, we came back to Singapore more motivated than ever to find solutions from a grass-roots level.

How can big business have a better impact on the local communities?

How can we ensure environmental sustainability to safeguard the natural eco-systems for the next generations?

How can we distribute healthcare and education to make it available to remote communities?

How can we inspire more big business’s to take the leap towards a better future, to benefit the triple bottom line?

We captured so many stories, ideas, photos & videos to try put all our thoughts into action and innovate for a better future.

With our incubation & research in progress, we can’t wait to go back.

Know a company or community in Papua New Guinea they might want to collaborate with us and #DiscoverPurpose? Please do get in touch.

Article written by Paula Miquelis — Project Manager @Gone Adventurin’.

Ashwin Subramaniam
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