Twenty walk track to see prime minister

Main Stories, National

The Nationl, Monday 3rd September, 2012

AFTER 15 years supporting Peter O’Neill, who is now the prime minister, 20 young men from Wiru in the South Pangia, Southern Highlands, took a bold step to travel to Port Moresby to see how O’Neill led his life.
They walked the war-time Bulldog Track between Gulf and Morobe provinces to get to the capital city.
Sikini Talega, a member of the group, said after years of supporting their Epari tribesman, they wanted to see where it had got him.
“He has done us proud. We want to see what type of life he now enjoys as the prime minister of the country, what his challenges are and how people respect him so that when we go back we can tell our people that yes, the seed we sowed has brought great harvest,” Talega said.
He said their journey into Port Moresby started mid last month, when they feasted on a pig and decided to go and see O’Neill.
All 20 had never been to Port Moresby but were confident that they would get to see the prime minister when they left their Undiapu village at 5am on Aug 18 for Pangia.
They could not afford an airplane ticket so each one of them sold a pig each for K500 to pay their way into Port Moresby.
From Pangia station, they travelled into Lae where they expected to get on a ship into Northern and walk the Kokoda Track from there.
But the sea and crashing waves did have them worried as none had been to sea before so they took a PMV to Wau instead and then walked the Bulldog Track.
Talega said while walking they kept calling the prime minister on his mobile phone, advising him on their progress and kept in touch with their relatives.
Some of them fell sick while travelling in a dinghy down the Lakekamu River.
But all 20 arrived safely in Port Moresby on Saturday to a new culture and awaited the prime minister.