Young Aussie: PNG’s lovely

National, Normal

The National, Friday 30th December 2011

“LOVELY people and amazing places” – that’s how 10-year-old Emma Eggins from Hanamville in Northern New South Wales summed up her two-week visit to Papua New Guinea despite travel advisories warning Australians not to travel to PNG during the height of the political upheaval.
Emma accompanied her grandmother Joy Eggins to PNG on Dec 15.
They flew to Rabaul to see the volcano-devastated town and later visited the Highlands making overnight stops in the new Jiwaka province, Western Highlands and Enga.
Joy’s adopted son John Eggins, the former EMTV news director, said: “Many people advised them not to travel because of all the negative stories they read about PNG, but Emma’s grandma knew that is not right and decided to bring Emma along to see for herself what the real PNG is like.
“Their friends and family had advised against the visit arguing that it was dangerous – especially during the height of the political and constitutional crisis.”
However, Joy and Emma were not perturbed and would not have their planned visit changed by the political power play in PNG.
They stayed with John whose local knowledge of politics, people and places also added to their understanding of the country and culture.
It was Emma’s first time to PNG. Everyone she passed by or met in East New Britain and the Highlands “smiled and said hello”.
She thoroughly enjoyed her holiday in PNG and is very grateful to “Uncle John Eggins” for showing her and her grandma around the country.
“The people are lovely,” she quipped.
Asked if they were frightened about the political events in PNG, Joy said: “Not at all.”
But she was taken aback by the high cost of food items in shops.
“I could not believe the prices in big department stores charge for basic food items. Some charge more than 100% compared to the same items in Australia at Kina value,” Eggins said.
She hoped the government would give the issue attention.
Joy and Emma return to Australia this morning taking with them wonderful memories of PNG and its people.