By Paul Minga
You don’t know how excited l was as a typical Papua New Guinean when unexpected news reached me that l would be travelling to Australia.
Such news when reached a typical man’s ears – it is indeed a heart throbbing news that sends a typical into orbit in space or another planet as a joker would joke. I couldn’t believe the news that l was a first lucky winner for a Unilever draw and would be traveling to Sydney with other winners to watch – 1996 NRL Telstra Grand Final at the Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) live.
That was indeed a heart throbbing news which sent me into orbit in space as a joker would put. That was what eventuated sometime in Sept, 1996 when l had an odd job in Port Moresby after quitting my studies at Popondetta Agricultural College.
The news of the draw announced soon after Unilever – an Australian company its soap and deodorant products promotion drive that ran for a period in August and September of 1996 start declaring winners. Upon announcement of my name as a first lucky winner l was thrilled to hear such a wonderful and thrilling news.
As a real typical PNGuinean after the breaking news. l question myself is it really true I’ll be going to Australia or it’s only a dream. But it was true as it was confirmed from the letter that I received from Mr Tim Walter – Unilever Port Moresby’s branch General Manager. While anticipating for departure time to arrive for the trip to the most talked about beautiful Australia or the land down under.
I wished departure day should come soon so l could unleash all desires that l held on over the time including those of the community school days wish and desire of seeing the Aussie land. As a real typical Papua New Guinean the joy and mood l was in were of extreme high and at times it made my stomach refuses to take in something.
As days were counted down in a hope for departure day to arrive. l made sure l must not mis-calulate the departure day and miss the life time trip to the country that l longed to see since as a community school kid.
Anyway, I was also proud that how it would be like to fly in a Boeing aircraft. Will it be the same as Fokker aircrafts or will there be any different feeling? There were many things l had in store as a typical man would do with more questions, queries and wonders.
Finally departure day arrived, – after a meet at Unilever Port Moresby’s down town office at Cutbertson Building with Unilever GM -‘Walter. We proceeded to Jackson’s Airport for the departure. I was thrilled when Mr Walter handed over a Qantas plane ticket at the international departure terminal. Wow, a typical man would be flying the pride of Queensland and Northern Territory Air Services giant airplane (QANTAS) for the first time and this would be as a history and story to tell.
This is what I thought to myself. Then the boarding call was made and we made our way out the departure lounge and boarded the Qantas Boeing 747 aircraft for Sydney.
I was more than impressed after taking up my seat with my inner being as more joyful as l can’t wait to see the home state (Sydney) of the New South Wales Blues state of origin team. As the Qantas flight lowers for landing at Sydney Airport under airport night lighting system at around 7:00 pm.
A welcome message of the airport came into view through the aircraft window reads – Welcome to Sir Kingsford Smith lnternational Airport – Sydney. That airport welcome message has attracted my attention and l asked a fellow sitting near me if he had any idea of the name Sir Kingsford Smith. The fellow replied saying that Sir Kingsford Smith is a top Australian pilot who was named after Sydney Airport. That answers my query and l thought l had learnt something from this and was impressed with myself.
However, from that breathtaking plane trip to Sydney. As a typical man l shared a moment in reflecting the abilities and cleverness of pilots who every time skillfully manouver or steer giant aircrafts into landing safely at busy and congested airport as Sydney. I congratulated the Captain and co -pilot in my mind for the safe flight and landing. This is something a typical person considers in his reasoning for things that are as fascinating and awesome.
By the way, as the saying goes -: seeing is believing. During the brief visit to Sydney l was fortunate to have caught sight of the state harbor bridge, opera house and the Sydney tower.
For pivileged Papua New Guineans who travelled overseas on job assignment, studies, business or for holidays. They consider their trip as normal and insignificant but for an unfortunate and typical man as me a single overseas trip becomes a living legend until l go to the graveyard.