My name is Mike Edwards, I spent a little over two years on the island working for Morgan Equipment ( I have always regretted not staying longer). Initially I was in Panguna, then Loloho, Toniva and finally with 2 other mates in a house in Arawa.
I can relate to the mud and dust especially before the Panguna road was sealed. I remember with not a little nostalgia Saturday nights at the Davara Motel or Sundays on Arovo Island. I can also recall when the Jaba River was a beautiful crystal clear, icy cold fast flowing river.
A lot of great memories come creeping back as I tap this out. I really can't think of any bad ones (except the first arrival at Toniva International and the first sights, rain, mud, grey sky, rain , mud) But that quickly faded when waking up to a magic morning the next day. Stayed with friends right on the beach on the road past Kieta on the way to the yacht club.
It doesn't seem like forty plus years ago.
Now retired and living in WA, up in the hills about 65 kms from Perth, place called Morangup.
Bougainville was my first overseas work experience and I still look back on it with nostalgia. Lots of stories, just recently started to write down all I can remember before the brain turns completely to mush. Had a lot of photos but unfortunately very few seem to have survived. Would dearly like to know what happened to them.
Made a lot of friends and many more acquaintances while on the Island. Unfortunately have lost contact with all of them. I have found a few sites that show the Island as it is now, break your bloody heart to see what happened there.
Some years back I had a very strange, informal approach as to my interest in going back, I think it was very much unofficial lots of dollars were vaguely mentioned but nothing ever came of it. Don't know who or where it came from (probably a load of BS)
Great to hear from another Islander and that stuff they supposedly put in the water? It didn't work too well then but it sure as hell is kicking in now.
I'll end this now before I get too carried away.