PACU FISH – DANGEROUS FOR HUMANS – Paul Cahill

Pacu (Portuguese pronunciation: [paˈku]) is a common name used to refer to several common species of omnivorous South American freshwater fish that are related to the piranha. Pacu and piranha do not have similar teeth, the main difference being jaw alignment; piranha have pointed, razor-sharp teeth in a pronounced underbite, whereas pacu have squarer, straighter teeth, like a human, and a less severe underbite, or a slight overbite.[1] Additionally, full-grown pacu are much larger than piranha, reaching up to 0.9 m (3 feet) and 25 kg (55 pounds) in the wild.

” Pacu were introduced in 1994 to the Sepik River, and in 1997 to the Ramu river as a food source, due to overfishing of native species. Local people blame the fish for outcompeting native species, including juvenile crocodiles, as well as for several attacks on humans.”

Source: Wikipedia

I just watched an episode of a fishing program called “River Monsters” on ABC television Australia. It is a show made by Jeremy Wade, a marine biologist who travels the world in search of “fresh water” fits with a reputation for killing.

Anyway, this episode focused on attacks on the Sepik river in PNG and a number of attacks involving something in the water which had a restoration for attacking the testicles and genitals of native fishermen. The locals called it “Ball Cutter” – ouch!

By the end of the program, the fish responsible was identified as the Pacu.

The Pacu was introduced into the river system some 20 years ago by the fisheries authorities as a way to supplement the fish stocks for the increasing population along the river. But there is a major problem with its introduction into PNG.

Pacu are close cousins if the Amazing piranha fish. The piranha is a carnivore – it eats meat and flesh. The Pacu was thought to be vegetarian, but I’d now known to be an omnivore – it prefers nuts and fruits typically found in its native waters of the Amazon, but also eats flesh if nothing else is available.

Pacu generally have small raspy teeth, like rough sandpaper until they grow larger. Once they reach 2 or 3 get these extremely powerful fish develop lower teeth which are extraordinarily similar to human teeth on their litter jaws. These teeth are capped with very skirt, needle like rippers. They are amongst the largest most most powerful of the piranhas.

Since their introduction in the Sepik, local villagers report vast reductions in grass and reed islands in the Lake, reduced populations of all other fish species, reduction in cichlids numbers and breeding, and attacks on birds from the Pacu. In short, the entire river ecology has been stressed by the Laden’s of this introduced fish. Over time, the fish are likely to spread to other drivers of PNG.

My purpose in writing all this is simply to let you know of the risks of Pacu. Skulls you ever go swimming in an area populated by these fish you are at risk of sudden and violent attack.

Also, be aware of what this fish dies to the ecology of river systems. They are a disaster. No doubt the authorities axed in goid faith in Sepik, but they were acting on the behaviours they understood about smaller Pacu, probably not taken the larger ones are dabbed not only to the river system, but pose a direct that to human life. Note: Pacu were also introduced to the Ramu River in 1997

I am including the Wikipedia link for the Pacu fish below.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacu

My very best to all in PNG.

Dr Touai Giara Explains Tuberculosis [Goilala Perspective]

What is a GeneXpert Machine?
The Xpert MTB/RIF is a cartridge-based, automated diagnostic test that can identify Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)DNA and resistance to rifampicin (RIF)by nucleic acid amplification technique(NAAT). It was co-developed by the laboratory of Professor David Alland at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).,[1] Cepheid Inc. and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, with additional financial support from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In December 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed the Xpert MTB/RIF for use in TB endemic countries[2] and declared it a major milestone for global TB diagnosis. This followed 18 months of rigorous assessment of its field effectiveness in TB, MDR-TB and TB/HIV co-infection.[3] This test, and others that are likely to follow, have the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis of TB.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeneXpert_MTB/RIF.

Dr Touai Giara and Dr Laiam Kirau explains the seen and unseen obstacles present in Goilala in the Fight Against Tuberculosis.

Firstly, a GenXpert Machine is way too expensive to purchase and is also costly to purchase cartridges to run it. This is the case if the GenXpert machine is to be acquired outside the Health Department Procurement System.

Secondly, it is wise to sort out the basics first. That is, establish a sputum microscopy lab and x-ray facility to implement and improve the DOTS strategy. Then GeneXpert technology comes in later upon reviewing the DOTS program outcomes. Because MDR-TB results from failed DOTS.


District Hospital with doctor position is the prerogative of the provincial health. Local MP needs to continuously liaise with Provincial Health for a fully functioning District Health System and then it is up to the Member to push for that. But we can come in to advice both the MP and the provincial health. [if requested/invited]

Just few explanations;
DOTS (directly observed treatment, short-course), is the name given to the tuberculosis control strategy recommended by the World Health Organization. According to WHO, “The most cost-effective way to stop the spread of TB in communities with a high incidence is by curing it. The best curative method for TB is known as DOTS.” DOTS has five main components:

• Government commitment (including political will at all levels, and establishment of a centralized and prioritized system of TB monitoring, recording and training).

• Case detection by sputum smear microscopy.
• Standardized treatment regimen directly of six to eight months observed by a healthcare worker or community health worker for at least the first two months.
• A regular, uninterrupted drug supply.
• A standardized recording and reporting system that allows assessment of treatment results

MRDT-TB stands for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis simply meaning tuberculosis bugs that do not get killed by TB treatment available.

MOST OF US COMMITTED OUR LIFES FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL NATION OF OURS – Mr GOLU

You like to criticize us but let me tell you that most of us have committed our lives to this beautiful nation of ours.

Papua New Guinea as we all know has a diversity of cultures making Policing here very tough and frustrating but then again it takes someone brave to tackle this diversity in enforcing the Law. Most of us Joined the Police force because we grew up in this disciplined environment or because it was our childhood dream job and not just because we didn’t get a job after school. It is a tough Job though and requires someone with great heart to stand out among the crowd to uphold and enforce the Law.

Though we may be tough in line of our duty and may step out of line in enforcing the Law but than again it shows that we Papua New Guineans have a major Attitude problem. PNG has turned 39th this year and one can ask whether Policing in PNG have lost the plot or whether the people are educated enough and therefore have gone ignorant of the Law.
It simply goes back to you individuals to think and ask yourselves, what have you done as an individual to uphold the Law?

Have you ever discipline your children? Have you gone out to your villages, hausline and inform them what is right and what is wrong? Have you ever stood up and tell someone what he’s doing was wrong, or have you all turned a blind eye and walked away because that is not your Job.

We have stood out from the crowd and have sacrificed our lives so that you and your family can enjoy this life and not being bullied by certain individuals, robbed by criminals, terrorized by ethnic groups or warlords in this beautiful country of ours..

Our families too have come to realize and understand the type of job we do because even though we don’t spend most of our time with our loved ones, whether it be on our kids birthdays, special events or on Christmas holidays, they know that we love our job and our country to serve with dignity and pride.

To the haters out there, think before you criticize us because one fine day you will run to the Police for help..the negative remarks made by individuals on the social media will not destroy us but can be taken as a wake up call to those members who have stepped out of line and remember that the people of this country are watching us on how we perform our duties..I know we all love our Job and we will strive to do our best whether it be in the city, towns or in the rural communities of Papua New Guinea..that is why we swore an oath to do our job without fear, favor, malice or ill will..

To all my comrades attached to the Police stations, or away from your families on duty travel (SSD), stand tall and do your jobs professionally!

source: https://www.facebook.com/mike.golu

WARNING SYSTEM DID NOT GO OFF BEFORE IMPACT – PRELIMINARY REPORT[Mt LAWES CRASH]

The preliminary report into the Twin Otter crash at Mt Lawes in which four people died has revealed that a warning system did not sound off before impact.

This was revealed by the Air Crash Investigation Commission when it released the report today.

Both pilots of the aircraft and two passengers died in the crash on Sept 20th 2014 just before landing at Jackson Airport in Port Moresby.

The preliminary report was presented by AIC Chief Executive Officer David Inau, technical adviser Peter White, and AIC commissioners. Inau said from the outset that the preliminary report into aviation occurrences is factual and does not contain analysis, conclusions or recommendations.

The report was made following data downloaded from recording devices on board the aircraft.

It was presented to the media on the flight details of the Twin Otter, named Kilo Sierra Foxtrot, that left Woitape in Goilala on the morning of Sept 20th at 9:16am with two crew and seven passengers on a charter flight.

The weather in Woitape was fine however in Port Moresby it was poor, with low cloud cover and rain.

As it approached Port Moresby, Air Traffic Control cleared the flight crew to descend while maintaining visual separation from the terrain at the same time.

This was repeated as they descended.

When the aircraft was within 10 nautical miles of the airport, the pilot contacted the tower and mentioned the Instrument Landing System (ILS) but he did not request a discontinuation of the visual approach and he did not request radar vectors to position the aircraft for the Instrument Landing System.

Responding, the tower did not mention the ILS and repeated the clearance to make a visual approach. The clearance was read back by the pilot and soon afterwards, the air craft struck Mt Lawes.

The Twin Otter was fitted with an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System and preliminary indications from the cockpit voice recording are that aural warnings which are expected to go off from this equipment did not sound before the impact.

Inau said that a full and thorough investigation into the tragic incident will be conducted. This he said is expected to take months.

He thanked the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for assisting in downloading the information and presenting it to the AIC.

He also paid respects to the lives lost on the tragic morning.

PANDANUS – In PICTURES [GOILALA]

PANDANUS – UNIQUELY GOILALA?

Pandanus, screw pine, or Pandan  is a genus of monocots with about 600 known species. They are palm-like, dioecious trees and shrubs native to the Old World tropics and subtropics. They are classified in the order Pandanales, family Pandanaceae.

Description:
Often called pandanus palms, these plants are not closely related to palm trees. The species vary in size from small shrubs less than 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, to medium-sized trees 20 m (66 ft) tall, typically with a broad canopy, heavy fruit, and moderate growth rate. The trunk is stout, wide-branching, and ringed with many leaf scars. They commonly have many thick prop roots near the base, which provide support as the tree grows top-heavy with leaves, fruit, and branches. These roots are adventitious and often branched. The top of the plant has one or more crowns of strap-shaped leaves that may be spiny,varying between species from 30 cm (12 in) to 2 m (6.6 ft) or longer, and from 1.5 cm (0.59 in) up to 10 cm (3.9 in) broad.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus

A plantation of pandanus trees along the road at Yeme Village.  Yeme is situated between Woitape Government station and Kosipe Mission station.
A plantation of pandanus trees along the road at Yeme Village.
Yeme is situated between Woitape Government station and Kosipe Mission station.

I might be selfish and quick to proclaim that this particular species of Pandanus trees are predominantly found in Goilala ONLY and nowhere else. I stand ready to be proven otherwise.

In Goilala, there are three languages. The Gunimaipas, Tauwades and the Fuyuges.

The Gunimaipa speaking Goilalas cover the Northen side of the District, sharing boarders with the Waria-Garaina folks from Morobe Province and also the Kaintiba-Malalaua folks from the Gulf Province.

The Tauwades are in the middle. But shares some bit of their boarder with the Sohe District of Oro/Northen Province as well as Morobe Patrol Post of Morobe Province.

Fuyuges on the other hand runs more or less parallel to the North Province starting from Sohe District in Popondettta down through to sharing land boundaries with the Koiari people in Central Province. The Fuyuges even has land that stretches down deep within the Kairuku Hiri electorate. Which is not the intention of this Blog Post. But as the picture shows, and according to GOOGLE, it seems Google knows something we dont know here in Papua New Guinea.

 

The District map showing the 3 different language groups
The District map showing the 3 different language groups

Pandanus trees, or “Karuka in Tok Pidgin” is grown all across Goilala. It is generally accepted that for Pandanus trees to survive, this particular species, it needs very large amount of rain fall. And Goilala District is naturally provides that in bucket loads. The climate, presumably has to be cold, moderately cold, with temperatures dropping to below 20 degree celsius. Goilala has a template climate, which during a normal tropical day, with cloudless blue skies, its humid and during nights, it can get chillingly cold.

Pandanus tree are champions of the cold climate and they can survive even if the temperatures drop below human survival ranges.

In Goilala, there are four types of Pandanus trees, which are normally used for consumption. Out of these 4, 2 are grown by humans, and the other two are wild. Those that are grown by humans are generally done by nursery seedlings germination whereby the nuts from a ripe pandanus is planted into selected spots to grow. These nuts can take up to 6-12months to be considered ready for transplanting.

The advisable stage to start transplanting these young pandanus trees is when they are up to knee heights. So even when these pandanus nuts has grown from the necessary, it is encouraged to let them grown fully before they can be transplanted. So the length of time it takes from planting selected nuts into a nursery to eventually planting these grown new pandanus tree can vary from 2-3years maximum.  Leaving the new pandanus trees to fully grow into knee heights guarantees its survival when transplanted. Planting young not matured new pandanus trees runs the risk of been over grown by bushes and dying of suffocation. Its advisable to let the young pandanus trees to reach near maturity and independent stages so when transplanted, they can survive even in harsh conditions where they are starved of sunlight and water.

After these newly transplanted pandanus trees are duged into the soil, they are left to grow. Its takes them another 3-4years to settle in, find their place and starts to grow. The owners have help these new trees to find their space.

The owners do so by clearing bushes, cutting down overgrown trees nearby and any vines and shrubs that is deemed blockades to the pandanus trees chances of getting sunlight. [see picture]

Young Pandanus Trees after been transplated from their nurseries, grown into this stage but bushes and trees and shrubs and vines has to be cleared to allow sunlight to reach them
Young Pandanus Trees after been transplanted from their nurseries, grown into this stage but bushes and trees and shrubs and vines has to be cleared to allow sunlight to reach them

The advantage of pandanus trees is its not labour intensive. The amount of time employed from seedlings been put into nursery, to transplanting young and ready pandanus tree ointo selected land plots and clearing of bushes to enable the young pandanus trees to get access to ample sunlight is not demanding.

The major disadvantage associated with pandanus trees is, once a plot of land is assigned to planting pandanus, that piece of land is no longer available for farming of any sort. The roots of pandanus trees are so huge and spreads out and cover soil completely that planting of food crops of any sort becomes a near impossibility. The only time this plot of land becomes available again is when these pandanus trees are old and chopped or burnt down.  After these pandanus trees are burnt or chopped down, nature is allowed to take charge of the land beneath and over a year or two the land then becomes available for use.

Matured Pandanus trees at Yeme, Woitape LLG, Goilala

Pandanus Plantation at Yeme
Pandanus Plantation at Yeme

There is no written MANUAL or HOW_TO_DO handbook which dictates the way in which these germination to transplanting to caring of new and young pandanus trees are followed. All these guidelines, how_to_do advise and techniques are been passed down from generation to generation. [word mouth]

Having said that, there is no new, improved, scientifically confirmed and advisable tutoring on the way new pandanus trees should be nursed, and transplanted.

This might be because of the fact that this species of pandanus trees and their nurserying methods and techniques are a dying practice that after a generation or two will disappear into oblivion. Its a dying way of life, that if not documented while such is been practiced, it can disappear with time.

Next Blog Post – USES OF PANDANUS TREES IN GOILALA BY GOILALAS.

 

ALLUVIAL GOLD MINING – CAN IT BE MANAGED/CONTROLLED?

Gold Defination:

a precious yellow metallic element, highly malleable and ductile, and not subject to oxidation or corrosion. Symbol: Au; atomic weight: 196.967; atomic number. [DictionaryDOTcom]

Anyone that gets involved in this Gold business – Buying/Selling – knows too well how very lucrative the whole business is. Everyone that is involved in this business, from the simple villager who spends his time panning for alluvial gold to some money bag carrying tycoon from a land far off all benefits.

Gold business is also a very risky business. It can lead to one loosing their life. And it can even lead to one loosing all they have. Bankruptcy someone become a reality when smart careful approach is not engaged.

On the other hand, if your lucky stars are smiling down on you, you can become a millionaire in a short space of time.


GOLD BUSINESS – KOKODA WAY

Kokoda is stuck up at the foot of Mt Victoria. Mt Victoria is situated along the Owen Stanley ranges, which is part of the Central Ranges that runs through the whole mainland New Guinea. Mt Victoria can be seen clearly from Kokoda or if one walks the famous and historical Kokoda Track. Central Ranges can be fairly termed as the spinal cord of mainland Papua New Guinea [and Indonesia too]

Starting from OK Tedi, Pogera, Mt Kare, Hidden Valley, Wafi, Tolukuma and Misima Gold mines, this whole Central Range unmistakenly has very enormous deposits of Gold which if mined can set our nation on its path to economic supremacy.

But the management and extraction of Gold is not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article is the struggle the small rural alluvial Gold miners have to live through to get their findings to be marketed to the businessmen who flock into Kokoda through chartered planes or fly into Popondetta and drive up to Kokoda using PMVs or hire vehicles.

With the Gold price down internationally, the current buying price [highest] at Kokoda is K70.00 per gram, with the lowest buying price is K50.00 per gram.
Alluvial Gold mining is not as easy as one may assume. Its pain staking. Risky. Tiring. Boring. Depressing. And can be stressful.

The struggles that the small people through and the unexpected nature of this whole business makes this business one hard and complex business to manage, control and monitor.

The is no gurrantee these two floaters will reach their final destination uncharttered.  As the river goes downstream, its joined by other rivers which make it grow and increase in the flow and with increase size comes risk of capsizing.
The is no guarantee these two floaters will reach their final destination unchattered
As the river goes downstream, its joined by other rivers which make it grow and increase in the flow and with increase size comes risk of capsizing.

If some mechanisms and systems and processes can be put in place to control the gold seller and gold buyer activity, so everyone involved can benefits satisfactorily is one dark grey area that seem to not get much attention from the authorities.

Sellers are forced to sell their gold cheaply while the buyer is not so sure if he/she is buying the real gold. Both parties stand to loose in this whole arrangement if things don’t work out as expected.

If the gold is fake, then the buyer looses his money. If the buyer is not honest and genuine, and forces sellers to sell at the lowest price, all the sweat and sacrifice and stress that the poor alluvial miner has gone through to get this gold  goes to waste because the price is not fair and high.

A seller, when he/she brings the  gold out to sell, and with timing running out, and the need to buy necessities that he/she has to bring home pressing, whichever buyer comes his/her way, gets to be the only  option he/she has. Hence a sale is done irrespective of the correctness and fairness of this transaction.

If the authorities can come up with arrangement which will control both parties and at the same time make it conducive for both parties to freely engaged into this business deal with the understanding that everyone will go home satisfied, a lot of alluvial miners will be very much self reliant and independent.

Right now, there is no guarantee for anyone and everyone involved in this gold selling/buying deal  to confidently say they will success and benefit without a shadow of a doubt.