Josephine Getsi is the only female within the Autonomous Bougainville Government to hold a ministerial position, and the only female to be elected by her constituents across both the Bougainville House of Reps and PNG’s National Parliament. The only female.
In her 60s she sprints through the bush like a teenager and was the first to jump out of our boat when we hit dry land due to the tide being so low, as we wound our way down a narrow river that was, supposedly, crocodile-infested.
I was lucky enough to spend the past couple of days with Minister Getsi as she visited her constituency to conduct awareness sessions on the upcoming referendum in Bougainville that will see the region make a choice on its political future.
I got a bit of a much-needed shot of enthusiasm these past few days, not only from Minister Getsi but from others like Stanley, an inmate at the local correctional institute who has just eight months left to serve on his sentence; someone who spoke so eloquently about the right to a second chance in life, as well as Brexit and the political future of Great Britain.
Then there was Innocent, who not only has one of the greatest names I’ve ever come across, but was also someone who filled me with stories from his life and his local community, and provided me with the opportunity to marry one of his sisters should I ever need a good and strong, and possibly much older, woman in my life.
And then Moses, who spent two years in Sydney training to be a Marist brother but failed miserably as he found that his calling was more inline with the nightclubs of Kings Cross, and not that of the man upstairs.
This is just a microcosm of the good that exists across not just Bougainville, but Papua New Guinea as a whole. This is such a brilliant place, but sometimes you need days like the past few to remind you of that.