A "sing sing" to welcome a sawmill to the Lake Murray area of Western Province, Papua New Guinea
The sawmill arrived by boat at Ogia, a village on the eastern
shore ofLake Murray to a traditional welcome, "sing-sing" and feast
prepared bythe whole village.
Painted elders rushed the boat, firing arrows overhead, while
thewomen on the lake edge sang the sawmill and representatives
ofnon-government organisations (NGOs) ashore.
In grass skirts and with purple and yellow flowers in their
hair,the women sang gospel songs of praise and celebration. "We are
happytoday, we are happy today," they serenaded, while the
"dignitaries"stepped off the boats and were garlanded with
The singers and arrival party formed a procession for the
sawmill,which was taken along a palm frond-lined walkway to its
enclosure. Abamboo grandstand, built for the occasion, faced the
sawmill. Aftermore songs and speeches, the sawmill was assembled
under the avid gazeof some 100 men, women and children.
The arrival of the sawmill is the culmination of several
years'hard work in fighting illegal logging and developing
community-basedsolutions throughout the Lake Murray area.
Brian Daniel, forester with Foundation for People and
CommunityDevelopment (FPCD), one of the key NGOs in this
ecoforestry initiative,officially handed over the sawmill to Oleng
Seote, a village leader.
"The work of FCPD is about helping communities acquire the
skillsand equipment to be able to manage their own resources and
forestssustainably," said Daniel.
FPCD is providing the sawmill in a "lease to purchase"
agreementwhich allows the clan to pay for the sawmill with future
income fromthe timber it cuts and sells.
The sawmill will then be passed on, so another clan on the Lake
to do the same.
Community ecoforestry will protect and preserve the
landowners'forests, the source of their food and shelter, and
provide a return4-10 times greater than royalties paid by the
It will also provide sawn timber for house construction,
employmentfor the young men as well as income for school fees,
health costs andbuilding materials.
Along with FPCD, Greenpeace is working with Barefoot, a
communitydevelopment organisation, and Celcor, which provides
landowner legalsupport, to assist the landowners to register their
land, survey forestareas and prepare for milling to begin.
By providing volunteers and logistical support, our Global
Forest Rescue Station (GFRS) is accelerating this process.