Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cocoa pod borer

Did you know that there’s such a thing as a cocoa pod borer? No? It’s probably not really something that you’ve wondered about. Well yes, there is a cocoa pod borer and it has devastated the local cocoa crops here. People here used to produce a lot of cocoa as their cash crop, but since the borer came in, they switched to copra (coconut). However it is much harder work to produce copra, and recently the value of copra has gone down too.

The World Bank helped to fund the provision of a new type of cocoa plant that is more resistant to the cocoa pod borer. Villagers can buy young cocoa plants and start new cocoa gardens, but first they have to clear the ground of their old and pretty useless cocoa plants, so this was happening a lot recently.

Here are a couple of photos of rather sad-looking, felled cocoa plots.

These cocoa plots don’t look like that any more. They now have young cocoa plants growing in them. I should take photos when I’m there again to show you the difference. There was a while there when people had got their cocoa plants and they were in the village, needing to be taken up to the gardens, and they were carried up in the usual manner here, in the traditional backpacks. It looked rather funny to me, seeing the tips of the small trees peeping over people’s shoulders. I also got involved and carried two plants up once.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tsikaut views

I often post photos of views on my blog, and usually they’re either taken at Buka or in the Teop area. But today we have some different views – ones that don’t normally feature on my blog, because I’m not at Tsikaut very often. Tsikaut is at the north of mainland Bougainville. I went there one Sunday for church when I was staying with some friends for a weekend at Sohano Island. Anyway, I hope you enjoy these views taken from Tsikaut.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Soccer – what can we say about it? It’s a sport, and sports are good because they give people something to do and hopefully keep them out of trouble. During the January school holidays, there were a lot of soccer matches happening over at Teop Island and a lot of people went, either to play or to watch. I didn’t go very many times, but here are some photos from when I did go.