I had a wonderful porter Joe who was always there when I needed him BUT my husband had a valet! As we were frantically packing our packs with sleeping bags and mats to be ready for the war cry, my husband was stretching and saying, “What’s for breakfast?” as Aix packed his bag and tent. I’m taking off my boots and tying them around my neck for a river crossing and I look across to see my husband is leaning back on a rock with one leg up and Aix is taking off his boots. My husband said to Aix “Do you always get the old and slow trekkers?” “No, I sometimes get the young and slow ones”. Priceless.
My beautiful porter David could see I was struggling each day and would gently say to me every so often, “It’s ok Tamara, just take small steps. You’ll get there in the end”. Such encouraging words for the track and in life that I had them tattooed onto my wrist to remind me of the challenges Kokoda threw at me and an everlasting tribute to David.
I had the privilege of walking the track in 2017 with the Kokoda Youth Program, with Sibona by my side a lot of the way. Though slight in size, quiet and softly spoken, he is a strong and dedicated porter, proud of his beautiful country and people. Many times, when I thought the uphill steps were getting easier, I turned to see Sibona with a strong arm pushing up my pack, to help me. When I stopped to rest, he would run ahead for 10 minutes, training for a Kokoda marathon, and then run back to meet us, and carry his pack again. He’s a gem!
I completed the June 2018 trek... Sailas was an inspiration throughout the whole trek... He was there when needed, and obviously knew I wanted to be outside my comfort zone as i needed it... The tattoo will be forever my memento... But still contemplating doing another trek...
My porter Ice was a godsend. He was my rock over the eight days. He realised going up the hill on day 1 that it was going to be a loooong week for him! While I was struggling to get up the hill, he grabbed my hand and asked me what I thought his job was to which I replied, “to carry my bag” only to have him say “Miss Lauren I am your porter, I do everything”. He wasn’t bloody wrong! He held my hand tough inclines and tricky declines, if he went left, I went right as he was giving me the easier route, he would have my clothes out drying during morning tea and lunch time and at the end of the day my thongs would be waiting at my feet as soon as I started to undo the laces of my boots. Whenever I wanted to do something Ice would say “I am your porter Miss, I do it”. The only time he didn’t do something were the few times I asked for a piggy back!!! Day in and day out Ice had to listen to me talk a fair bit of rubbish and continually ask “are we almost at our break” or “is the toughest climb of the day?”. The other trekkers of #tribewhizbang began to feel pretty sorry for Ice and it became an ongoing joke that I wouldn’t be able to repay him once we were done and that he may need to see a psychologist!! On the second day Ice told me that he was my Papua New Guinean brother. He is my PNG brother for life. I am forever in debt and thankful to have him as my porter.
I’ll never forget Dickson, he made one of the biggest impacts on me. Every second of everyday he held my hand and never let me go. His little nods of acknowledgement helped me. On one of my hardest days I wasn’t feeling too well and felt as though I couldn’t make it up the hill to Kagi, he grabbed my hand and pulled me all the way up that hill like an owner pulling their stubborn puppy who doesn’t want to walk on the lead. I’ve probably held hands with him more than I have with my own boyfriend if I’m honest, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because he was one of the sweetest and kindest men I had ever met and had a beautiful singing voice that I will never forget. Forever grateful.
Wow. My porter Aaron was a man of few words but without a lot of carry on made an old girl feel safe. They joked about us looking like ball room dancers. Geez I wish I sang Bonney M songs before last 2 days. I’m sure we would have been much closer through the whole trip!!! Dry boots and clothes. Secure feeling on edges of steep terrain and at all times, if I’m honest. Such fond memories.
My name is Laurel and I was part of the September 2018 trek. Throughout my 10 days of trekking I had Charlie by my side most of the time. Charlie was my rock over the 10 days. He helped me most of the way and always lent a hand when I needed. There was a day where is was torrential rain and extremely bad. Charlie held my hand up to the very top of the hill until I was up, and he didn’t let go. We both finally made it to the top and of course I was last but lucky I had Charlie by my side. Without Charlie, I don’t know if I could have completed trek. I’m forever grateful for the boys and their hard work to make sure everybody is doing well and making sure to provide for us at all times. I’m also great full for their singing and for the boys making our meals and making sure we had everything we needed though out the days. Also, a very big thank you to Mick and Nicole for making everything possible.