So, late one Friday afternoon in 2009 when I was asked if I’d go to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to keep the office running for three months while they recruited a new Country Manager, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes. And it’s a ‘yes’ I haven’t regretted once over the last seven years.
I arrived in Port Moresby to an empty office, with very little idea about PNG agriculture, fisheries or forestry but a desire to explore and learn. I was, and still am, completely blown away by this spectacular country. It is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before and has surpassed every expectation. PNG has some of the most kind and generous people, and most breathtaking countryside I’ve ever seen.
I spent the first few years asking questions and I’m sure I must have driven my colleagues mad. I am forever grateful for the patience, kindness, time and wisdom shared with me by the ACIAR Research Program Managers, project teams and partner organisation staff. It must have been confusing and amusing to have the new ACIAR Country Manager asking ‘what’s that?’ to obvious things like sweetpotato and banana, but I didn’t notice too much laughter.
|Emily (second from left) with her Country Office colleagues in Panang earlier this year. Photo: ACIAR|
My life has changed over my time at ACIAR, and particularly my time in PNG. I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. To everyone I’ve met along my journey, thanks and best wishes.
By Emily Flowers, Country Manager Papua New Guinea, ACIAR