Emmaus Farm

Emmaus Farm

John Gartner, an engineer from Mt Lawley WA, is volunteering with the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga in Western Province, PNG.

I have done a lot of work in relation to developing a business case to justify the purchase of a 15 metre boat; eaglewood plantations; the four PNG Sustainable Development Projects (PNGSDP) Ltd projects; miscellaneous advice for Bishop and have participated in pastoral activities. Importantly, I have been coordinating the activities at Emmaus farm – a significant workload, but an exciting one.

Emmaus farm received a full enrolment when it reopened for business this year. Twenty students started their experience at Emmaus Farm on Monday 14 February 2011. They all came from villages and towns in Western Province, including Boset, Tmoknai, Kungim and Kiunga.

Emmaus Farm provides an opportunity for young men to learn life skills on which they can build a future for themselves. Emmaus Farm’s goal is to foster a quality of life for young men and the people of their villages, while promoting rural development, poverty reduction and personal development.

The farm provides a good opportunity for young men to live on a farm, find compassion, love, counselling and skills training through work. They will gain practical skills in English, maths, some business management and health care, including HIV/AIDS awareness, music and sport as well as important farming skills. They will learn about transparency, accountability and integrity in their personal lives and their dealings with others.

I had been giving it some serious thinking about how to provide practical English lessons. In the end, I decided to investigate using Rostrum style meetings and obtained resource materials from Rostrum Queensland for the speaking notes. I gave a demonstration meeting, in which I read the Gettysburg address and prepared a thumbnail sketch of myself as examples for them to follow.

One boy, of many who hadn’t prepared anything, hadn’t any idea where to start. We sat down and worked through all the questions I could think of to find out what interested him. He didn’t know his birth date, but did know his age. He didn’t know his father’s name and it took him a while to decide he was one of four children and he was the second child.

I found out he finished school in year 6 and for the last 10 years had been doing not much at the village. He did like to go fishing and we developed a story around that interest. I wrote it out for him and I ran through it once or twice. I left him to re-write it and learn it with a friend from the village. Interestingly he went very quiet when I asked if he had a girlfriend, which he admitted, but couldn’t tell me her name or anything about her. Bishop said later, in some clans it wasn’t permitted to mention their names. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. On the day he at least had a go, even if he needed prompts. I think he will get better as he masters English and deals with more familiar subjects.