Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project


Title: An open ocean in an open boat

Location : Ninigo atoll, Papua New Guinea

Year : 2009

This area is very remote, over 100 miles north of the mainland of Papua New Guinea.

A friend's wife had recently given birth to a girl child who had become very ill. The nearest medical assistance (hospital) was over 140 nautical miles away (280 kms) on the mainland. He was able to borrow a boat (an open 6 metre fibreglass boat with an outboard), stocked it with 2 x 200 litre drums of fuel (that he also borrowed) and took his wife an child across that distance of open ocean, without any communication, without any backup engine, knowing that if he the motor broke down then they would most likely never be found and most likely eventually die of thirst which is not an uncommon occurrence in many parts of the Pacific. PNG, like many 3rd world or developing countries have almost no resources to carry out any Search & Rescue operations. An overdue party in the open ocean over a time frame of perhaps several days would result in passing marine traffic being asked to keep a look out for.

I don't know what happened regarding the fuel that he borrowed, but perhaps the "One Tok" system meant he did not have to repay. The One Tok system basically means that you can use/take/request anything from a person who is classed as one of your "One Tok" or a person who is from your village, regardless of where you are or where they are. Exclusive personal property isn't a concept that is part of their traditional lives.

And you'll be happy to know that their daughter survived.


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