Home Forums General Forums Articles and Stories Angels Of The Trail – Article By Malum Nalu

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    To read between the lines of ?Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels?, the celebrated poem by Australian digger Bert Beros, will drive you to tears.

    The poem, which whilst sentimental, touches a chord that has endured to this day in the hearts of both Australians and Papua New Guineans.

    It tells of the prayers of worried Australian mothers, whose young sons are fighting the Japanese on the rugged Kokoda Trail, and how their prayers are answered in the form of ?fuzzy wuzzy angels?.

    Tha famous photograph of Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Raphael Oimbari leading wounded Australia soldier Dick Whittington:



    Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

    Many a mother in Australia when the busy day is done
    Sends a prayer to the Almighty for the keeping of her son
    Asking that an angel guide him and bring him safely back
    Now we see those prayers are answered on the Owen Stanley Track.

    For they haven't any halos only holes slashed in their ears
    And their faces worked by tattoos with scratch pins in their hair
    Bringing back the badly wounded just as steady as a horse
    Using leaves to keep the rain off and as gentle as a nurse

    Slow and careful in the bad places on the awful mountain track
    They look upon their faces would make you think Christ was black
    Not a move to hurt the wounded as they treat him like a saint
    It's a picture worth recording that an artist's yet to paint

    Many a lad will see his mother and husbands see their wives
    Just because the fuzzy wuzzy carried them to save their lives
    From mortar bombs and machine gun fire or chance surprise attacks
    To the safety and the care of doctors at the bottom of the track

    May the mothers of Australia when they offer up a prayer
    Mention those impromptu angels with their fuzzy wuzzy hair.

    – Bert Beros

    Isurava Monument on the Kokoda Trail :



    Those dark days of WW11 are well and truly over but today, a younger, modern ?fuzzy wuzzy angel?is continuing the great tradition of its grandfathers.

    These are the guides and porters of the Kokoda Trail, who bring overseas trekkers over this famous wartime icon.

    Many of these young men, from the Koiari and Orokaiva villages along the trail, would not otherwise get paid employment in town.

    The booming tourism industry along the Kokoda Trail is offering them a chance to earn money, rather than indulge in a life of crime like many of their peers.

    Eric from Koiari one of our guides seen here on the Kokoda Trail May, 2003 :



    Visitors trek along the trail, including a 1996 trek, which included Australian TV personalities such as Angry Anderson, Colette Mann, and others.

    Young men from all villages along the trail, are employed as a guide and porters to ensure you are safe should you decide to come to PNG and walk the Kokoda Trail.

    ?It gives them a chance to earn an income and also helps to curb the law and order problem".

    ?Trekkers walking along the trail is very good for the economy all the way from Sogeri to Kokoda.

    Exhausted – Amelia Peters (lawyer from Brisbane) is urged on by Paul, her personal porter, to cross one of the many rivers on the Kokoda Trail June, 2003 :



    Minama Yarea, a Koiari porter, says the Koiari Local Level Government and other relevant authorities should look at providing proper training for the guides and porters.

    ?They should help the young men in courses such as tourism, first aid, cooking, and others,? he told me.

    ?However, we want to see proper shelters, bridges, and toilets built along the trail.

    ?The airstrips (all of which now don?t have regular flights) should be re?opened.

    ?This will help the local people take their produce to market, as well as help to airlift trekkers who may be in an emergency.

    Jubilant Trekkers, porters and guide at Ower's Corner :



    ?This should apply to the young people all the way from the Koiari villages in Sogeri to the Orokaiva villages in Kokoda.

    ?It would also be a good idea to have proper monuments placed in all major battle sites.

    ?People should be engaged to clean up the monuments.

    ?There should also be a proper border mark to show the boundaries of Central and Northern (Oro) provinces.

    ?I appeal to all Koiaris to work together and give their support towards the cause of the Kokoda Trail.?

    Russell Eroro, from Kokoda, is a harden veteran of the trail having trekked it 126 times since 1992.

    ?Tourism is bringing positive benefits to the people,? he said.

    Russel Eroro, our Chief Guide from Kokoda – (PNG Trekking Ltd):



    ?At our end, our local Kokoda leaders should put their heads together and do something about the trail.

    ?Locals should be engaged in cleaning monuments.
    ?There should be proper camping sites.

    ?Tourists spend a lot on coming to come into PNG and walk the Kokoda Trail, so the government should put some money back into the trail.

    ?The other major thing I would like to see is proper training courses for guides and porters, for example, there should be trained cooks to cater for trekkers.?

    Oscar Sisiva, another young man from Manurinumu village is Sogeri, says the trail should be properly maintained as it is the only major money spinner for villages all the way from Sogeri to Kokoda.

    ?Some parts of the trail are very bad,? he said.

    ?Money should be given to villages to maintain the trail.

    Personal Porter, Arthur, lends a helping hand to Linda Hammond from Victoria to cross one of the many rivers on the Kokoda Trail :



    ?This money should be given to villages starting from Vesulogo, Girinumu, Nauro, Manari, Efogi, Naduri, Kagi, Alola, Hoi, Kovelo, and then Kokoda Station.

    ?Money will go to the villages and they will clear the trail, build rest houses, and lift up bridges.

    ?Each village will be responsible for its own area.

    ?It will cause a lot of problems if a trekker is injured, for example during a flood.

    Porters Paul Taboro and Arthus Wahia out on the Kokoda Trail :



    ?The memorial at Ower?s corner is another problem.

    ?The from (from Ower?s Corner to Sogeri) should be fixed.

    ?This causes a lot of inconvenience.

    ?A lot of times, we innocent porters are blamed.?

    The guides and porters of the Kokoda Trail, unlike many of their peers who roam around aimlessly in our towns and cities, know the importance of the Kokoda Trail.

    It has given them a new lease on life.

    Summary: ?Mining and petroleum will finish, but tourism will remain.?

    Overlooking Menari Village – Photograph taken by my son, Nathan Thomas, July 2003 :

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