By Oala Moi – Tuesday 6 March 2012 – Port Moresby
In 2015 the Pacific Games will return to Papua New Guinea just 24 years after the country hosted the 9th South Pacific Games. Despite the name change, the spirit behind the Games concept is as alive and relevant as ever. And the Pacific Games 2015 Organizing Committee is on the hunt for volunteers. For many thirty-something Papua New Guineans, it is their chance to volunteer all over again. For them, this is special as it allows them to narrate to their children what transpired during the 1991 South Pacific Games Opening and Closing ceremonies. For me it is indeed special. I have my Certificate of Appreciation from the 1991 Games to prove it. These certificates were presented to volunteers as a commendation for their efforts. Mine was given as a token of appreciation for my part as a member of the ‘balloon brigade’ that took part in the opening ceremony. If you see the music video to a song performed by Loujaya Dunar & Tambaran Culture called ‘Keep The Fire Alive’, a track from the 1991 Games Album, the boys and girls surrounding a giant PNG flag with nets full of colourful helium-filled balloons ready to be released into the sky; that is the balloon brigade. I received my certificate way back as a fifteen year old kid attending Gerehu High School. For the 2015 Games, I am definitely volunteering. However, this time I want to help in an ancillary capacity. I think I owe it to the school kids today to take the 2015 Games Opening and Closing ceremonies to the next level. So that if and when the next Pacific Games should come back to PNG, they will tell their kids about Pacific Games 2015 the same way I am now telling my kids about the 1991 South Pacific Games. It may be all about sportsmanship and friendship across the Pacific. But it should also be about Papua New Guineans creating and remembering good times together.