Jimmy Jacobs, ADRA PNG project coordinator
I am a person who has a low self-esteem and just completing this really helps me to see that I can do anything. If I can climb Kokoda, there’s nothing impossible to do in life. Secondly, I think it’s important to really take serious consideration when it comes to healthy living and healthy lifestyle . . . it’s a big consideration in this country, especially in the Church, were we have lost a lot of leaders [through lifestyle disease]. This [trek] really helps me to maintain my health, to keep doing the right thing, to exercise, so I can continue to do the work that the Lord has called me to do.
Junior Sulusi, 10,000 Toes advocate and type 2 diabetes sufferer
I believe [this trip] is going to leave a lifelong impression. My highlight is when we had the memorial dawn service. I’ve become more appreciative of the freedoms I’m able to experience because of these men who gave their lives for a worthy cause. There is nothing more important to me than freedom. Nothing.
One of the main lessons I take away from Kokoda is the preciousness of life, because life is fragile. That’s what I want to take back home; to remind those around me that we can’t take life for granted. One moment you’re here the next moment you’re gone.
Vladka Henley, Central Coast Adventist School teacher
It was very challenging but really rewarding. Spending Sabbath with the Kagi community was really amazing. Walking into every village when we were welcomed with singing, with flowers, with gifts . . . the generosity and the love of the communities was just overwhelmingly touching. Keep going! No matter what life throws at you keep going, and when you have support with people around you and particularly with God supporting you through life, it makes the journey so much better.
Gad Koito, PNGUM Health director
You know this is my first time and it was a great walk. A lot of mountains to climb, rivers to cross, bridges . . . I’m so happy that I’m part of the team. I’ve never visited this part of PNG. And being part of the team and being able to educate people in the villages along the track about diabetes, I think it’s worth spending money on it.
Now I’m feeling fit and better. I’d encourage others to have a go and walk the Kokoda Track. The personal benefit I got from the track was good health.
Rob Scoines, Sanitarium NZ general manager
That was a special trip. There was the trek itself, the physical and historical stuff, but there’s all the other [things we experienced that a normal group may not]—the church connections and the welcomes and the hospitality of the people and all that.
The selflessness of the people here, I can’t get over it. [It is] very different to what we’re used to. They have so little compared to what we’ve got yet they give everything. So if I can be a bit more selfless, that would be a great take away—if I look back on these photos and keep reminding myself about that, that would be a win for me.
Paul Rubessa, ADRA Australia CEO
The hardest bit, probably comes down to that first day, when it was pelting down with rain and we were trying to do those very steep descents—that was just so much more difficult than I was anticipating.
One take way for me is that as a Church we’re a really strong unit. And across countries—in this group we’re AUST NZ PNG—we are really one family when we get together. Sometimes you forget that but it was just really evident throughout this trip.