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Tribe in Papua New Guinea reaps benefits of Craig's ocean voyages

Staff Reporter 2/12/2013 | |

Vital support: Craig Hand with village elder Gwama in the Lom River in the Western Province of PNGMEET Craig "Crackers" Hand, the Far North's accidental humanitarian. Image credit: Cairns Post
After setting out on a solo voyage in his trusty 4.5m boat to Papua New Guinea four years ago, Mr Hand has turned the journey into a regular trip to donate much-needed equipment to a small tribe in the country's Western Province.
"My first trip I left Cape York and ended up going to Papua New Guinea and met a tribe there," he said.
"I was the first tourist they had ever seen."
During his three visits with the Sibidiri tribe, the self-described jack-of-all-trades has brought with him everything from mosquito nets and fishing reels to building materials and reading glasses.
The founder of non-profit group Friends of PNG said he had happily shrugged off the lure of a big payday at the mines to continue his charity work.
"It just gives them a bit of hope," Mr Hand said.
"The coastal areas tend to get aid from Australia but some of the inland tribes get forgotten."
During his second trip Mr Hand also helped set up a VHF aerial, climbing a 130m tower to install the device.
The aerial helps provide vital emergency communications.
"It means that if there was a medical emergency they can let people know they were coming or that they needed help," he said.
Mr Hand will host a free talk about his experiences at Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron at Tingira Street at 7pm on Friday.
Cairns Post

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