Liz Cosson - Paradise destroyed
I remember when the Herc landed in Bougainville and just getting off the aircraft and being met by my predecessor and the commander had come out to the aircraft to meet us. And I remember the heat, I remember, oh goodness me, just the overwhelming humidity and the heat and we're driving along the roads and as we were driving along the road, my predecessor at the time was pointing out some different landmarks leading into town, of destruction and I had recalled as a child being an army brat with my father serving, one of his friends had actually worked in the copper mines up in Bougainville and they were pointing out the old country club, and the Yacht Club and how they used to be thriving with expats, you know, people used to live and there was a tropical paradise, Bowmanville.
And what I was seeing was just destruction and the roads were just ruined and getting into the town and seeing how the whole community, all that the main city had gone. There was no office life there, there were no shops, it was just destroyed. And that was really heartbreaking to know that it had been once a thriving paradise, that's how it had been described to me, to one that now was so desperate to find that peace and to rebuild that community. And it made our job even more important because you could see that destruction, it was there every day you woke up.