Back Track’s Involvement along the Kokoda Track
Back Track Adventures have been operating treks along the Kokoda Track since 2002. We have a close and respectful relationship with the local Koiari people and all villages along the track. We established a base in Naduri Village, that began with our Director Jim Drapes in 2002 and one of the last living Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, Ovoru Nadiki. It continues to this day with Ovoru’s son, Andy Ovoru, as our Operations Manager in Kokoda and his son, Andy Jr, as his assistant, continuing our positive relationship with the next generation.
Our involvement and support for the Naduri Village also extends beyond our relationship with the Ovoru family. The majority of our trekking crew come from Naduri Village or its surrounds. We have been involved in a variety of fundraising activities for the people of Naduri since 2002. In 2017, we ran a fundraiser with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) to bring solar-powered lights to the people of Naduri, raising $9,000 from past trekking clients and donating a further $8,000 to fund these lights.
In addition to our regular full time trek crew, each trekking season in villages just off the Kokoda Track, we offer an additional 250 employment opportunities to locals to join our crew as personal guides for 1 trek. These villages would not normally receive work opportunities in the trekking industry. With this system, we have generated income (to 2020) of over 250,000 Kina ($85,000 AUD) back into these regional communities just off the main Kokoda Track.
Our Latest Project
In 2019 whilst trekking with a team along on the Track, we had a pretty moving story evolve. One of our personal guide’s wife was suffering from a serious infection in her finger, and two of our trekkers, a registered nurse and an orthopaedic surgeon, operated to amputate the tip of her finger where the infection was and essentially saved her life. This really highlighted to us, as an organisation, the difficulties faced trying to operate a medical centre in such a remote part of the world. So in 2020, we joined forces with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) to support the funding of the Naduri Medical Centre.
How Can I Help?
Booking onto a trek with us in 2022! We’re aiming to keep the doors of the Medical Centre open each month and each year by ensuring there are experienced community health workers there to give care to the villagers that we pass by every day of the trek. A portion of your booking payment will go towards us achieving this goal.
We’ve also set up a donations’ platform in conjunction with our mates at the KTF, where each trekker and each team have the ability to fundraise and donate directly to the KTF who are responsible for the medical centre.
Here’s a quick outline to show how each donation really does make a difference:
- $5 – a simple packet of paracetamol, much needed for pain relief (and very expensive in PNG!)
- $10 – nebuliser to assist with breathing difficulties, preventing needless (and sadly common) fatalities
- $20 – treats a person with a severe case of malaria
- $50 – antibiotics to fight a broad spectrum of infections
- $100 – provides an emergency birthing kit for safe remote deliveries, including sterile gloves, sheets and blade (for the umbilical cord)
- $250 – could save a mother’s life with vital drugs to stop post-partum bleeding
- $500 – a month’s delivery of drugs and supplies to Naduri aid post
- $750 – supports Naduri’s Community Health Worker’s salary for a month