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.

Installing solar lights in Naduri Village in 2018

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.

Along the Kokoda Track, we offer 250+ employment opportunities to locals each and every year, as part of our local management team and as personal guides. Some of these locals come from villages off the main Kokoda corridor, and don’t receive the tourism dollars that Kokoda does. With this system, we have invested over 250,000 Kina ($85,000 AUD) back into these regional communities along the 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 have joined forces with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) to support the funding of the Naduri Medical Centre.

[Left: Ruth receiving finger surgery in August. Right: Ruth and her healed finger with husband Tyson and their children in November.

How Can I Help?

Booking onto a trek with us in 2020! 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