“My name is Donna Harvey-Hall and I have always loved kids. I had five daughters of my own and I took on the responsibility of an additional 7 children and the short-term responsibility for many others. I must admit it would have been easier had I not been widowed at 38 under quite tragic circumstances but God provided me with a resilient spirit and we all soldiered on.
PNG is a very harsh and often cruel country and I have been twice widowed and have lost 3 of my children all in very sad and tragic circumstances.The community I lived in were very supportive of our family business and I have a lot to thank them for. One of the reasons I stayed amongst them when it would have been easier to retreat back behind a security fence and then return to Australia where I had been born. Life in the so called 1st World is easy, and my Australia is a wonderful place but we must not lose sight of the fact that we are all just a catastrophe or two away from being poor or even being homeless.
PNG people are just like people anywhere in the world and PNG children are very endearing and are not interested in having the latest Barbie doll or the newest Playstation game. Life for them is much simpler and in most cases just boils down to basic survival and to somehow managing to have enough food in your stomach to keep the pain at bay.
Hunger is not something we ever fully experience in the Western world but I am told that it is a very painful experience. Throughout the course of my life of running a business as a single mother and providing for my family I involved myself in the community and have held many public positions and served upon many boards-something not often done by women in PNG. I have represented PNG and PNG women in many capacities as often they are shy and withdrawn and their husbands do not allow them too much public exposure.
Having said that, I must emphasise that there are many emerging strong spirited Christian PNG women who are meeting the 21st century with a superior education and are high achievers in their own right. PNG people, when given an opportunity, are making their mark, spreading across the world and achieving high positions. Sadly, because of low wages and inferior living conditions they are not choosing to return to PNG and this is understandable.
I do not find it at all difficult to show love and compassion for children that are not my own and I am supported by many like-minded friends.”