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BAROIDA EARLY HISTORY - BEN AND NORMA COLBRAN.

Ben and Norma

They first arrived in the settlement of Kainantu in 1962. Most of the coffee plantations in the area were owned by returned servicemen from World War II. That is when they bought Baroida, then known as Baro Ida.

The property was 165 acres of grassland, mainly swampy soil, completely undeveloped. There were no buildings, except a grass hut, known as a Kunai Haus. This purchase of 900 Australian Pounds, used up most of their capital, and from then on Ben had to generate enough cash flow to support his family, which consisted of his wife Norma and their 3 children, Sandra age 9, Nichol age 7, and Jill age 4. He did this by planting vegetables.

Their first house was made of local materials, woven bamboo for outer walls, and a woven pit-pit for inner walls, and a thatched roof. The floor was of woven bamboo laid flat on bare ground. It was pretty basic accommodation.

Ben then purchased a new Nissan Patrol, the very first to be sold on Mainland of Papua New Guinea, he used it to transport vegetables grown in the cool fresh air of the Highlands to the shops in Lae, and then used to load the car back up with trade goods such as tin fish, rice, blankets, hard biscuits, flour and tins of dripping, salt, sugar and tea. He also bought coconuts which he sold in the town of Goroka. The driving was very difficult, because at the time roads where not surfaced, just dirt tracks. He started building the road up from the plantation out to Aiyura, and this is still an important activity that the family still maintains today, building roads to create access to remote villages and coffee areas.

In 1979, due to political instability in the country, Baroida was sold to the Kainantu High School trust. It was later bought back by his son Nichol, in 1997. By this time, the farm had to be completely rebuilt as the coffee trees were completely hidden under overgrown thick grass and weeds.

Ben and Norma and their daughters now live in Australia. Nichol remained in PNG.

NICHOL COLBRAN

Growing up on Baroida, Nichol was heartbroken to see the farm sold away. Having been involved in the planting of the trees and feeling this was his home; he decided to stay on as the manager for the new owners. He worked for 13 years on Baroida and left when he was offered another management position in the Western Highlands of the country, to rehabilitate an old coffee plantation there.

CHRIS & RHETT COLBRAN


PAPA TARO BINA’U

Family

The very first village man to arrive on the Baro Ida hills.


NATUME YOYO

Came to work with the Colbran Family in 1973, and started out as a general laborer, later moved on to be a Boss Crew, and now he holds the position of General Field Manager. He is from the much feared Kosena tribe, known to be strong and fearless.


MAIN STAFF

Family

Esther Vialeahy. Our admin assistant comes from the village of DOYANAKENU, she is 27 years old, married with 2 young girls, named Maki and Helena. Her favorite food is sweet potato, known as kaukau. Her favorite color is green. Our staff calls her Essy.

Keren Steven. Keren is our Clerk Supervisor, she is a very hard working lady of 34 years old. She comes from the village of Bungal, near Mt. Hagen. She has 2 daughters, Privina and Danney. Her nickname is Rangam, she likes the color blue and her favorite root vegetable is Taro, like a yam.

Gabriel Palma, our workshop manager, comes from the village of Ulwal, he always eats bananas, maybe that’s why he is a big strong guy! He likes the color blue and is very good fixing our cars, trucks and generators.

Stephen Romrundi, 54, is our extension officer, is keren’s father, from the village of Bungal, Kotna. He is married and has 5 daughters. His youngest is Sandy. His favorite food is Rice, he likes the color green and enjoys watching the manly sea eagles play.

Racheal Si’I, 29, is the daughter of one of our carpenters, she is a parchment clerk. She buys the Lamari coffee! She is from the Kosena clan, married with 3 kids, all boys. She likes to eat yam, her favorite color is blue, her nickname is shenti.

Fex Tom, is our scale clerk, he weights every single bag of coffee that is purchased at our farm buying shed. He is from the village of Ni’eru, he is 27 years old.

Gideon Iwari, is 29 years old, he is a factory supervisor and recorder. He is from the Matona Village, likes to eat kaukau, his favorite color is Pink. He has 2 sons and 3 daughters.

Simon Rimbu is our Field Supervisor, he is 55 years old. His village is called Kaulilombo. He has a pair of sons and a pair of daughters. His favorite drink is CocaCola..!! His favorite color is yellow. He is in charge of keeping track of the cherry pickers.