(Parts of this article are written in Tokpisin, a dialect widely spoken in Papua New Guinea)
Frank Mogona, 34, joined EMTV in 2016 as a driver and this year joined the EMTV News team as a cameraman.
He hails from Gavagolo village in the Rigo district, in Central Province and is only used to the comforts of travelling by road.
He lives in Port Moresby and has never experienced air travel in his life. This is because his home village is located just outside of the capital city, Port Moresby and road travel is the fastest and easiest way to get there.
For most of his life, Frank had only dreamed of getting on a plane, but how and for what reason would only be left up to fate to decide.
Last Wednesday, he went on an official duty trip and travelled up to Mt Hagen.
“I woke up at 3am on the day of my travel because we had to check in at 6am for an 8am flight, I was really psyched up,” said Frank.
Frank expressed relief that he did not go on this flight alone. EMTV Journalist, Suli Suli and Cameraman, Agi Loko, were travelling on the same flight to Hagen and then to Enga for another assignment.
“The driver picked me up from home, and on our way to the office to pick-up my equipment, I started to feel nervous. I was still trying to come to terms with the reality of what was about to happen”
“Lo tintin blo mi em osem, mi tokim mi yet, nau bai mi kalap lo balus na lo narapla sait to em mi woklo tintin, aya, taim balus em fly, hau bai mi sindaun” (Translation: “I was mentally telling myself, I’m about to get on a plane, it’s finally happening but I was also thinking of how I would sit in the plane.)
After checking-in at the airport, he along with the two colleagues he was travelling with proceeded toward the waiting area, and not long after, there was a call to board the plane so they made their way toward the exit facing the tarmac.
“Taim mi go autsait lo displa lastpla check-in area na sanap lo tarmac, mi pilim tuhat na swet woklo ron na mi tok, ay, hau na mi sik eh?” (Translation: As soon as I exited the waiting room and set foot on the tarmac, I felt hot and sweaty and I started to ask myself, how am I sick today?”
But Frank didn’t think much of it and walked toward the plane and before boarding the aircraft, his colleague, Suli Suli asked him to pose for a picture. After taking the photo, Frank proceeded to board the plane for the first time.
As he made his way to his designated seat he was also observing his surroundings and noticed another passenger putting on their seatbelt. Frank knew he would have to do the same so he lingered long enough to see how to do up his own seatbelt himself.
“Fes taim blo mi but mi les lo ol lain save so mi tu laik halivim mi yet lo balus” (Translation: “It was my first time but I didn’t want people to know so I tried to learn as much as I can so I can help myself instead of asking”)
“Mi sidaun stap na ol startim balus nau, mipla ron kam osem lo main runway na taim blo take off nau mi filim osem, lek blo mi em woklo seksek.”
“Mi holim camera lo han so mi giaman lin fowed na putim presa lo displa lek so em bai no inap seksek moa” (Translation: “As the plane was getting ready to take off at the main runway, I started to feel my legs shaking. I was holding the camera in my hands so I leaned forward and applied pressure on my leg to prevent any further shaking”)
As he recalled the experience he burst into fits of laughter upon remembering that he was afraid the person sitting next to him would feel vibrations of his shakiness through the seat.
Frank went on to say, as the plane began ascending, the force that pulled him back into his seat was very scary for him.
“Taim mi lukuluk go autsait na mi lukim osem ples em wait, mi tokim mi yet, wai na mi kalap lo displa balus eh?” (Translation: “As I looked out and saw only white outside the window, I started to question my decision to get on this plane”)
During the flight he remained cautious of everything that was happening. From the wheels retracting to the aircraft’s pitch and yaw.
“I was very scared but I was trying not to show it, when the guy sitting next to me asked if I was okay, I said yes, everything is fine but on the inside my heart was beating and I was thinking of all the things that could go wrong on this flight”
And then came turbulence. Frank was not prepared for this, nobody had warned him of the effects of turbulence.
“This part was scary, I pulled my mask over my eyes and began to pray for my safety and for the safety of my children in Port Moresby. I thought to myself, that’s it, I’m going to die now.” Frank said with humour.
“I didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything on the plane, nor did I want to move, all I wanted was for the plane to land.”
“I held the camera in my arms like a baby and grasped on it for dear life.”
“When I heard the captain say we were about to land, I was so happy but as the aircraft began to descend, my head too was hanging forward, it’s as if, I could not control myself.”
“I was very happy when the plane landed but we were advised not to remove our seatbelts until the aircraft had parked”
“As soon as we were given the OK to get off the aircraft, I was the first one to stand up,” Frank laugh as he retorted.
“It was quite an experience, it was some type of feeling I can’t explain but I was glad my colleagues were with me so I didn’t have to do it alone.”
When asked about his experience on the trip back to Port Moresby from Mt Hagen, Frank said he was much more relaxed and he now looks forward to more trips that may come in the future.
In 2016, Frank joined EMTV as a driver for the Administration Department and by the end of that same year; he was assigned to drive for the EMTV News Department.
His driving is described by the news team as “Fast and Furious”, Frank understands the importance of time and urgency and this in the news setting is the kind of attitude needed.
Over the course of four years, Frank drove film and news crews from Point A to Point B. While doing this, his curious mind was also at work.
During pickups and drop-offs he would ask some of the camera operators about their work and ask for tips. And when out on location with a crew, he would observe while he waited.
Gradually, some of the boys caught wind of Frank’s interest and started teaching him how to capture videos during news runs.
His passion and zeal to learn another skill resulted in his permanent move to the Newsroom as a camera operator.
EMTV News is proud of Frank’s progress and growth and to have him work as part of the team.