by Bai Xu & Mao Pengfei
PORT MORESBY, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Glen Wary went to swim with his friends and relatives in the Taruma Aquatic and Indoor Center on Saturday as usual.
"The pool is to be closed tomorrow and reopen after the APEC," said the 29-year-old man. During the APEC Leaders' Week, the venue, which is one of the best sports facility, will be used as the international media center.
"This is the first time such a big event is hosted by our country," Wary said. Although he couldn't tell what APEC really means, he knows it is quite important for the future of his country Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PNG, comprising about 600 small islands, is the host of the APEC meetings this year. Background of its national flag was red and black, which have long been traditional colors of many tribes. A yellow raggiana bird-of-paradise is about to rise up into the sky.
The wall of the center was painted with these colors. Although the sign of "APEC 2018 International Media Center" has been put up already, workers are making final preparation.
The media center opened to journalists on Monday and will be in use until Nov. 18.
Kapani Robert, duty manager of the center, told Xinhua that Taruma Aquatic and Indoor Center was selected to become media center because of its location and space. It is only about five to 15 minutes drive to the APEC Haus, the main venue for the forum later this week.
To make the center ready to receive media, it took workers three months to revamp the six basketball courts, cover the floor with carpet, set up about 60 booths for international media and fence off two briefing rooms with black cloth.
At the other side of the hall was public work station for media, with yellow banners bearing patterns of different traditional tribal facial painting and masks in PNG.
During the meetings, the work station could provide service for more than 400 journalists, who will have access to printers, WiFi, internet cable as well as telephones for overseas calls. Jerry Roberts, venue function manager for the media center, said that PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill will give the closing speech there.
Two big screens will broadcast the meetings live, whereas 25 televisions are also available for journalists to watch the meetings.
Traditional culture of PNG was shown on the second floor of the center, where there are several booths displaying and selling handicrafts. Amanda Tau, 28, was arranging the wooden earrings and floral hairpins of her Pacificana brand.
She was apparently excited to see foreign journalists. "I want to ask them about their culture," she said.
She said that preparation for APEC has already brought big changes for Port Moresby. "We have new roads, new buildings and luxury hotel like Hilton opened here too." For herself, Tau said she learned the importance of branding and how to improve packaging.
Manager Robert has been working at the Taruma Aquatic and Indoor Center for three years. "During the Pacific Games in 2015, the center was used for swimming, basketball, volleyball and taekwondo competitions," he said, adding that in the Pacific Island Forum the center also played an important role.
Robert hopes that he could see some leaders to the media center for press conference or interview. "It's once in a lifetime," he said.
The 30-year-old man plans to take his two-year-old daughter to the center for photos. Many of his relatives and friends envy him. "Because I am part of the big event," he said with a big smile.
His view was shared by Anna Bia who works at the center for media accreditation. She was very excited to see Xinhua journalists and offered help.
The 29-year-old volunteer works from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during APEC meetings. "We have never had such a big occasion," she said. "I want to have some experience here."
She is not alone. Almost all volunteers and staff members working for media are as warm-hearted as Bia, who will voluntarily lead the way or find vehicles for journalists.
Besides, APEC is a good chance for them to learn and know more about the world.
It is the fourth time that Solomon Kolnei, an employee at a cargo company, works as a volunteer. To learn more about APEC, he searched online and read some books. "Our country is at a stage for development," he said. "We can learn from other economies and try to develop ourselves, especially in aspects of infrastructure and economy."
Ferdinand Bennyanto is from Indonesia who works as International Media Center Consultant here. During the past three months, he saw the change in PNG people brought forth by APEC.
"It shapes the way people see and the way people live," he said. "People in PNG now live with more hope."
"Now we can see that one of the smallest members among all is still able to do the whole thing," he said. "And APEC brought more people to PNG, so that they can really see the livelihood and community on their own."