Tired but still radiant

Though she had spent two nights in a foreign airport, then suffered a long trip just to get to PNG, the new Pacific Islands queen had nothing but a radiant smile for those who greeted her.

Leoshina Mercy Kariha warmly embraced friends, loved ones and supporters as she entered the Jackson’s International terminal yesterday (Nov 5th) afternoon.

The 18-year-old beauty, in spite of her exhaustion, radiantly greeted everyone as she made her way into the Jackson’s State Lounge Room.

Kariha shared how relieved she was when she got into the national carrier, Air Niugini, and how they enjoyed the hospitality extended by PNG’s flight attendants.

She also appreciated the friendliness shown to her and the PNG delegate in Tonga.

“The hospitality shown in Tonga was truly one-of-a-kind. They made us feel at home and no doubt, contributed to this success,” she told the media.

“The journey was not easy, the routine was rigorous and sleep was a luxury.

“The greatest challenge for me was to maintain fierceness in delivering a strong message in the face of criticism. Nonetheless, it was fulfilling to see the great impact my bold message had on thousands of lives, not only nationally but regionally as well.”

Kariha is encouraging young Papua New Guineans to grab every opportunity that they get in life, and not be put down by criticism, but use them as stepping stones.

The 18-year-old will take a one-year gap from studies to carry out her role as the tourism representative of the nation as well as the region.

(Leoshina Mercy Kariha had a smile for everyone at the airport terminal)

Carmella Gware