Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A World Away

I spent the month of October in Australia's northern neighbour, Papua New Guinea. Most people I told about this beforehand made a clever and entirely unique quip about asylum seekers or the Black Cat Track attack... I quickly realised that most peoples' awareness of PNG extends about as far as the Kokoda Trail having something to do with Australia in a war and that some tribes were perhaps cannibals. Thanks to some helpful words from friends I was fairly confident that over 4 weeks I would be hacked apart by machete, succumb to a fiery plane crash, or at least contract TB.

Thankfully, the PNG I encountered was infinitely friendlier, more relaxed and more picturesque. In fact I was probably far more likely to die and/or be maimed in a road accident than any of the above. Though that's perhaps more of a testament to the road safety than anything else. Road rules were virtually non-existent, as was the road in many places. Most looked like they hadn't seen any maintenance since colonial times and were more pot-hole than asphalt. We also had the authentic PNG experience of packing as many people as possible into as few vehicles as possible.

My four week stay was an enjoyable, enlightening experience. There is a lot I could say but instead I'll let my photos do the talking. The quality is a little lower than usual as I only had my old phone camera but the shots still capture much of the environment, people and feeling of the journey.

Market in Mt Hagen

Preparing our truck (five of us were sitting in the space behind the luggage)

The drive

Waterfall on the road to Kompiam

View from the road to Kompiam

The hospital compound in Kompiam

View of Kompiam from above (from neighbouring mountain)

View of Kompiam from below (by the river)

View from our balcony #1

View from our balcony #2

View from our balcony #3

Surgical ward in the hospital after hanging new mosquito nets

Ward rounds

TB ward

Pineapples in Kompiam

Spider community

Sunset in Kompiam

The bridge out of Kompiam

Warriors from a neighbouring tribe

Clinic fees

One of the hospital vehicles

Another hospital vehicle at the end of the road to Alagula


Alagula health outpost

Alagula archway

Alagula Catholic Church

Alagula health outpost main room

Alagula health outpost storeroom #1

Alagula health outpost storeroom #2

My bed in Alagula

Alagula Baptist Church congregation

Sunday football match in Alagula

River near Alagula

Hiking #1

Hiking #2

Sagures community

Preparing for Sagures clinic

Outdoor vaccine clinic at Sagures

Hiking #3

Drive to Marambe #1

Drive to Marambe #2

Drive to Marambe #3

Drive to Marambe #4

Marambe's famous pineapples

Children in Marambe

Supply plane on Marambe airstrip

Driving back to Mt Hagen

I also had the please of meeting a vast array of wildlife during my brief stay. Here are a few of my favourites:

My full set of photos from PNG can be viewed on my flickr.

He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.