The perils of travel in Papua New Guinea
“Nothing less than a helicopter, Army Duck or jeep, would help alleviate the pain of transport in regional Papua New Guinea! Since we didn’t have any such mode of transport available to us, like others in the locality, we had to rely on the truck or occasionally a boat when on the coast.”
“There is no air link between Wewak and Aitape so most people travel by road. On this route there are at least twenty six rivers to cross. Some of these rivers do not have bridges and those that do have a bridge are often unreliable after heavy flooding.
When I say we ‘travel by road’ the term ‘road’ is used loosely! If the truck slides into a deep rut the tactics of getting it free are simple. All passengers alight and shovels and ropes are handed out. Some assist by digging around the wheels whilst the remaining passengers either pull from the front or push from the rear. This operation can take hours and only the driver is spared a mud bath!
Bridges in Papua New Guinea are an interesting phenomenon. Some shake in their foundations, others have all the sleepers removed for firewood in the villages, others don’t meet in the middle but the most common bridge just has the iron tracks and NOTHING else.
Can you imagine a truck carrying a drum of diesel, timber, food and many passengers trying to wield that amount of cargo and at the same keeping on the iron tracks? One false move and all land in the river. No wonder some passengers feign sleep when things become too hairy!
Rivers are often in flood so it is not advisable to cross when this is the situation. So we wait and wait and watch the passing parade of floating large
trees, peoples’ humble abodes and dead animals including many snakes. Usually people bring food with them and watch with us until day break…on the first day and sometimes the second day.
At the end of a trip the truck is ready for a major overhaul. This often runs into thousands of Kina. A truck is the life line for the Sisters.”
Can you help support the running costs of a truck or one of the community programs?
“A truck is a lifeline for the Sisters”
If so, please contact the Society Office on 02-97395600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information & bank transfer details
or send a cheque, payable to Presentation Sisters PNG, to Society of Presentation Sisters, Nagle Services, Suite 4F, 9-13 Redmyre Road, Strathfield, NSW 2135 ….. Please Note: Donations are not tax deductible
Any donations to help the Sisters in PNG with their transport or community programmes and ministries, would be greatly appreciated.