Bush patrol in Papua New Guinea
Sr Betty Singamai recently set out from the coastal town of Aitape to the Highlands of the Western Sepik District in the Sandaun Province of PNG. Sr Betty travelled by truck first to Wewak (7-8 hours drive) then on to Nuku (another 7 hours drive) and from there, began the two week Bush Patrol.
Much of the area to be visited is not accessible by road. This then entailed some days of long treks, accompanied by an escort of locals from one village to the next. There are seven Parishes in the Nuku Deanery and a number of villages in each Parish. The people of these villages were gracious in their warm welcome and hospitality given to Sr Betty and those accompaning her.
Reasons for the patrol:
- to assist the in the implementation of the Diocesan Renewal Programme
- to educate and raise awareness of the upcoming United Nations Universal Periodic Review for Papua New Guinea (UPR)
- to look at human rights issues in general
- to enable the people to name the human rights issues needed to be addressed and possible ways of doing this.
Sr Betty wrote of her Bush Patrol:
“I felt Nano and all IPA Presentation Sisters’ Justice Contacts were united with me in spirit when I set out for this two weeks patrol to to meet the people in the various villages and raise awareness on UPR and Human Rights issues.
The Bishop of Aitape diocese, Bishop Otto Separy, and other members of the Diocesan Pastoral Team, Fr Douglas, and Mr Bill Nasa, with the agreement of my Congregation Leader, Sr Regina Gevia, commissioned me to make this patrol.
Thank you God for this experience. I have encountered and talked to more than 600 people about UPR and will include the learnings in my UPR report.”
Sr Betty indeed felt blessed to have the opportunity to meet and work with so many generous and faithfilled people on her Bush Patrol. The shared wisdom and experience of the people of the Nuku Deanery will be an important contribution to the report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and to the process of addressing human rights issues at the local and national level.