LAE - It is not a walk for faint hearted humans this trail beginning at Torowa in the Upper Erap area of Nawaeb District in Morobe Province and into the interior to Kokosan and Damet villages. A journey of more than two days.
So I just walked, walked and walked. Up and down steep mountain slopes, around sheer cliffs, across fast flowing streams rushing towards the Erap River and crashing against huge boulders to eventually marry with the mighty Markham River.
I walked through green coffee gardens decorated by red berries, the aromatic perfume from newly blooming flowers filling my nostrils.
The aroma kept up my strength and kept my mind awake, although my ankles were exhausted. Toenails and the soles of my feet rubbed against the rocky pathways causing blisters and some bleeding. My feet trembled and, when krusako leaves trapped my legs, my body felt like it should fall down.
Yet I walked on because I had some good reasons to keep me going.
First, to experience and explore the hardship of remote areas and to meet the people who struggle to live there.
Also to see the source of the mighty Busu and Erap Rivers that split and find their own ways to the coast - the Busu ending at Wagang (Sipaia) and the Erap spilling into the Markham River.
I also wanted to spend Christmas with the Kokosang people and to meet an elder I had written about two years previously (pictured).
Every day I read the two national daily newspapers and feel a hole in my kind heart when politicians make a mockery of the people saying, “The health delivery system is OK, drugs are OK, school materials are reaching schools, we’ve committed money to construct this road.”
In fact, the real picture depicts a life of struggle in our rural Papua New Guinea.
Many people have never seen a vehicle tyre, or even the tyre tracks in the mud.
You wonder what mothers do in difficult births, which aid posts they go to for family planning, where do kids go to school….
But, despite the odds, you will find church buildings in the middle of all these villages.
God bless my heart for Morobe and Papua New Guinea!