Photo Essay: The Journey to Arop
We got up at 5:00 AM to catch the 5:30 shuttle to the airstrip. Once there, we were delayed a little bit, but eventually our luggage was loaded onto the Kodiak.
The flight from Ukarumpa to Wewak took a couple of hours. I got to ride shotgun. The pilot told me not to touch anything.
We refueled in Wewak and flew out to the Tadji airstrip. No one was there when we landed, but we unloaded the plane, anyway.
A pickup truck arrived a little while after we landed. The cargo was put into the back of a pickup truck. That took up half the bed. Assured that we had a ride, the pilot tried to take off, but a dog wanted to chase the plane. I had to chase the dog off so it wouldn’t get mauled by the propeller.
We went into the back half of the truck’s bed with some Papua New Guineans. I was glad I brought a pillow to sit on.
We went through potholes and rivers. Here we are crossing the widest river.
Another truck followed us for about half an hour on the road to Aitape.
Finally, we stopped in the middle of the road. “We’re here,” one of our national translators said.
Where’s “here”?, I wondered. It looked like the middle of nowhere. All I saw was jungle, road, and potholes full of water, but people started appearing by the side of the road. They picked up our luggage and carried it off. After some introductions we crossed the ditch on a bridge made of coconut tree logs and walked up a jungle path. After what seemed like too long a time the village emerged from the foliage. We were home.
We’ll tell more about that in another blog entry.