[popeye] Anyone wanting to travel to Yangis, PNG has two options: one is a week-long walk through the jungle, the other is on this plane. Being pressed for time (and fitness) the 2010 OGC team naturally opted for the plane.
The ten volunteers clambered on board with a few others and some massive bags of rice. Several were quite sceptical of our chances of success while skimming the rugged highlands in a machine comparable to a Barina –chances only worsened by one of the other passengers being on their mobile phone the entire trip. The view, however, was a great distraction. Particularly seeing the recently reopened school from the air as we circled to land in Yangis.
Landing on the roughly-cleared grass runway was bouncey yet successful. We jumped off the plane to be greeted by fifty surprised locals, who, after a lot of smiles and very little English, announced that they had not expected us until the following Monday (the dates of our visit being distorted by some apparent game of Melanesian-whispers).
If the weather is good, a plane might visit every week or two – dropping off medical supplies, packets of Maggi noodles (disturbingly popular in PNG) and anyone wealthy enough to afford the costly flight to the closest town. Outside of the plane, communication beyond Yangis is limited to messengers on foot or one very unreliable two-way radio. Suddenly the mistaken date of our arrival makes perfect sense.
Understanding the remoteness of Yangis is crucial to understanding the need and the challenges of the area – and just how valuable the project Oaktree has funded is to the community.
The OGC crew got back from PNG and The Solomon Islands last week and are brimming with stories and experiences to share with you - watch this space for info on the upcoming ‘stories from OGC’ running in your state.
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