Report from Seacology PNG Field Representative Helen Perks:
“It seems there have been major heroics going on in the bush to make things work and I am amazed and impressed by the dedication and hard work of Patrick Pate and the carpenter I sent out there, Jacob Kamunai. We now have the second centre standing, in Fogomaiyu, although we still need to fit the water supply and solar lighting. They were supposed to move straight on to do the third centre, but the weather was really bad and there are fewer and fewer planes servicing the area – it is getting more and more remote. They waited 3 weeks for a plane, and had no radio working, so in the end decided to walk back to where the WWF camp is. This is “just” 2 days walking, but on very hard terrain and in thick bush with heavy rains. It also included crossing a very swollen river, in a leaking canoe they have to keep bailing out, and dealing with leeches – Jacob said at one point he counted 32 on his body! Patrick and Jacob are now out safely and I will try to get them back again in about a week’s time to build the final centre. That is, if we can get a flight for them, which we will eventually.
“…It is a very tough area to work anyway, really remote …These people have very few options for any kind of services or “development” and often they see logging as their only chance for…something, some change that they think will make things better for them. Other organisations who have worked there have given up because of the logistics problems. But, the Fogomaiyu people are very firm on that they will not allow any logging on their land and were telling Jacob their feelings on this. They are very grateful for the new resource centre and Jacob says that many men were crying! So, if you can imagine Indiana Jones-style efforts in the name of Seacology, it is all happening here in PNG!”