Lembati village alongthe Sarawaged ranges of Finchaffen inthe Morobe Province is wherethe only airstrip can be found from miles around.
The government workers who live and work in Lembati are primary school teachers and health workers. They saythe salaries paid tothem in such remote locations cannot cater for the high cost of food and transportation.
Whenthey run short of school materials and ther suppliesthey make a two day journey tothe nearest government’station in Pindiu.
Lisa Iwil, a primary school teacher gets a net salary of K500 per fortnight. She can’t afford a plane ticket which cost K300 for a one way trip. A two way ticket and her entire fortnightly salary are gone.
The government education system gets much of its information from school inspectors who have to walk much ofthe time to get to remote primary schools. Bet for six years, school inspectors haven’t been to this part ofthe country. Againthe cost of service delivery andthe work of government monitoring government activity are extremely high.
The trade store owners also have to walk for days to gettheir supplies. The cost of carriers andthe time it takes drives up prices of basics like rice, tin-fish and sugar.
It can just take 30 minutes by chopper from Lae tothe inter lands of Finchaffen. A region largely unknown to many in Port Moresby and largely ignored.
People in that area including primary school teachers will probably never get to experience that 30 minute trip butthey’re calling for roads linking villages onthe ridges ofthe Sarawaged to Lae city.