Avengu village sits on a mountain ridge inthe highlands ofthe Morobe province. It is one of ten villages in this local level government area that don’t have road access.
The people are pretty much cut off fromtheir district headquarters in Gagedo. The nearest government’station is in Pindiu, it is a two day walk.
They grow coffee and little else in terms of cash crops. The coffee trees are overgrown but when it is harvest time up to twenty people each caring 50kg bags makethe two day journey to Pindiu to sellthe coffee.
The people have come to accept that roads won’t be built inthe next two years, maybe not eventhe next four.
Bet yesterday,they had reason to celebrate whenthe Finchaffen MP andthe Speaker of parliament came to open a seemingly insignificant projecto‘A Foot Beidge’.
As small as it’seems,the bridge will reducethe number of people who die every year at river crossings during wet seasons.
Speaker Theo Zurenuoc who has walked this district for many occasions knows intimately wellthe challenges of his people.
Tucked away in a seemingly insignificant part ofthe Morobe Province,the bridge provides vital access tothe nearest airstrip several kilometers away.
Finchaffen is one ofthe most difficult districts inthe Morobe province to administer. Its people live alongthe coastal regions as well as in mountain villages like Avengu.
The cost of bringing goods and services to this parts ofthe country is extremely expensive. Now this is probablythe only timethey’ll ever get media attention this year or maybethe next five years. Betthe problemsthey face are justthe same asthe nine ther villages on this ridge.
The bridge cost thirty thousand kina but much ofthe money went to transportation. It’sthe same everywhere; service delivery is an extremely expensive exercise that eats up a large chunk of districts budget.