By Edwin Fidelis – EM TV, Lae
The Buang local level government (LLG), in the Bulolo District of Morobe province, is both remote and mountainous.
Its location offers breath-taking views of splendid cliffs and waterfalls. The roads are not good, but the villages further up the mountains can still be reached. The spectacular scenes, give an impression of how isolated the area is.
In 2012, the Bulolo district spent K2 million from its district funds to set up two vital services in this isolated part of the district.
Electricity lines were connected into homes from the main power grid. A communication tower was setup and almost anyone who has an Internet-enabled handset can connect and do business online using the 3G network.
“Electricity and mobile phones have changed our lives. I own a store, I sell frozen goods and I do banking online using mobile banking”, said Thomas Markas, a Buang villager.
Mobile communication and electricity have created an avenue that allows for small businesses to flourish.
Thomas said power and mobile communication have discouraged young people from leaving the village to search for urban conveniences in Lae.
“Many of us have refused to go to Lae. I only go to Lae to get new supplies for my trade store. Besides, there is no need to go Lae… we already have what the people in Lae have”, Thomas said.
Inside his house, are evidences of electrical appliances that his wife uses, to prepare the family’s meals. In almost every household along these ridges, families have lights, and some own television sets.
Many Papua New Guineans sees the national government and large foreign investors as the lone deliverer of services.
But for the Buang people, a communication tower and electricity is development. It encourages them to remain in the village and develop at their own pace.