by Scott Waide – EM TV, Lae
The Kira local level government area is located on the border of Bulolo and Huon in the Morobe Province and Sohe in the Oro province. It is too far and too rugged to reach in a day without the aid of a speed boat.
The journey upriver on the Waria starts off on a gentler note and ends where the rocks are bigger and the river is more violent and narrower.
The nearest town is in Wau. A two-day trek through leach-infested jungle is required to get there. The people here say they see politicians only during election time.
The region shares a border with Sohe in Oro Province. Many of its people live deep in the jungle along the banks of the Waria. Their nearest urban center is Wau. It takes two days to get there on foot.
At the headwaters, a cane bridge built several years ago presents an example of the amazing skill and ingenuity by the villagers who have not seen government services for as long as some can remember.
One of the few links across the Waria is where many people have died.
“My grandfather fell off this bridge,” said a teenage guide to EM TV cameraman Maisen Hungito who travelled there.
“He broke is head on the rocks below. He was dead when we found him.”
Kira is where Bulolo District is reaching out in its district development programs. On the weekend, a team led by Bulolo MP Sam Basil made a six-hour journey by boat from Lae, then onwards upriver on the Waria.
This visit is part of the district’s efforts to bring basic eye care to some of the most remote parts of the district. The service has been underway in Garaina, Watut and Buang and has changed the lives of many.
Services they only have access to in towns and cities are being brought to their doorstep using government money as should happen.
Their eyes are tested and the elderly are being given the glasses they need. If a problem is found to be serious, they are then referred to a hospital with expenses paid for by the district.