A small trail leading into the jungles was what would become our pathway for a six-day tracking on foot over rugged terrain in the Waria local Level Government in the Wau-Bulolo district, of the Morobe Province.
The track was once used by the Kiaps or Government officials, to visit villages in this remote part of the province. Almost after a century, the Waria and Garaina people used it as their main link, connecting villages along the valley, with the main outstation of Garaina and the district capital of Wau-Bulolo.
Like any other rural areas in Papua New Guinea, the Waria people are scattered in small hamlets along high mountain ridges. A walk to the government outstation in Garaina or the township of Wau-Bulolo, may take several days through rugged terrains.
“It takes us two to three days to travel to Wau on foot. We eat and sleep along the track before we get to the township of Bulolo”, a local villager said.
The area shares a common land boundary with Oro, Central and Gulf provinces, making it one of the difficult places to get to. Most of the people living there prefer traveling to Oro then to Wau-Bulolo, because it takes less time to walk there on foot.
For storeowners, their store goods are determined by the freight cost that remained one of their main expenses. So storeowners double up the prices of their store goods. A packet of sugar that costs K5.50 in Lae, is sold at K10.50 there.
“We don't know when our cries will be answered. We want roads, aid posts, a proper law and order strategy and education for our children, but we don't know when our government will give them to us”, said Joe Pamwo, a local village Councilor.
At the Waria local Level Government, one can see the much needed help that the people have long been calling for many years. Education, health and road infrastructures have been their main struggle for more than thirty years.
These are some of the stories that have been told over and over about the difficulties facing ordinary Papua New Guineans in remote districts in Papua New Guinea. Here you also get a sense of the much talked about government rural focus in delivering effective government services to the rural population, like the people of Waria local level government.
“The provincial government have proven to be useless in terms of delivering services effectively to the rural population”, said Bulolo MP, Sam Basil.
But the Waria and Garaina people are slowly seeing changes. A VSAT, and solar installed last year in three separate villages along the mountains ridges, will receive television signals, and make telecommunications channel possible.
Rural banking EFTPOS machine were also installed to assist public servants especially teachers and health workers working here. Also, in the next six months, the people will get a road link that will cut through the rugged terrains, linking Waria valley with Garaina and Wau-Bulolo for the first time.
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