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Early the next morning, we got up to pack our things. Trying to catch up with our schedule we decided to take the noon flight from Kanabea and skip the remaining walk to Menyamya.
425. Airstrip
After a two to three hour brisk walk, we reached Kanabea. Kanabea is a small village built around the catholic mission on the side of a deep valley. Children were playing on a grass field at the edge of the valley; the field was the airstrip. (Kanabea)
427. Valley
At the airstrip, we met with four volunteers from Peace Corporation. They told us they had been waiting for a plane out since yesterday but it had not been able to land because of the heavy fog. It was an odd feeling hearing a plane roar above the clouds just to diminish into nothing when your hopes were at their highest.
428. Greg & Julie's view
We were invited guests of our new friends. They were staying at the mission station. Coincidentally, the station was out of power when we 4 engineers arrived. So we took a look at the scattered hydro generator and asked them to put it together again to find out what was wrong. It seemed to work, but after a while it just stopped.
In the evening, we went to the Mumu where the women's conference was held. There were piles of potatoes and tarots around the hall. After eating, the different groups told stories, sang and performed creative dancing. Father expressed his concern for the power.
430. Kanabea Enclosed
The next day as the mist still covered Kanabea, Peter calculated amperes and measured currents around the village. The measurements finally lead him to an over-consuming water heater in a near building. As it turned out, it was plugged in just when the problems started.
In the evening, we were invited to dinner by the nuns. It was delicious; we even got ice cream and pineapples for dessert.
431. Bugs
The next day, the mist was less dense. We packed our things and went to the airstrip. On our way to the ticket office Greg, who studies entomology, found some bugs.
434. Aeroplane
We waited a bit, restless and worried as some fog persisted. At last, just when we thought the plane had left again without landing, it came rolling in over the grass. It was Brett, the Australian pilot who had brought Julie and Greg to Kanabea. Together, we filled all the seats. Since there were so many of us, Brett agreed to change his schedule and take us to Lae directly.
435. Take Off
Being in a struggling, still-on-the-ground, accelerating aircraft a few meters from an inevitable drop and a not-to-soft-looking mountain wall is quite an ordeal. However, Brett handled the take off and the following turn brilliantly and we were on our way.
438. Boundaries
It was impossible to talk as the engine roared, but we could watch how the mountains divide the country. The isolated valleys enable an immense variety of cultures and languages as well as species unique in PNG to flourish.
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© 1999-2002  Photos Nicklas Nordborg  Texts Peter Waller and Thomas Nilsson