Monday, November 22, 2010

Our time in Kesengen

After our long journey up the mountain we were greeted by a large number of people who were looking forward to our coming and sharing with them. We sat down to a meal and shared about the things that Ryan wanted to accomplish in the trip. The four things for the village of Kesengen were: what was it like to travel the road to get there, what kind of condition the school was in, to discuss with the leaders the problems that had come up in Saut from this one individual making threatening comments, and finally what kind of condition the old air strip was in. We spent two nights in Kesengen which gave us plenty of time to survey the things Ryan wanted us to check out, take pictures of and discuss. Having three other expats along on the trip helped Ryan to think of things that might be important to know, but that he might not have thought of or noticed on his own. Mike, Caleb and I were mostly seen and not heard in the discussions on the issue with the individual making threats, but we were able to walk around and snap photos and ask questions about the water supply, how often they got fuel to run the school generator, how did they cut the grass on the sports oval and where did their drinking water come from. There is a good chance that Ryan and Crystal might move down to this village when the actual translation part of their work takes place, but while they are doing the language learning part being in Saut is actually better with its remote location and thus less outside influences to disturbed their learning.

Here are the four of us along with Eric and Bape who are from a neighboring language. They were also sharing with the village all the different things that go into a translation program.

Here is the crowd that enjoyed watching us eat our dinner.

As night fell you can see the porch where these meetings were conducted lit up by a solitary pressurized kerosene lantern.

We awoke to beautiful morning the two days we were there.

Here we are checking out the school.

The Library

The office had a computer, printer, and photocopier, which is a pretty significant thing for rural PNG. Ryan was quite pleased to see all of this and that the teachers were using it and taking care of it.

The upper grades classroom

The lower grades classroom. You can see that this one is built from traditional materials.

The generator that powers the school and the teachers' homes.

The sports field for the school with the teachers homes in the background.

Here is the water system source. Now for some of you it may look like some old WWII gun turret with water coming out, but believe me it is not. What the community has done is cemented over a spring on the hillside and let the water run into the cistern. That is the part we are standing next to. The bottom of the cistern has a black poly pipe coming out which runs down into the village and at multiple locations. The white PVC pipe coming out of the cistern is just the over flow so that the cistern is always full. The whole system works on gravity.

Here Caleb and I are pumping water through our water filter next to one of the spigots located throughout the village. Even though the water source was pretty clean, we still did not want to take our chances with catching a bug.

Here is what is left of the old airstrip. In the sixties and seventies airstrips were built all over PNG because there was no other way to access most of the country, but with the advancment in roads many places that once had airsrtips no longer use them and turn them into gardens or build houses on them like Kesengen has done. However, with a little help from a bulldozer this one could probably be opened again.

We also were testing cell phone reception in this remote part of PNG. Since 2007 cell towers are springing up all over PNG, which has made communication much easier and more reliable. However, in Kesengen the service is still spotty and most of the time you have to hike to the top of the mountain if you are going to get service. Our communication and technical services department sent us out with a special antenna to test to see if it would boost the signal strength enough for us to get reception. Here we are attempting to use it with the crowd of on lookers. Sorry to say that we got no reception during this attempt.

This is the sign telling people the price per kilogram for sun dried coffee beans in the big coffee bags. This region grows a lot of coffee and we walked though many coffee gardens along our trek. This weeks price is 3.50 Kina or about $1.35. This coffee is then taken to a coffee mill that will roast it and bag it to sell to the public or overseas.

Leaving Kesengen we pile up our bags for our porters to carry. Now before you think that we have just slipped back into colonial times it is a good thing that we had porters carry our bags. First off, the trail ahead was pretty rough and we didn't want to go tumbling off the mountain trails to our deaths and also the people feel it is a gesture of hospitality to help you as you travel though their area.

Finally the view of Kesengen from the road as we climb the trail on our way to Saut.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Brian for coming (and Susan for letting him come!). If you guys hadn't joined me, I never would have gone. You prayed over me, kept me light-hearted when I would have been anxious, asked good questions of the people to help me learn a lot of valuable information, and so much more. You definitely served us and our translation program, and the people will be talking about you guys for years to come! I still hear the names of each of the surveyors (from 2006) almost daily, so you'll be famous for a long time. Thanks!!