My trip to Kutubu

The Crocodile Prize is here at the heart of Southern Highlands Province. In the next 2days, I will be visiting Kikori, Semberigi and Gobe. All these would not have been possible if it had not been for the sponsorship and additional support from the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC). We are fortunate to form a mutually beneficial arrangement with the MRDC. On behalf of the Voluntary Organising Committee I would like to thank MRDC. Miss Iona Sharon Reto the Public Relations Officer of MRDC invited the Crocodile Prize to travel up to Kutubu to do awareness in the project area schools.
The Crocodile Prize Committee will be visiting three project area schools namely Kikori Secondary School located at the Kikori Station, Don Mosely and Wemi Primary Schools located in the Semberigi and Gobe Area.
I will be keeping a daily log of my travel up to Moro, Kikori, Gobe and Semberigi.

Day 1
Travel up to Moro Camp Oil Search PNG
I was privileged to get on the Oil Search Limited (OSL) Charter Flight up to Moro along with OSL employees returning from their break, contractors and landowners under the Kutubu Petroleum Resources Company (a landowner company here in Kutubu).
The flight is about an hour and a half from Port Moresby to Moro Airport. We were lucky to arrive just before the clouds started gathering and closing in as is the norm for evenings here in Moro. The place is quiet and cool. It is submerged in between the mountains. It was exciting, having to go with the mining camp protocol of signing in and being issued a ‘Visitors Pass’. The pass is my ticket to accessing the facilities owned by OSL. I was warned when I got my pass not to lose this as this was my access to accommodation and the mess up here at Iagifu Ridge Camp.
We took another 20 minutes’ drive from the Moro Airport to the Iagifu Ridge Camp. We drove up and down ridges. I could not say how many because I was mesmerised by the mountains and the green all around. The forest remains to be untouched. It is an OSL Policy that the bus shuttles go by a speed limit of 30km/h because there are usually villagers walking by on the roads, children running and playing freely and occasionally domesticated animals cross. On this trip, pigs were out near the road side enjoying the mud and trodding along completely oblivious to our presence more so toward me. I was hoping to get a welcome or a smile but had an unceremonious welcome. Pigs being pigs I thought as we waited about 4 minutes to let a pig pass before we pushed on.
The mountains are a beauty and I got to watch the fog descend and cover the ridges as we drove along. For everyone else, it was a norm, a sight they see every day, but for a first timer like me, it was a breathtaking experience. I was informed by Iona, that the forest remains untouched because it is under the World Wildlife Fund Conservation.
We arrived at the Ridge Camp at about 6:15pm. We were assigned rooms (thanks to my Visitors Pass), with my Pass, I was also given access to the mess where they provided delicious hot meals. Off course I noticed that first because my belly was unhappy with my ignorance of its need. I was also freezing and my immediate solution was to put food in to help keep me warm. I looked on to see others wearing short sleeve shirts and I wondered if they felt the cold that was experiencing. The food that was served ranged from roasted beef, pork, salads and even deserts. All of these were mouth-watering. I was literally salivating, my belly screamed more and my eyes glued to the display. I commend OSL for looking after their employees well. I met an expatriate who is from Adelaide and has been working here for Oil Search for five years. He sees himself as a local. It was exciting, as the employees here are open and friendly.
After that delicious hot meal and with a cup of coffee, I followed Iona, as she showed me the recreation area and the little store that they have. It started raining and as the place started getting cooler, we both decided to call it a day. We planned an early start as we have to be up by 5:00am in the morning. We will take the 6:00am shuttle bus back to Moro to get on the chopper that is going to Kopi Camp which will be my home away from home for the next two days.
I look forward to sharing my experience, especially how Crocodile Prize Literature Competition will be received. Hopefully Crocodile Prize gets some entries from Papua New Guineans here.

2 comments

  1. Thank you Gretel for this piece. It was very good. I stayed with the Story. I like the unwelcoming pigs, pigs being pigs many I find in Waigani these days. Hope to get entries from Kikori and other parts of Southern Highlands Province. Great writing. Looking forward for day 2

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