Road infrastructure, health and education are lacking at the remote Upper Bundi area of Madang Province.
It has gotten so bad that in desperation, those who are sick give pigs to fellow villagers to carry them to the nearest health centre.
One of the locals, Regina Mandawe, said though they vote in their political representative every five years, their leaders soon forget about them every time.
“Gavman giamanim mipla na rot ino kam,” she said. (The government lied to us; there is no road.)
“Stua nogat. Na ol man tu sik tu; ol man sa kilim pik na gim ol, ol save karim bodi na go lo haus sik. Bebi tu, sampla ol i dai lo rot nabaut. (There are no shops. When people get sick, they slaughter pigs and give to other villagers to carry them to the health centre. Babies too; some die along the way.)
“Bundi tu gat gutpla haus sik tasol ol rot bagarap. Rot bagarap na dokta tu ol i go lo ples blo ol.” (Bundi has a health facility but the road is bad. Doctors have also left for their own areas.)
Supporting Mandawe was Agnes Yapoi, who highlighted how costly it is to slaughter a pig just to get assistance to a health centre.
“Man nogat pik na i gat moni, em save baim na ol save karim i go,” she said. (Those without pigs but have money, they pay and they take them to the health centre.)
“Na disla samting olgeta i nogat, man i dai nating. (If they don’ have these things, they die.)
“Ol save planim, ol no save karim go. (They just bury them; they don’t take them to the health centre.)
“Mangi tu, ol karim go lo haus sik, ol save indai. Na ol save karim bek i kam lo haus blong ol na ol save putim nating.” (Children also die along the way. They bring them back and bury them.)
The women further extended their heartfelt gratitude to local man, Vincent Kumura, for volunteering his time to bringing them service.
“Nau disla taim, mipla stap i go na Vincent kam lo hia, nau bungim ol man, longwe longwe kam klostu. (Vincent came and brought everyone together; those from afar have come to seek assistance.)
“Em save helpim mipla lo marasin. Emigari em save helpim ol, Bundi em save helpim ol; olgeta hap em save helpim ol.” (He helps us with medical supplies. He helped those from Emigari, he helped those from Bundi; he helped everyone from all over Bundi.)
Meantime, the annual ‘Travel2Change’ campaign brings health services to the unreached people of Bundi. This year’s campaign against malaria started on Monday, the 13th of December, and will end on the 30th.
(The ‘Travel2Change’ trek team sorting out their medical supplies)