Today I managed, at long last, to capitalise on an opportunity to go with Ryan into the Wantun village.
It was a long day, but a good day, in which everything which could have gone wrong, didn’t.
And – oh man! – what a beautiful place!
The start of the journey is a ~2hr drive from 11 Mile (Lae), to an area known as Mutzing (pronounced moot-zing, where we parked the car inside the property of someone who knows the RMPNG team, and get ready to start walking.
Before long, we’re almost up to our knees in slow flowing water, apparently from a stream diverted recently. I quickly learned that my shoes were not as great for this kind of thing as Ryan’s, and the ruts, mounds, and holes underwater had me doing a great impression of someone using ice-skates for the very first time.
About to cross the “Mighty Markham”
From what I gather, this was an easy trip. Even though the water was rushing in a few places, it was no-where near the torrent it is capable of becoming. A little effort, a new trick or two picked up, and it was time to empty socks of all the sand they’d collected.
With Ryan taking the lead, we headed “inside” to Wantun, with nothing more eventful than the occasional puddle to report.
Church – Pre Service Singsing
After a quick meal, and getting ready, we had our Easter Sunday service, and Ryan (who features so heavily in this story so far, you would be forgiven for thinking he is the protagonist) preached on the joy and marvel which comes from the knowledge of Christ’s resurrection, as opposed to the sorrow and despair if He was defeated by death. Krais i bin kamap winman tru! (Christ is the Victor!)
What happens when you pick the wrong path
After another meal (hospitality is highly valued in this country, and culture), we set off back again, re-tracing all of the uneventful steps we’d taken in the morning. With a thunderstorm building all around us, and the Wantun river already rising, we set a cracking pace with one of the local men leading the way.
By the time we reached the Markham River again, it was looking a lot more threatening, and we had to be much more careful in our choice of crossings. So far, so good.
An easier way to cross water
We finally reach the car, and rain begins to fall, but not so much that it raised any concerns. Then, as we drove, we approached a solid wall of water, which forced our speed down to a crawl as the wipers didn’t even come close to clearing the screen. And then one fell off.
So Ryan made a dash into the rain to fix it.
And then the other one fell off.
So it was my turn.
And then it fell off again.
So we engaged in a little impromptu bush mechanics, involving a tire lever and a metal drink container, where a pair of pliers would have sufficed, and the problem was solved.
Caught in a deluge
Finally home, and glad to swap the wetness of rivers, mud puddles, and torrential rain, for the wetness of a hot shower, before getting ambushed by all of the kids in the compound, and telling them all the tales of the day while they sat wide eyed and open mouthed.