We asked Aaron’s uncle with other villagers and they told us that to Daru it is about 3-4 hours. So we took our time in talking to many villagers before we left. On the way we met many villagers who were travelling on their wooden canoes with sails. That is their way of transport, it cost nothing but human energy to steer the canoe.
We called into two villages before heading to Daru. Before we left Port Moresby to Tabubil our team leader and Director told us that Daru is the worst place where people live in the waterfront on the canoe and just beside or on the rubbish. This is what we will see with our own eyes now. The navigator instructed the skipper to go past the jetty and into the boats area; we came across the first boat people. We tried to capture as much as we could with our cameras but at the same time didn’t want to draw too much attention from the boat people, other wise they got offended and cross with us.
Simon called the guesthouse and the driver came to pick us up on a small van, which had to make 2 trips. When we checked into our rooms we were so tired but felt proud that the first part of the trip was over than we settle down to a cold soft drink and cold beer for those who drink SP.
The next day we got a few people to film so we divided into 2 groups, 3 of us went back to one of the villages in the main land. We were told that a woman, a Reverend in one of the churches is a good person to talk to. When we went to the village she was there, she tells us more than what we want to know and take back to the people of Solomon Islands. We went back to Daru and did an interview with Robin Mogen, the only person who is against the mine in Ok Tedi and has taken the company to court a few years ago.
Later in the afternoon all the food like rice and tin goods ran out in the shops, there was no ship for months. The sago that used to be PNG K5 was at K30 and people went out to the sea to buy it from the villagers from the main land. The next day people gathered for a protest march and all the shops closed down. We came passed a New Century shop where all the posters of the candidates were hang, one particular guy when he saw us with the cameras pointed to the posters on the wall, calling them stupid people.
Yes, I seen them with my own eyes and believe what Simon told us before we left for Port Moresby and truly in deed this is the worst place, where people live in such rubbish dump, I have seen in the Melanesian countries. After all I will say that the Western Province especially along the Fly River area is one of the forgotten places in PNG. The Government doesn’t care about the human beings, it only cares about the Gold and Copper in the head or upper part and dump the waste down to this one hundred thousand plus people. I was very sad and moved when I saw a kid about 9 years old playing in front of the beach with lots of human waste. Was this the cause of the mine, or the Government not being there to provide services or is it just the people who left their homes to come to town? I don’t know the answer, I can only know if I stay there long enough.
Before we left Daru in the cause of the food shortage we went to visit the fish farm, which is one of the implementations of the Ok Tedi mine to help with the deceasing fish population in the Fly River. This looks like a great program, but the question is will the fish be able to survive in an increasingly polluted river.
The picture we see is the effects are far higher than the benefits. So who will change the death warrant the people signed with out knowing what will happen to them. The Government is killing its own people because of money, money.
Our flight was late but we flew back to Port Moresby where the city lights sign out clear. While we are eating at the Airways Hotel restaurant with lots of food my mind raced back to the people we seen in Daru and up the river they are friendly but their staple food is getting low. Only the good Lord knows when he will take one of the leaders into modern day Moses. The picture I take home is, they need Ok Tedi and Ok Tedi needs them.