door Kathrin Pape
After my trip to Senopi and Ibuanari I came back to Manokwari to, among other things, extend my visa for Indonesia. So I spent my days with visiting the Immigration Department and planned my departure to Sorong and Ayawasi. An Aqua Tower was installed in Ayawasi in 2012 and I wanted to check whether access to clean water in Ayawasi is still given. And it is!
The small village of Ayawasi has about 700 inhabitants. They have a kindergarten, elementary school and a junior high school. Basic health care is provided through the clinic. Before the building of the Aqua Tower in 2012 the villagers had to walk to the two wells outside the village to gather their water. After the installation of the Aqua Tower water is easy accessible at different points of the village. Pipes are installed to provide access to clean water. After the rainy season the community was facing problems as the pump was broken and the pipes muddy and got dirty with sand.
Now the situation is already very good again as the pump has been fixed and the pipes have been cleaned. The community works together on maintenance and repair of the Aqua Tower so that they all together can daily profit from the Aqua Tower.
During this time in Manokwari there was actually also a day on which it was possible to surf, even if the waves usually reach world-class level until around October. After I got my passport back with the fresh visa stamp, I directly went on to purchase a boat ticket from Manokwari to Sorong. I had heard that in the evening a ship should arrive which is due to leave at 02:00 clock on Saturday morning towards the west. There was a ticket in a 4-person-cabin and in the evening I was already at the crowded harbor and waited for the departure to Sorong. It was exciting to see how life came into this small town of Manokwari in the middle of the night, hundreds of people jumped around the ship and goods were handled while the first passengers on the ship already busied to save the best places, while other passengers not yet had the opportunity to go ashore in Manokwari. I entered as one of the last people the ship and I had to watch out for all those legs, blankets and boxes, I could hardly imagine that the maximum number of passengers was not exceeded …. After a 12-hour long crossing (and an extended sleep in my bunk bed) we all arrived safely in Sorong and I managed to get from the boat while people were already hurrying up the stairs.
In Sorong I was welcomed by the sisters and went directly to Aimas. One of the sisters there had her 25th birthday and of course we had to celebrate it with coffee and cakes. During the next days I had a look around in Sorong and went on a shopping tour at the market with a family from Bintuni who stayed awith the sisters as well.
Tuesday afternoon my journey to Ayawasi already started. Right by 12 o’clock (we said 9 o’clock so12 o’clock was on time) I was picked up by the truck that would take me and the cupboards and tables for the Pastoran to Suswa and after the delivery of the furniture they would drop me off in the village of Ayawasi. It rained in torrents again, and so we four took a seat in the front (2 drivers, a brother,who was responsible that the furniture and me would safely arrive, and me). Normally, the ride to Suswa should take about 8 hours, but let’s see what happened….
After the first 2 hours we took a lunch break before the long drive into the country to strengthen again. After the first few hours of driving we found, however, that the road was in bad condition after the long rains, and we were progressing only very slowly. It got later and later and we were still about 2 hours away from Suswa at around 22/23 o’clock and the road had many potholes, slippery surfaces and some steep hills and it did not look as if at some point the rain would stop. We looked for refuge in a village on the way. There was an abandoned wooden house in which we could protect us from the rain and where we spent the time until the next morning.
About 9 o’ clock in the morning the rain stopped and we travelled onward to Suswa. Usually it takes not too long from here until Suswa, but the road was destroyed by the rain and after the truck managed some hills and rivers, it seemed as if the last hill before Suswa should become a problem. The brother and I started to walk by foot to Suswa and to look for people who could support us and we soon attracted some men with ropes who were heading towards the truck to pull it the last bit over the hill. We brought the tables and cupboards into the house, took a rest and talked with the village community, but after we spent already 2 hours in Suswa, it was 14:00 o’clock and looked like it would soon start to rain again. We were on our way to Ayawasi (where we actually planned to arrive yesterday evening), but now the truck was empty and it was pouring again and even with all the help from strangers who tried to help us with cars, ropes and manpower there was no way that we would reach Ayawasi by the end of this end. We decided to separate. The two drivers would stay in the truck and they would return the next morning to Sorong and the brother and I stopped a car and looked for a place to stay and a possibility to continue our travels to Ayawasi. The two people in the car who luckily drove us, went regularly to Suswa to sell food and everyday items. They were very friendly and drove us to different houses in the area so that we could ask for a place to sleep. It was already around 23 c’clock and because of the Ramadan they didn’t eat anything yet but they were not going home before we found a place to rest. In a camp for construction workers from Sulawesi we finally were successful and we were glad that we did not have to stay in the forest during the rain. They even gave us some hot tea and food before we fell, exhausted, into our assigned bunk beds and directy asleep.
The next morning it was still raining, but we found a driver who was able to take us to Ayawasi and finally we got there at around noon on Thursday after a 48 hours journey. We were greeted by the sisters and immediately felt comfortable. Unfortunately, during the next 2 days in Ayawasi it didn’t stop raining as well and we spent most of the time with conversations, playing cards, cooking and German lessons.
However, one day we already got up early to hike to a small hill and have a look at the sunrise (that was the plan, unfortunately it was cloudy again) and on another day we walked through the village and visited the primary school. the Play Group and other places in the village.
On Saturday morning we went back to Sorong by car and this time we actually arrived in Sorong after about 6 hours. Incredible. After I bought a return ticket to Manokwari for the following Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the church once more and again I was invited by a very friendly family to their home where we could exchange information about Papua and Germany.
Back in Manokwari I missed the arrival of the new 10th Grade and it was once again very busy and loud in the boarding house. From now on I will teach the 10th Grade in English Conversation and the 11th and 12th Grade are going to learn German from me. Whereever I have been in the last months in West Papua I always was greated with “Hello Mister” so I will be happy about every word I will be able to teach them.