Monday, April 7, 2008

Return to Lae

Tuesday, April 8, 08
With warnings of trouble in Kainantu, Bill and I, with a couple in the back seat who are returning home to Rabaul, start out of the SIL compound gate at 5:30 am.
The trouble around the compound has been between two clans which both claim the same land. This dispute has been ongoing for generations. Yesterday, with arrows flying, this can be witnessed from the compound fence, the two clans fought. Two men are shot - one in the ribs and the other in the leg. No one will treat fight wounds, so the wounded were transported elsewhere, probably Goroka 1 1/2 hours distance. The other trouble spot is in Kainantu, 15 kms from the compound, where a group of men has been terrorizing the community. Here is the version I heard. The police caught the men who were carrying some rifles and arrested them. Later, with no one watching, the police dropped them off at their houses. That set the community in an uproar and they stoned the police cars and sent them out of town.
We pass the first point, an area of land over which the clans have been fighting - no one there. Next are two bridges - clear. Then, into Kainantu itself - only several men sweeping the yard and a man carrying some fire - four out of four. Two hours later we at the airport, deposit the outgoing couple and head into Lae for some breakfast and check in at the SIL guesthouse.
Bill has been doing some shopping, looking for a bike tire, paint, drugs, fence posts, flashlight, and such items. I have gone along till now. As I wait for him to complete some errands, I will spend time at an Internet Cafe, get my hairs cut, and see about some non-stick gauze. What I presently have doesn't work very well.
Not knowing when I will be able to next post, I should write about my schedule. Wed, April 9, I have an afternoon flight to Port Moresby. Thursday, April 10, my flight to Singapore leaves around 3:00 pm and arrives late. I would like to get a room in Singapore and head out on the 11th into Malaysia. If I can get to Melaka, that would be good. Otherwise, I will stop someplace and report in from that point. It will be good to get into the familiar surroundings of Malaysia. The next two weeks will be in there.
There is a story which could have taken place in any third world country that Bill and I laugh at. The UN made an effort to bring better hygiene, more batheing, into an area. When the men sat at the fire, the following evening, one of their group, let's call him Joe, walked up and sat down. Oh, replied another man, I'm sorry, I didn't smell you coming.

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