Inuma village, located in the region of Central Province in Papua New Guinea is about 3-4 hours drive along the Magi-Highway, South-East of Port Moresby, the country’s capital city. Village life in Inuma is no different to many remote villages in Papua New Guinea. Many villages have tightly-knit communities that function systematically in many different ways. Many villages are remote, without electricity, mains water and flushing toilets. Spending time in the village made me realise what I take for granted in my everyday life in western society. It brought me to a different world from modern way of life.
To get a better understanding and appreciation of what life is like for the majority of the people who haven’t travelled to a third-world country, you should really consider spending couple of days or stay at a homestay in one of the local villages. You will get a life changing experience, an escape from urban cities way of life. However, staying in the village with families gave me a snapshot of what life is like in the village. It is a simple way of life that wanna keeps me going back home.
Spending a day in Port Moresby after arriving from Australia was long enough before taking on my adventure road journey on a public motor vehicle (PMV) to my destination – Inuma village. We drove on south-east and for the first couple of hours we drove on hard on good roads (much improved since the 90s when they were pot-holed dirt roads). Once we past the other side of Kwikila, the road conditions began to change. The road by now had deteriorated much from the tarmac of earlier and we bounced around in the vehicle as we dodged or hit pot-holes. Riding on the PMVs with no safety seat belts made the road trip very uncomfortable. It was rough, dusty and bumpy. Along the Magi Highway, we past through many villages and the scenic vast areas of lands untouched by developers made the road trip even more intriguing, an experience of a life time.
A short while later, we finally made it to Inuma village. Returning back home for a short time after been away for few years refreshed me of childhood memories living in this beautiful part of the world that I call home. The way of doing things have not changed but the quality way of lifestyle have slowly improved over the years. However, the life here in this tiny village of Inuma is much simpler than Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. It is a lot more easier and relaxed way of life. Many villagers go about their ways – go to the rivers for swim and bath, gardening or hunting. I just simply indulge in a stress and trouble free atmosphere.
Virtually all village life in PNG is subsistence living, Inuma village is no exception. Which means that the villagers grow the majority of what they eat in small gardens. That have cleared by hand from the jungle and bush. In a location such as Inuma, its rich fertile soil provides an abundance of garden vegetables . And therefore an excellent source of additional food. Then, of course, there are wild fruits found every where. Luxuries such as clothes, washing powder and kerosene for lighting are bought by selling vegetables, fish and hand-made things at the local markets.
The most amazing and exciting part about going back to the village is the way they live and how go about doing things. Having grown up in this village, I still feel that I am much more a part of their lives and blend in many ways as possible.
On many ocassions, village community gather for certain type of project that they all they part in working together. Whether it is for ones own garden or church involved project. Depending on the work but usually they complete the task within the day. The whole village community comes out to help apart from their own individual or family gardens that they survive on. They’re bright, noisy affairs and a whole lot of fun too. The whole atmosphere was electrifying.
What I love about going back home
Who wouldn’t love to go home? There is no place like home and home is where our heart is truly defines how each person or individual belongs to. Being happy, comfortable and relax is a place where you feel like at home and that is something above and beyond.
For the last few decades, going back home to the village had long been a much-loved holiday destination when I could relax and enjoy a break from the 9-to-5 grind back home. The dream of getting off the hamster wheel of working life and take a short break from home away from home, the village life in Papua New Guinea. It was time to go back home and that was exactly what I did. I know it was going to be a culture shock for me going back but mainly for me, I miss the proximity with my families back home, especially after living overseas for almost 30 years, now families at home have grown up children and engaging in so many things. It was the greatest moment for me, seeing them for the first time.
During the few years of my absence from the village and when I went back home to the village, my camera has never been so busy. The village life there has been definitely an eye-opener; the delightful people, the breathtaking scenery, the vibrant village community gatherings, simple and relaxed way of life… Every day there was so many photo worthy moments. Sometimes, it is true that a picture can paint a thousand words. Each picture tells a story of a certain place and time. In my opinion, there is no place on earth that a simple photo can tell so much about a place than Inuma Village. Here are just a few of my favourites.
Village way of Life
The faces of families back home tells a story. Despite modernisation and the threat to their way of life, especially their way of doing things to survive is gradually changing but their beautiful smiles are always cancerous and unforgetable. They still continue to live the way they have for centuries and they are happy. Here are some of my favourites.
Family Fun Experience
Telling my friends that I was going home was a huge wake-up call for me as most of my friends in Australia know very little about village way of life. However, sharing some of experiences like this opens up a whole new world to many. I hope to go back again and spent more time in the village. The highlight of my entire trip was spending time with my families and at the river as kids go about diving above waste-deep waters for prawns for my lunch as we made fires at each site near the river while enjoying my prawns with dry coconut on the menu. Most of the children were happy to get fresh coconut for my refreshment and the entire experience was far better than I first thought. I simply fell in love with the beauty, pristine and untouched environment. It was absolutely extraordinary and like no place on earth to experience this unique way of life.
Road to Port Moresby: Maggi Highway
The trip back from the village to Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea was an experience that won’t be forgotten easily and without a doubt, it was an experience I want to repeat again – that was jumping on any public motor vehicle (PMV) passing along the highway. It was a rough journey but will do it again whenever I go back for a visit.
The road to Port Moresby from the village is probably the least treacherous, however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most dangerous roads in the world. I found that, when it comes to driving the Maggi Highway, it is the journey, not the destination, that is the main attraction on travelling on public motor vehicles. There are few words that I can describe the beauty of this drive – rough and dusty road, windy, ever-changing green and lush valleys and passing through many tiny villages. There is only one town along the highway which is less attractive compared to tiny outback towns in Australia which are well-maintained with clean facilities and respected shops. To me this was the experience I wanted to discover – a highway to heaven itself. To others, experiencing and exploring this highway is certainly not for everyone. If you rather sit back, relax and simply enjoy the comfort – travel on your own vehicle.
The trip back home can be describe in one simple word – Incredible. I loved my trip and what truly made the difference was my sister, nephew, brother-in-law and my families back home in the village. Without them, this would have made the trip un-extraordinary. I have seen and experience the lifestyle in just few days and that was just only one small part of it. It was incredibly amazing experience.
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