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The Journey to Paradise Photos of great cultural and natural beauties of Papua New Guinea

 
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:03 PM
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Keapara Village - East of Port Moresby

From Malum Nalu - Monday, November 25, 2002

East of Port Moresby.

East of Port Moresby, along the Magi Highway, is some of the most – scenic and beautiful coastline of Papua New Guinea.

These areas, however, hardly rate a mention in any of the tourist brochures of this country.

It is rather ironic that, just outside of Moresby, lie some of the real gems in the crown of this enthralling country.

Waterfront at Keapara Village which is situated approximately 126 km from Port Moresby along the Magi Highway. The village itself is only accessible by boat and motor vehicles are left on the mainland :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:06 PM
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That was my verdict after an enjoyable weekend in the coastal village of Keapara, in the Hood Lagoon area of Central Province, from last Friday (November 22) to Sunday.

Keapara is about three hours drive from Moresby, passing first through the Motuan coastal villages of Tubuserea, Barakau, Gaire, and Manugoro on to Gabagaba.

From here, you make a detour to the inland Rigo village of Saroa, pass through the small town of Kwikila and over the mighty Kemp Welsh River (which provides for very fertile agricultural land) until you arrive at the junction with the Launakalana Road – which leads on to Hood Lagoon.

The Magi Highway, after the junction with the Launakalana Road, leads on to Kupiano and Abau, which also offer breathtaking scenery – but that’s another story.

My workmate Ravu John, one of our drivers at my day job, seen here at his village in Keapara :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:07 PM
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The Launakala Road, which until recently was just about impassable, is now manageable after some hard work done recently by a grader.

I gathered from my fellow passengers on the open – back PMV to Hood Lagoon last Friday that, a few months ago, it would take hours to travel there.

I remembered reading an article on this very same road by Post – Courier Features Editor Numa Alu, who is from the Hood Lagoon village of Alukuni, in a Friday Weekend Magazine earlier this year.

The reason I was travelling to Keapara was to attend the 17th anniversary celebrations of the Bethel 11 United Church Building.

On the dinghy heading home :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:09 PM
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Aussie, a good friend, had called me earlier in the day asking if I wanted to travel to Keapara with one of her workers.

I keenly agreed, as I’d never been to Keapara, and also wanted to get away from the pressures of Moresby for the weekend.

So last Friday afternoon, in the company of Ravu and with a whole convoy of vehicles, it was “here we come, Keapara!”.

Lonely Fisherman seen here on the waters surrounding the village :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:11 PM
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The beautiful singing voices of the Keapara women kept us awake all the way along the Magi Highway to the junction with the Launakalana Road.

From here, it was another hour over some very rough road (although this was off set by some very pleasant scenery), to Hood Lagoon.

When the whole convoy of vehicles arrived from Moresby, a flotilla of dinghies came across from Keapara, to take the town folk and visitors like me to this attractive coastal village.

Dinghy Ferrying passengers to the Island :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:13 PM
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When we arrived just as the sun was spilling its rays on the western horizon, our mouths were stuffed with boiled sago and bananas – which is a traditional welcome.


Welcoming people from Port Moresby back to the village :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:15 PM
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After formalities, we went to Ravu’s house, where I was introduced to his family and we exchanged pleasantries until tiredness got the better of us.

That night, the villagers got together in clans, and prayed and made preparations for the next day.

Preparations started early next morning, from the first rays of the sun, as the roosters were crowing.

The villagers got together into their four clans: Keapara, Vanugaraka, Amoa, and Oneraka.

After seeing a picture of Ravu's family home in the village, I can see now why he burns up the overtime - its to pay off this lovely home ! :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:17 PM
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The day started with gospel and peroveta (prophet) singing, collection, traditional singsings, and presentation of various items by young people.

The beautiful singing voices rose as one this clear Saturday morning, above the waves of the Hood Lagoon, across the bay and beyond.

Children, young men and women, as well as the elderly joined in the chorus of gospel and peroveta singing in praise of the Almighty.

Their voices rose - in a crescendo - above the waves and over the hills and far away.

Sailing Canoes seen here on the village sand :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:19 PM
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It was quite moving, especially for an outsider like myself, to see basically the whole village passionately involved in the singing.

In any coastal village of Papua New Guinea, and especially in the Central Province, the Church is the centerpiece with pride of place

Despite the sweltering heat, the villagers gave their best, why was why so many were exhausted at day’s end.

The people of Keapara are very much God – fearing and Christianity plays a big part in their lives.

Pioneer London Missionary Society missionary, Reverend Henry Lawes, set foot on Keapara on April 5, 1876.

Plaque commemorating his arrival in the village :
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Old 27-11-2002, 02:20 PM
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It was on this day that villager, Kini Ope, welcomed and received the man of God who brought them the Good News of Jesus Christ.

I took some time off from the main proceedings to be a local tourist around Keapara and the neighbouring villages of Alukuni and Karawa.

Ravu and Terry, a young Gerehu High School student, took me for a walk along the coastline of the three villages.

They showed me the best fishing grounds, places where they collect crabs, as well as various features.

Ravu and Terry :
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