Back in Kiunga

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Overcast skies over the small Kiunga airport

June 2013: This was my fourth visit to the small town of Kiunga in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea but I was getting mixed feelings this time.  I like Kiunga for its raw simplicity despite its being one of the most progressive towns in PNG due to the huge mining activity in the area.  But I also feel anxious going to the place because all my past visits were marked by flight delays, two of which actually got me stranded for days.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Passengers’ luggage wait for the plane to Port Moresby behind a written notice indicates that the flight has been delayed for 2 hours

Now there I was again at the small airport terminal with two of my colleagues staring at this notice that said that the inbound plane that was to take us back to Port Moresby has been delayed.  Oh no!  That was reason enough for me to worry.  In the past, a similar notice was eventually changed to total cancellation of the flight.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

This member of the ground crew chose to spend the lull talking on her mobile phone

And so, while I silently hoped that the plane was going to arrive soon, I took out my camera and started taking photos of the place.  It was the best thing to do.  There were no cafes or duty free shops where we can hang out but there were small activities as planes going to other destinations came and went.

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Bystanders and well-wishers watch as a plane from another airline arrives at the terminal

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

And then the plane headed back to the runway leaving this family glued to the place as they watched the aircraft take off and disappear into the cloudy skies.

And then our plane finally arrived.  Our departure got delayed but at least we did not get stranded for days as I had in the past.  Such is life in Papua New Guinea.  In order to get to other places; one has to have enough money to buy a plane ticket and enough patience to wait for the plane because there’s no other way to get somewhere else except to  fly above the endless mountains, rivers and tropical jungles.