When the Fly Dries Out
Kiunga, Western Province, Papua New Guinea / November 2013: A brief lull in a ceremony I was attending in town gave me an opportunity to check out a favorite spot along the bank of the mighty Fly River just behind some of the major establishments of this remote mining frontier. What attracts me to this spot is not only the Fly River but the small intrepid community that dares to live above the river’s treacherous waters by building their homes high up on stilts. The stilts are of course strong magnets to my camera as their lines play illusions on the water.
But the place was a different world this time of the year. The river tributary has shrunk into just a small stream and all the houses stood on dry ground. Even the house across the river which stood very close to the water the last time I visited now had several meters of dry land for its frontage. The river’s dark sand and whatever debris or garbage its water left behind are now lying exposed under the sun or under the shade of the stilted houses. Ah, this time was apparently a different part of the cycle of life along the Fly River.