Stilt World 3
Kiunga, Western Province, Papua New Guinea / November 2013: Walking under the shadows of these houses on stilts, I realized that not only was the location of this community different being on water most of the time; the people who live in it are also different. As my companion conversed with some residents, I heard a familiar language being spoken, not tok piksin nor a tribal dialect, it was Bahasa Indonesia. Having worked in Indonesia for a while and having picked up a bit of the language, I was able to get their story. They are refugees from Indonesia. They have crossed the border from West Papua in Indonesia to this mining frontier inside the PNG territory, have found odd jobs, built families, and even inter-married with locals. But, having no land of their own, they decided to live along the banks of the Fly River where the water is always trying to swell up to the floors where they are sleeping. So far they have managed to stay above water by using very high stilts but they know that someday the forces of nature will prevail.