We made two stops on our way to Nabire: one in Mulia and one in Derapos.
Mulia is a central hub for the interior of Papua. With a population of about 10,000 people, it’s a pretty large town! The airstrip there is long and paved, so a lot of airplanes fly in and out of there.
In Mulia, we dropped off some passengers and picked up some new ones. The new passengers were Dani church workers who were heading to Derapos to live and minister. They are the first church workers to ever live in Derapos.
Mulia is also the town where David Scovill lived when he first arrived in Papua (then called Irian Jaya). It has definitely grown a lot since then. It’s amazing to see the Dani church sending out their own people to minister in other tribes!
Our next stop was Derapos. Derapos is a much smaller village with a much smaller, shorter, grass airstrip. The people of Derapos were very excited to see the Dani workers get off of the plane! There were a lot of hugs and tears going around.
Since this was Nathan’s first trip to Derapos, he had to get his strip check-out done. Check-out invloves 5 take offs and landings. And since he’s not allowed to have passengers on board during check-out, I had to stand on the ground for about 45 minutes while he completed his landings.
It’s a strange feeling standing on the ground when the plane takes off. Once the plane is out of hearing distance, you are left in the quiet hum of the jungle. Of course, the people were interested to meet me. I’m not sure they have seen a white women very often in their lives! Several people came by to greet me and shake my hand. We had no common language (they don’t speak English or Indonesian and I don’t speak their tribal language) so we had to communicate through gestures. A few of them let me take their picture. I would show them the picture on my camera afterwards and got varying responses. Some laughed and some looked really disturbed. Hum…not sure what that means.
The girl on the right of this picture stood with me most of the time I was on the ground. Again, we couldn’t talk to each other, but she liked to look at the pictures on my camera.
I took a ton of pictures of Nathan taking off and landing. He’s taking off in this one…
I haven’t even gotten to the Nabire part of our trip yet…tune in next time!