Diversity fascinates Germans


FASCINATING animal worlds. The magical world of the Sepik River. Stretches of black beaches at the foot of active volcanoes. A gorgeous island world with its cordial inhabitants.
These were some of the descriptions by two German visitors on their blog after two trips to the country in four years.
Biologist Dr Burkhard Heuse and his nurse Benjamin Heistracher left Port Moresby for Germany last Saturday.
They told The National prior to their departure that Papua New Guinea’s diversity so fascinating to a European.
“There is so much to see in remote parts of the country,” Heuse said.
Despite being in a wheelchair and the long hours of travel, Heuse decided to come to PNG for leisure.
The long trip began in 2014, from snowy Germany to the tropical heat.
This year was his second trip, again with his male caregiver Heistracher, who Heuse met on online.
During an interview with local media at the Jackson International Airport, Port Moresby, Heuse spoke highly of the exotic places he visited in Madang, Eastern Highlands, East Sepik, East New Britain and Milne Bay.
Heistracher posted images on his blog and described the incredible hospitality of the locals.
“Unknown to us (European) cultures, fascinating animal worlds, the magical world of the Sepik River, black beaches at the foot of active volcanoes, absolute madness and chaos at local airports, astonishment and enthusiasm of the locals on the first electronic wheelchair ever seen in PNG,” he said.
“We have our limits searched, found and overcome. I have the highest respect for Burkhard. It takes a lot to dare such a thing.”
Heuse, 51, said he was planning another visit in the next two years.
“PNG’s biodiversity is so fascinating, not much can be seen, more in remote areas, PNG needs to take care, agriculture things are increasing, there’s still a lot to do,” he said.
“Apart from bird-watching, I attended the Goroka Show, two-day trip to Duke of York Islands, a night in Gazelle village, I did a lot of talking to anyone.
“From a European point of view, PNG is so diverse, different cultures and people, so I need to come back.
“I’m already planning for the third visit.
“First visit, I was here, was bird trips, which is more difficult but instead we managed to do a two-day trip on the Sepik River in a canoe, you know sleeping in a guest house in a remote village – was  amazing.
“Never thought it would be possible,
“I also did a trip to Duke of York Islands.
“On this second trip, I realised a lot about PNG.
“First trip, I tried to see Bird of Paradise. This time I saw eight species in three days.
“I need a nurse wherever I go, whenever I go. I live alone in my own flat in Germany.
“I met Benjamin Heistracher for the first time before I came to PNG. So I put my plan on the internet and asked if someone would like to join me and couple of people responded so I interviewed some of them and I saw he was the best.”
Commenting on the services offered by the Air Niugini people living disabilities: “They have improved over the last two years.
“Flights have improved.
“I plan to come back in two years’ time.
“I need to work and earn some money.
“In Germany, there is strong support for the handicapped from the government, families are not so close, I live 600km away from my family which is not easy.
“It’s going to be a long flight back, and work on Monday.”

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