From 6-Mile to Kwikila

Regular traveller on the Magi Highway ticks off Rigo villages as his bus whizzes by

PEOPLE travel to distant places for different purposes – whether it is exploration, sightseeing or business.
My regular trips to Central’s Rigo district headquarter Kwikila are for business. That is to sell old newspapers to tobacco roll sellers and smokers who usually travel in from various parts of Rigo to sell garden produce, betel nuts, fresh fish or meats at Kwikila market, to do shopping or attend to other business at their district headquarter.
As an old newspaper dealer based in the city, l have to get to Kwikila in time to do sales and then to make a return trip back into the city in the afternoon.
The one-way fare from Port Moresby to Kwikila used to be K10 but now has increased to K13. To be on time to approach as many customers, l have to be up by as early as 6am to get to 4-Mile to get on the first available Kwikila-bound PMV.
On Friday, July 22, l woke up from my makeshift home at the 6-Mile Emma Hostel demolition site to find that it was 5am on the clock. When l realised that there was still about an hour left, I didn’t have the appetite to go back to bed again and used the remaining time fixing up my sales stuff and folded and tucked away my cardboard bed and tidied up my disposed car trailer room.
After all that needed to be done was done, l used the remaining minutes to get some typing done over my phone. When it was 6am, I was another early bird walking out and was on my way to 6-Mile main bus stop and shopping center. That was in the hope to get on a bus to 4-Mile so l could get on one of the early highway PMVs bound for Kwikila.
There was a queue of about three PMV buses already waiting. I got on the first one that already had passengers in it. With all seats taken up the driver started the engine and took off heading 4-Mile way. When the crew collected the K1 fare l gave him a K10 note and expected to collect my K9 change later as my mind was busy making up plans of what I’ll be doing at 4-Mile.
During the ride l forgot to collect my K9 change and got off at my final destination. I looked across and saw three 15-seater PMVs stationed at the highway PMV stop. I really wanted to get on the first one but hesitated as l needed to get a copy of the weekender paper before getting on the bus. That is because l do not want to miss the daily paper. That is what l thought. I looked around to see if the two usual spots of selling the two daily papers had someone selling the papers.
A thought came into my mind reminding me that l forgot to get the change from the PMV crew and jumped off the bus without it. I realised l made this mistake a fourth or fifth time now because l had done something like that several times in the past. Instead of getting on a bus for the highway trip, l ran as a mad man trying to track down Route 15 PMV that just dropped me off and went in pursuit of it to Tabari Place.
When l was there in less than a minute, l found out that there was no Route 15 bus amongst the other early PMVs there at Tabari. I thought to myself, it could not be en-route to Murray Barracks and Hohola unless it picked up passengers there at Tabari. So what I thought was right. The driver and crew turned and came back and pulled to the side at TST bus stop in trying to load passengers for 5, 6 and 7-Mile.
That’s what l have found out later. From Tabari I crossed the road and walked up to the main 4-Mile bus stop opposite the police traffic office. From a distant I spotted a Route 15 bus. I was thinking to myself, “ls that the right bus or a different one?”
Before l approached the driver and his crew to ask them if I had travelled with them into 4-Mile from 6-Mile a while ago. But before l did that, I hesitated and cursed myself for making such a silly mistake. l also feared that I could be approaching the driver and crew of a wrong bus.
I brushed aside my fears and went forward and told the crew my story. But he said I was asking the wrong man.
He advised me to go to TST bus stop as he was aware of the morning pattern of certain PMVs coming down from airport and 6-Mile way.
I suspected rightly that the bus made a turn at Tabari and came to a stop at TST. When I finally arrived at the TST bus stop, I pretended as much as possible that I was not worried or upset. As soon as I came near I saw that it was the bus that I had travelled on in the morning. The crew saw me called out, “Hey, I have your K9 change ready here.”
I was glad and all my mad rush to and fro stop there. I then had my mind set for the trip to Kwikila.
After l grabbed a copy of the daily paper I got on a bus that was second in the queue because the first one already took off.
When l got into the 15-seater PMV for the trip along the Magi Highway for Kwikila, I saw that most of the passengers in there where Highlands buai sellers. As soon as the remaining seats were taken up, our journey on the Magi Highway to Kwikila and other destinations along the way began.
The driver pulled on to the main Sir Hubert Murray Highway to head out to 6-Mile and then to turn to the Magi Highway.
There was a fuel stop at 5-Mile service station. As the bus refuelled, the crew collected the fare from us. We then continued the trip after refuelling. At 6-Mile roundabout the driver turned right. Kwikila was now about 50km or so away.
The driver who knows what goes in the minds of his special Highlands passengers sped along as we passed through Saraga, Gereka, and on to Bautama – the proposed site for the Central province capital.
The journey continuedas we drove past Loloata Island Resort turnoff, Tubusereia and Barakau. We continued on hoping to get some breakfast at the infamous Gaire Market.
At Gaire the driver pulled to the side for a stop for passengers to help themselves on what they desire d- whether food, drinks or betel nuts.
The journey continued after a few minutes stop as we drove past the villages of Manugoro and Ginigolo – heading towards the intersection of Kwikila, Hula and Gabagaba.
At the intersection the driver then turned left in the direction of Kwikila and Abau.
One after another we passed through the villages of Gomore, Kwalimurubu and up the hill towards Saroa.
Then the descending part of our journey started as we travelled down several hills until we reached our ultimate destination.
As soon as the route 200 white Toyota 15-seater Hiace bus came to a halt at the usual bus stop at Kwikila, those of us anxious Highlands passengers rushed out of the bus to fulfill our hearts’ desires of the day.
I went my way, they went their way.