THE Nomane airstrip, in Chimbu, was built in the 1950s.
Our ancestors built the airstrip from simple tools such as spades, bush knives, forks and whatever they could get hold of.
The people did not understand the real significance of the airstrip during that time.
They thought that by building the airstrip, their lives would change and some white men’s so-called development might come into Nomane.
Since the 1950s this lone airstrip has been left to deteriorate in the face of successive governments.
Governments come and go but not one has bothered to put a single toea into maintaining the airstrip. The locals themselves have been doing the work, using grass knives, bush knives and spades to clear overgrown bushes and fill up the crater-like potholes.
It is the only airstrip in the Nomane LLG and serves the population through the services of third-level airlines like SDA Aviation, MAF and New Tribes which operate out of Goroka.
It is the only means of travel, especially during times of emergency, out of Nomane when the road is impassable because of either a roadblock or landslide.
The people wonder if the government will help. Only time will tell but if nothing happens then so be it for this is our place and with or without government support we will survive.
We are appealing to the Salt Nomane Karimui district development authority, the Simbu provincial government and rural airstrip authority to help with funding.