By PAUL MINGA
A TRIP to the city by a man from Jimi in Jiwaka after more than 30 years since his last visit in1986 is quite a story. I realised that when taking him on tour of Port Moresby and a village on the Magi Highway in Central.
Matthew Yuye, 66, from Kawil village, Middle Jimi said his recent visit to Port Moresby as a middle ageD man was a real shock because the city has seen fast and dramatic changes in booming infrastructural developments and landscaping over three decades since his last visit.
It was an amazing and awesome experience for him as a man coming out from the wilderness.
For Matthew it was really fascinating and shocking for him when he first walked out of Jackson’s Airport terminal after disembarking from a PNG Air flight from Goroka on Sept 28, 2020.
Matthew, who now teaches as a senior teacher at Bulunts Community School in Jiwaka reflected upon those bygone days when he first set foot in Port Moresby ago as an 18-year-old police recruit geared up for training at Bomana Police College in 1986.
The boy from Kawil Kua village could recall the city images and landscape in those times back in the mid-1980s when he underwent training at Bomana to become a constable. From what he sighted in his recent visit after 34 years it was as real shock and surprise to him as the city landscape was not what it used to be at that time back then.
Most of the land on which buildings of varying structures and shapes and architectural designs either going up or standing used to be savannah grassland and waterlogged swampy areas.
He said he could not believe his eyes that Port Moresby had grown this fast to be what it is today.
Matthew’s recent visit was to sort out his salary grievances at the Department of Education headquarter at Waigani.
The policeman-turned teacher said that although he was a professional teacher and a grown up person, he was bewildered and amazed by the city’s latest infrastructural developments and landscaping.
I couldn’t believe Matthew when he appeared visibly timid and fascinated like an awe-struck kid. I asked him if he had paid any visit to Port Moresby since his out from Bomana in 1986. Never, he answered.
Anyway, 34 years seemed quite a long time for my friend as he had forgotten the city map and the different suburbs and PMV routes. So Matthew begged me to take him around to different parts of the city so he could get to know the different suburbs, PMV routes and city landmarks. He also asked me to take him out of the city to a place along the highway for sightseeing.
We took a short PMV ride to Gaire, a Motuan village lying near the seaside and more than 30km out of Port Moresby city. We paid a K5 PMV fare each after being dropped off at our destination and went for a tour of the village market and beach.
We took pictures along the highway and the scenes of March Girls Resort and then we walked down to the beach and seaside of Gaire for further sightseeing and a photo shoot of the place.
Matthew was pleased with our photo shooting as he knew he might never return soon for his next visit so he wanted to make use of the opportunity to take back home to his loved ones some memories of his recent trip to the city.
We then returned to the city and I took him to various places; Koki, Badili, town, Konedobu, Ela Beach and Hanuaba on a bus. That was so my friend could get a glimpse of the different places and be familiar with them so he could be left to move around on his own.
Before even getting into the city proper, Mathew had an unfortunate experience at the airport terminal. He said the terminal building was not like what he had known 34 years ago.
He said stood still within the terminal building, thinking of calling his friend to pick him up.
When he rang his friend told him to go over to Vision City thinking that Matthew knew where that was. But poor Matthew replied saying “sorry I have no idea of the place you’re talking about!”
Matthew then got picked up by his friend at the airport terminal.
When the Jimi man went into his friend’s vehicle and as they drove off, he looked out the car window and was amazed by the modern infrastructural developments like the Erima flyover bridge, the city tall buildings, the freeways and latest infrastructural developments and those still under construction.
The typical villager was lost for words each time he took glances at the latest tall buildings and other city infrastructural developments.
It was indeed a breathtaking visit by Matthew to Port Moresby after 34 years since the day he came as an 18-year-old police recruit.
- Paul Minga is a freelance writer.