The National, Tuesday 13th December 2011
WORK on the construction of a new maternity ward and a staff house at the Williame Catholic Mission in Pangia district, Southern Highlands, is progressing well.
The last building materials have been delivered to the project site, with Garry Laka, a programme officer with PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd, witnessing their arrival.
PNGSDP is supporting the Williame Health Centre build a new maternity ward and a staff house with K250,000.
Laka visited the locals at the village after a two-hour drive from Pangia where he saw more than 200 locals, including women and children, carrying the remaining building materials bound for Williame on foot.
The loop road from Pangia district station to Williame ends after about two hours of driving.
The remaining 12km to Williame Catholic Mission Station is considered impassable.
The last vehicle to travel to Williame Catholic Mission Station was in 2007.
However, that has not discouraged the locals who know that if they depend on the Pangia district authorities help will not come immediately.
The Williame Catholic Health Centre serves more than 20,000 people.
Laka was impressed with the peoples’ determination to help themselves despite their difficult circumstances.
“I just wanted to come around and see what’s happening and it’s overwhelming to see what’s going on here,” he said.
“The level of commitment by the locals to help themselves, walking through the forest and swamps is unbelievable.”
The locals who gathered to carry the building materials were led by Fr Francy from India. He has been serving the Williame Catholic Mission for the past six years.
During that time, he has seen the 12km road to Williame deteriorate as local authorities seem to turn a blind eye.
Most of the building materials bound for Williame were transported earlier on foot. The remaining materials that were transported recently included roofing sheets, trim decks, gutters, water tanks, pipes and septic tanks.
Work on the new buildings may take three months to complete.
“The people got up as early as 5am, walked down here and they’ll be carrying the materials back and may take two to three hours. It is really painful. Who will hear our cry,” Fr Francy said.
Fr Francy is so concerned about the road that he is appealing to authorities to do sometime about it.
The Williame project is an example of a community project that PNGSDP is supporting in Western Province and other parts of the country under its Community and Social Investment Programme (CSIP), where the respective communities have shown commitment to the project.