Detours To Interesting Places

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

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By Jill Riepe

Travel in Papua New Guinea is never easy. I’ve said this many times before. I needed to get from Madang to Ukarumpa and I had a flight. The flight from Madang to Ukarumpa is a quick 45 minute flight. I thought that this would be a simple travel day. I was wrong. The flight was scheduled to land at an airstrip in the highlands before coming to Madang to pick me up. The clouds had rolled in early so the pilot wasn’t able to find a way in to land. He waited an hour at another airstrip nearby hoping that the clouds would clear enough for him to land and pick up the team there, but it didn’t. Meanwhile, I waited at the Madang hanger with Bella, my guard dog.

When the pilot arrived, he informed me that we were going to Long Island to pick up another translation team. To get to Long Island off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, we had to fly over the ocean. I’ve flown over the ocean before in large planes, but never in a Kodiak, the small 9 seater plane that we use in Papua New Guinea.

The pilot began the safety spiel. Now I have the usual safety spiel memorized for the Kodiak. You open the various doors this way. The first aid kit is here. The fire extinguishers are JR web article photo 2here. Seat belts operate this way and there are bags in the back of the seats if you get ill. To fly over the ocean though, we have to wear life jackets the whole flight. If we are going to crash, we must open the doors before we hit the water, but keep our seat belts on until the water has filled the plane so we aren’t pushed to the back of the plane. Oh, and stay calm during the entire process. The last part stuck with me too: follow the pilot’s directions during the whole flight.

Fortunately, the flight went well. The ocean was beautiful and I was able to see Wisdom Lake in the middle of the island. The translation team from Long Island and I made it to Ukarumpa and there will be another flight to the highlands to pick up the team the clouds blocked in before. Sometimes a simple 45 minute flight takes detours to interesting places.

Jill serves as a Bible translator with the Ap Ma people and as a translation consultant.

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