I went to Popondetta last weekend after an hour's delay on Airlines PNG and was relieved to find that the Girua Bridge (propped up by Containers) had been knocked sideways but otherwise could be crossed.

Just imagine for a minute that you have a stack of high standing  empty boxes on a table and then somehow you accidentally touch it with an abrupt brush of your elbow...then down they go, tumbling like dominoes. That's what happened when Girua river flooded and the torrents hit the Containers. The result was that the vulnerable bridge collapsed to the side making it impassable for vehicles.

When there is no rain and the river is normal or low, the wet crossing is quite drivable except for the rocks. There is work going on with graders attempting to smooth the path. Minister for Public Service/Government Relations, Mr Peter O'Neill flew over the province to see the damage caused by recent heavy rains & floods  and committed K2 million for relief work. Whether that has been made available for the grading work that I saw is unclear.

I was pleased that the vehicle that picked me from the airport took me over the Girua wet crossing to Popondetta. The good news also is that the big trucks transporting supplies & much-needed fuel from Oro Bay are still going through. So Popondetta shops and other outlets look set to be stocked for Christmas. The Christmas holiday travellers will certainly be moving freely - good weather permitting.

The one thing that I always find about Popondetta is the pace of the people. Come rain, floods or shine, they go about their usual business of harvesting, taking their produce to the markets and making their living from their abundant subsistence farming. It is not unusual for them to take the time to stop and catch up on gossip about the politics, economics or the lack thereof. For me, this is a nice escapade from Port Moresby's CBD where I work, to the reality of the world my family lives in. It is definitely a home, a solace where love and warmth reigns despite all odds.



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