Monday, May 21, 2012

A trip to Wau

We really enjoy getting out of the city and into God's creation. New places are always nice to explore. So on Friday we hopped in the car for the 3 or 4 hour drive to Wau, a town about 75 km south of Lae. 75 km as the crow flies, but a lot more as the windy mountain road goes! A friend of ours is from there, so he accompanied us and served as our tour guide.

We did see a lot of beautiful sights on the way. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

And of course there is a lot of human interest as well, that has a lot to do with the landscape and the minerals in the mountains. There is a lot of gold in the mountains around Wau, and so there is a lot of mining – both large scale (multi-billion dollar projects), and small scale (people looking for gold nuggets by hand). In the early days of aviation, the Wau airport was actually the busiest airport in the world, because everything related to mining had to be flown in from Lae.

One of many footbridges crossing the mountain rivers.

Looking for gold in the river, the old-fashioned way.
Downtown Wau. Like many buildings in Wau, these were built
by Australian mining companies in the 1970s, but have since
become quite run-down.

On our way home, we ran into car trouble – spindle and bearings broke, which meant we couldn't go any further. We were still an hour and a half drive from Lae, and it would be dark in an hour. Half a year ago, having a car break down out in the jungle would have seemed pretty scary to us, but now, while very inconvenient, we could at least make the best of it. Our co-worker Ian was willing to pick us up (thanks Ian!). He also dropped off an elder from our church to help out and keep Tim company while waiting for the tow truck to come from Lae. Everything turned out fine, and Tim even got a chance to preach there on the road while waiting. In all of this we were very thankful for God's providence in exactly where the car broke down:
  • The first 20 kilometres from Wau are rather rough (four wheel drive pretty much required) and we would feel rather unsafe in a non-4WD tow truck. And having wheels and brakes malfunction on a stretch of road filled with sharp turns and steep cliffs without guardrails is never a good idea.
  • Ten kilometres back from where we broke down was an area known to be unsafe, but we ended up stopping right in front of a village full of friendly people. Even a few hundred metres' difference and we wouldn't have known there was a village nearby.
  • A kilometre or two down the road, and for many kilometres afterwards, there was no mobile phone coverage to speak of. But where we stopped, we could call Lae with no problem at all.
God is good. We thank him for his care!

Waiting for the tow truck.