A 95-minute flight from Kiunga on a twin otter aircraft will bring you to Daru, the Provincial capital of Western Province.
Then a 4 – 5 hour dinghy ride will take you across the treacherous Fly River Delta to the North sandy banks of the South Fly into the Manawete Trust region of the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) corridor.
The travel is both amazingly scenic and adventurous for visitors.
But all these wonders shadow the struggles of the communities who long for access to proper water and sanitation facilities. Due to funding and logistical challenges, few organizations outside the public service delivery system come in to assist the communities.
But now, thanks to PNGSDP who initially funded the South Fly Water Catchment Project which was delivered by OTDF has been completed – Maduduwo village people now have access to clean, drinking water.
The Roof Water Catchment Project was implemented by OTDF in an effort to assist the 65,000 populace of the South Fly community, of which 22,000 are from Manawete.
Twenty-five-year-old Serah Luke said the completed project was a relief for the womenfolk who travelled distances to fetch water from nearby swamp wells.
“In the past we collect brown coloured water from the swamp at some walking distance from the village, and we experience health problems and sicknesses like stomach aches,” she said. She said the preparation of the swamp water needed careful processing to avoid contracting water-borne diseases.
In 2010 during a long dry spell, 70% of the population in the South Fly Trust regions were affected by water-borne diseases. “So thank you OTDF, we want more services because we are always left out.”
During the handover of the water catchment project early this year to Maduduwo villagers Ms. Luke said she hopes for more projects to improve their conditions in the community since there is limited access to public facilities like schools and hospitals.
“Many of us rely on what we can use from the bush to build houses, on food we plant and fish we catch, but we need clean water to drink, medicine to take when sick and schools with teachers to learn.”
Deputy Chairman for Manawete Trust and an elder in Maduduwo Village James Riwoh, when thanking the OTDF Infrastructure Development Department (IDD) team, said the project was a bonus infrastructure for the village school.
“Not only will the community access clean water from the tanks but the early learning students from the school will use the shelter for learning, while the elders will use it as a place for formal discussions,” he said.
The Roof Water Catchment Projects in the South Fly had been completed with the distribution of 528 water tanks to cater for these communities.