Sometimes when we think about rural areas, we often imagine the hardships and difficulties faced by those who live in these places. There is often no reliable communication and energy infrastructure and very poor public utilities like roads and transport. Those who live in these rural areas often fall back and rely on the resource that is around them – land, water, sea – to sustain them. The natural environment is pristine in many areas as in the case of Manus province. However, there are rising social pressures that are beginning to have an impact on the reliability and the sustainability of the land, water and sea. This includes a growing population which has led to overfishing, increasing deforestation and encroachment onto places where once were idle in many parts of Manus.
Care should be taken to not trivialize or sensationalize life in the rural setting. It is home. It is where many Papua New Guineans first lived, grew up and become part of great communities. Communities that had intricate knowledge of how the land, water and sea worked and where they would dwell. These are places where fresh air, clean water and seas filled with coral still abound and make life meaningful. Like the principle of ‘Opportunity Cost’ in economics, we have to be reminded that one has to give up something in order to get a benefit from another. We all make choices. Opportunity cost is what one sacrifices when they choose one option over another. Many have been drawn to a better life outside of these rural communities in search for opportunities in education, health care access and places where public utilities function better. In turn, the cost is that they miss the rural life, interacting with relatives and living in the village. But when one is far away from the rural areas, one should never forget home. Home is where the heart belongs. Some may come back to these rural areas to live but others may never come back home. Life is such a rollercoaster of turns and events. But one must know that your heart will always have a place here.
Lopoki Inc created this video to remind those who live far away from their village, land or community that their heart will always be at home. This video depicts the life of people and places in the Liap and Derimbat vilages in the Kurti Langguage group area in the Pomotu Ndrehet Kurti Andrea (PNKA) Local Level Government area in Manus.