One male passenger from the Southern Highlands gave me a piece of warm baked kaukau and a female passenger from Eastern Highlands gave me a bunch of roasted peanuts. For just a few hours, we tell of our lives to others and they in turn tell of theirs too. It seems that beneath the veil of our cultural differences, the three of us are just humans that struggle against the grind and pressures of the modern PNG.
The three of us were passengers on a 25 seater bus travelling along the highlands highway. We had boarded the ‘EJ Tisa’ bus service at Goroka township. He was a teacher who had just graduated two years ago from a teachers college and was posted along one of the Yonki dam villages. She was a local from the Kainantu District going to visit family in Lae.
We talked about this and that, price of goods and services and life that we all were living in the country today. It seems that our struggles are no different even through we were from vastly different parts of the country. We see poor patterns of service delivery among mandated government services such as hospitals and schools and suffer from countrymen and women who look down on us when we use services such as banks and shipping companies. We laughed at the irony that the two service providers who treat you just as you are, are buai sellers and public bus services!
Next time when you travel on a public motor vehicle along the highlands highway, make small talk with your fellow passengers. You’ll never know what you’ll learn along the way!