Papua New Guinea, Kambubu Adventist Secondary School

Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, SDA Church, Travel 2 Comments

Elevation Profile

As part of my trip to attend the Sonoma Adventist College Board meeting, I decided to use the opportunity to also visit the Adventist Secondary School in East New Britain. Fortunately a board meeting was scheduled for Kambubu for the day after the Sonoma board, so I joined the team to Kambubu for the day.

We were supposed to be picked up by the Kambubu 4WD truck at 8:00am in the morning. By 10:00am, the truck still hadn’t arrived. When we contacted Kambubu, we were told that the truck was stuck in the first river crossing of two river crossings, and the engine had died. It was therefore decided that we would take the Sonoma Truck (not a 4WD) to the first river crossing from our end, and that we would be picked up there by the Kambubu tractor. And that was how the adventure started!

I had been warned that I would learn the “Manus Dance” in the back of the track, and initially didn’t know what that meant. But as we got going, it became obvious very quickly. Although the first section of road was tar sealed, there are so many potholes, that vehicles find it easier to drive beside the sealed road. The “Manus Dance” is being bounced around in the back of the truck!


One of river crossing that has a bridge – all metal, and very loud. Notice the big hole in the middle of the bridge.


The road was windy and followed the top of a ridge. It was very scenic, and obvious that this area gets regular rain.


At one point the driver hit the brakes really hard – there was a another truck coming the other way in one of the tighter corners. It turns out they were from Kambubu taking Copra (the dried kernel of coconuts – used to make coconut oil) to market.


We then arrived at the first river from our end, and found the tractor with trailer already waiting for us.


As I walked down to the river, a truck was just coming through.


The government has already nearly completed bridge over this river, but it is not ready for use yet. However, it is OK to walk across. So we were told to walk across the bridge with our laptops – less risk. The river bed is undulating, and can vary in depth quickly (due to rainfalls upstream). One of the people travelling with us told of a time he crossed the river at night in a little Suzuki 4WD. They stopped at the edge, and he waded into the water to ensure it wasn’t too deep. The depth was deemed OK, so they started into the river. By the time they got to the middle, the river had risen by one meter, and the vehicle was swept downstream. They ended up spending the night in a nearby village.


Despite all that, the tractor had no problem crossing the river.


This is our team travelling on the back of the trailer.


In Papua New Guinea, no-one is ever alone. So we were accompanied by lots of students who were happy to come along for the ride.


When we reached the next river, we could see more students waiting for us – as well as the broken down truck in the distance. It had already been towed out by a tractor, but they were still unable to get it running. In the foreground you see a concrete structure, which was going to be a bridge across the river. It was funded by the Chinese government, but before it was even complete, it was pushed partially downstream by rising water levels. The students enjoy using it as a jumping platform.


The students in this photo were rushing through the water to bring a large rope to the tractor, willing to pull the tractor across if it gets stuck.


We were advised to take special care of our bags (due to our laptops) in case the trailer drops below the river level during the crossing. However, the crossing was uneventful.

As we headed out the other side, we came past the truck. It looks like they were trying to clean out the engine by the side of the road.


One of the plantation tractors followed us on the road to Kambubu.


This was our first glympse of Kambubu. The headland is the start of the property, and the water in front is the famous Rugen Harbour.


As we were approaching Kambubu, the Kambubu truck came racing up behind us. They had finally got it going.


The students were exuberant!


Arrival at Kambubu Adventist Secondary School.


Yes, this was the travelling party!


Kambubu is a very beautiful school. Just look at its lush green grounds, and location by the sea!


In the distance New Ireland can be seen (the mountain range in the clouds).


I then came across this propeller placed near the administration building. To get the full story of this, I am told you must speak to Bryan Paul, a lecturer at Pacific Adventist University Smile.


It appears that the steps on the back of the truck were damaged when it was towed out the of the river – nothing a quick welding job can’t fix.


This is where I met with the Year 12s to discuss university entrance with them.


After my meeting with the students, I went for a quick swim. This creek comes out of the mountains and is quite cool. It runs into the ocean where the mixture of cold stream with warm sea water makes for interesting swimming.


Some more photos of the grounds – it is absolutely beautiful. The palm trees are magnificent.


By the time we were ready for our return trip, it was already quite dark.


When we got to the first river crossing, one of the boys jumped out and waded across. It was deep, but not too deep. So the truck drove into the river, only to be stuck spinning wheels about 5 meters from the other side.


The driver asked the boys to jump into the water and push, but it made no difference. The lights you see on the other side, are two trucks that were thinking about crossing, but as they weren’t 4WD, didn’t want to take the risk at that time.


After a few minutes, the driver remembered that he had forgotten to lock the front hubs, and that this was the reason the back tyres were spinning. Once hubs were locked, we were able to drive out without issues. Here we are passing one of the trucks was considering crossing.


We continued to the second river crossing, and after checking the depth, crossed over without incident. And then it was just another 1.5 hours of “Manus Dance” before we returned back to Sonoma Adventist College.


Needless to say, most directors don’t experience this level of adventure in the execution of their duties as board members. As for me, I loved my day out, and look forward to returning to Kambubu sometime in the future with Rebecca.