Travelling to Arop and Back

Abigail and Missy

Missy and my daughter, Abigail, ride in the back of the truck to Arop.

The pavement ends on the West Coast road 21 miles (35 km) out of Wewak. We pulled into Arop 132 miles (220 km), 37 water crossings, 35 bridges, and 7 hours later. People pay to have this kind of adventure. I get to do it as part of my job.

One of the privileges of what I do here in Papua New Guinea is to travel to many different places. Last weekend I drove my family and Missy out to Arop. Missy and her coworkers work with ten language groups to translate the Bible and other literature, as well as run literacy programs in these languages. The next day my daughter and I travelled back to Wewak and my wife stayed for a couple more days to help clean and organize things.

Dry Sand Pit

In one section of the road, there were multiple dry sand pits. I think I watched too much Princess Bride because I was a little afraid I wouldn’t come out the other side. ROUS? Not likely, though we might have pterodactyls.

Arop is located between Wewak and Vanimo not too far west of Aitape. Arop is perhaps most famous for being wiped out in a tsunami in 1998 when it was originally located on the beach. The survivors of that tsunami moved inland and rebuilt the village of Arop. Their tragedy is told in the book “Sleeping Coconuts” by John and Bonnie Nystrom.


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