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By JIMMY KALEBE
IT takes two days to walk through the thick jungle and cross fast-flowing rivers from Mutzing station to reach Nosalyn Yalambing’s village of Imane in the interior of Onga Waffa in Markham, Morobe.
If you can afford it, you can reach it by air from Aiyura in Kainantu, Eastern Highlands.
“The only way you can reach the village and the neighbouring hamlets is either by air or walking.”
There is a primary school and an aid post there but development-wise, Nosalyn knows her people are way behind others.
So after she graduated as a teacher from the Melanesian Nazarene Teachers College in Western Highlands in 2010, she began thinking about what she could do to help her people. She noted that none of her fellow teachers wanted to go with her to Imane. It is just too far.
One day in 2011, while teaching at the Imane Primary School, Nosalyn (she says she is in her mid-30s) remembered something her father, a pastor with the Imane Nazarene church, told her about what a white man missionary mentioned to him at the village.
“The white man told my father that we are blessed to have green gold.”
Dad did not understand what green gold meant and could not explain it to her.
“Now, when I look at all that nature provides us, I understand what the white man meant by green gold.”
She looked around at the lush vegetation, flora and fauna, waterfalls, the natural breath-taking beautiful scenery which takes time for one to fully absorb.
“ The only way you can reach the village is either by air or walking for two days.”
“We have the potential to tap into the tourism industry as we have what it takes to develop a business.”
In 2014, she decided to venture into an eco-tourism business so she registered with the Investment Promotion Authority. From 2015 to 2017, she worked hard to have a three-bedroom bush-material house built at Imane to serve as a lodge.
“I am confident that when fully developed, people in my area will benefit from it in one way or another.”
In July this year, 10 tourists (missionaries) from the US arrived to visit the Imane Nazarene Church.
“They stayed in my bush material lodge for a week.”
Because it was the first time someone had come to live at the lodge, she did not charge them anything. But they insisted to pay something for her hospitality. They also promised to promote her business in the USA, in particular her tribe’s unique dance.
“My tribe of Ampeeli has this Muruk dance which has never been exposed to the outside world. It is unique in my area.”
She hopes tourism and business authorities will also help her develop her Jemen Lodge at Imane village which will be opened next month.
Thanks to the industry and intuition of village girl Nosalyn, her people can now look forward to raising their standard of living in their isolated corner of the world.
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