Voices from the forest

Standard Page - 11 October, 2011

Logging causes ecological, cultural, social and financial devastation for Paradise Forest communities. Here are some of their stories.

Sakas Aonomo is from Bula Creek, Middle Fly District, Western Province, PNG. Sakas's grandparents used Bula Creek as a source of medicine.

"They would use this creek when they were sick; it would make them better. This creek has faded away. It cannot heal people because they came and disturbed the beliefs we have. It will not be the same as before. There's no fish since the company came. Before my mother and father used to do this, now there is nothing. Our medicine is not like before."

Bula Creek now has a bridge across it. It suffers silting and erosion. Sakas and his family are oppposed to logging and are trying to prevent further logging roads passing through their land.

"By looking at that place, I feel very sad and upset and frustrated about my land being destroyed."

Alex Ubiye is from the Emename reserve, Elie, Middle Fly, Western Province, PNG. Emenane reserve had been marked for felling when Alex Ubiye's aunty prevented the loggers from proceeding. The reserve contains an old village. The Emeane reserve is also important to Alex as it is where his grandfather was "killed in the troubles and eaten".

"I used to work for the company as a chainsaw operater for two years and six months. I could see that I couldn't stay with the company and talk for my people's rights. I had to resign from the company and talk for my people's rights – making reports, bringing scientists and ecologists to study the damage. If I don't do this, it's going to be bad future for my family."

Sister Yatamara is in charge of Baboa Health Centre, PNG.

"Nobody cares about this place. We are forgotten people here and government has not given us any services. Before people said they could see fish in the water, they comb their hair by seeing themselves in the water. Now you can see the water is really muddy and when people go to the sago place there is no clean water. So they drink water there and get sick. They get gastric pain, blood; these people are very, very sick."