I made it to Jayapura. Classic situation: in an unknown town without a place to stay. Since my friend Minna had made some contacts here already before and from her latest text I got an impression that her social capital will happily accommodate the next Estonian in town, too. Although I didn’t get a text including info where I should go and who to call. A while later I realized the phone lines were down – quite normal when in Papua, especially when sailing on the ocean – I simply don’t receive texts. The last night in the ferry I was sitting with Amanda on the deck at her stall I tried once again to call Minna. The only thing I heard over the phone was “Dear!” and “I have to leave the country tomorrow!”. I knew it already. But where and how? And in the practical perspective – how am I going to find her friend in Jayapura? These questions disappeared into the haze of the flaky reception. The next time I had reception was the next day, a little before arriving at Jayapura. By then Minna’s phone was out of reach, meaning she’d left the country, left from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea. Full of hope I waited for a text with my hosts phone number.
Full of hope I was looking around when coming off the boat – maybe my potential host has come to meet me at the port? Of course not. I walked as far as I could carry my backpack, took an ojek that took me to an internet café. If only I had known the man was taking me to the outskirts where there really was an internet café, but actually he had only wanted to drive a newly arrived tourist around, and since we drove quite far he ripped me off with 20 000 rp and even left me without an option to take a hotel. Before stepping in the internet café I noticed a printing shop across the street, and I wanted to go there to get prepared for tomorrow’s meeting with my supervisor.
A lonely woman with a big bag somewhere in the outskirts of the town certainly left the people of the printing shop puzzled. As it’s common in Indonesia, they wanted to help me. Starting from an offer to use the shop’s computer for ma internet needs – unfortunately I couldn’t reach my friend on Skype, no luck with that – and finishing with the fact that one of the customers, a nice Papuan ibu, offered a place to stay for the night.
„It’s already late, you’re going to stay with me tonight and tomorrow you’ll go on looking for your friend,” she proposed. At first I was trying to find my way out of it so that I could avoid causing any trouble, but in the end I still decided to go along her will – I convinced myself that on Papua I’d most certainly like to see how Papuans live, what is their social universe like. We took a taxi and drove to Jayapura city – to a house that had been built on water. Her children were so happy and excited to meet me.
Every night I dream about earthquakes because the house is on constant move, in the rhythm of the waves. You shouldn’t play with your lighter or phone here – you never know, it might fall through the floor into the sea. And this is how I found myself a lovely Papuan family.