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As the plane was descending to the runway below, these thoughts were going on around my head —Papua-Papua-Papua, Indonesia’s last frontier.
In the highlands of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), hidden among mountains that soar up to 2,500-meters (1.55 miles), in the Baliem Valley is a town called Wamena.
This town serves as an urban centre for the 300,000 or so population scattered along the valley and its surrounding area. The most prominent among the ethnic groups living in the valley are the Dani tribe.
Interestingly, just recently I started reading a book titled “The Shack”, the author Paul Young in one of his interviews mentioned that he was raised among the Dani tribe as a missionary kid. It was not until I was looking at my photos that it dawned on me that the ethnic group he was talking about, I actually visited 9 years ago.
The photo above shows the terminal buildings snapped in 2006 when I first set foot in the airport of Wamena. Unfortunately a fire in September 2011 engulfed all buildings, including the departure and arrival terminals.
Wamena located 1,600 meters (about 1 mile) above sea level also operates as the base for any travel around the valley.
Text & Photos by Alicia Davis