People watch an MAF plane taxi away as they stand by their goods received
Bonny Mark

The remote mountainous community of Tekin in Papua New Guinea has received much needed food supplies from an MAF flight, enabling lessons to continue until the end of term.

Story by Matt Painter


Despite restricted flights due to PNG’s current fuel crisis, Tekin Primary School welcomed an MAF charter flight containing 902 kilograms of food supplies for the community’s schoolteachers and health workers.

Erick Yakz, from the school’s Board of Management, said the delivery was essential to supporting the key workers in their remote community, which is unreachable by road.

“No airlines were willing to provide such service at this very point of the country's fuel crisis, but only MAF have done this to hear our cry of help,” Mr Yakz said.

“Thank you MAF for serving the rural people through the name of God, accomplishing your real mission and vision of MAF operations in Papua New Guinea.”

A group of teachers and health workers sort through supplies on the side of an airstrip
Bonny Mark

Teachers and health workers make big personal sacrifices to work in isolated communities like Tekin. With limited produce available in the valley, and no access to shops for basic supplies, the staff rely on food delivered by plane.

“If by chance I did not receive these goods, my teachers will close the school … or it will shut down for an indefinite period because of teachers’ welfare—such basic needs and wants are not available,” Mr Yakz added.

“We have only had four weeks left for our term break and I really felt the pain of it—for missing this four weeks’ lessons—so I pleaded for your respectful help. Importantly I don't want to fail my students, therefore, I must sustain my teachers by providing them with their basic rations.”

School students lined up for assembly with teacher
Bonny Mark

Tekin, in the Sanduan Province, lies beyond the end of the Highlands Highway, perched on the side one of Papua New Guinea’s many mountains.

While only a hundred kilometres from the nearest highway-connected town of Tari, Tekin is isolated by rugged ranges and deep valleys. The only way to get goods from the outside world to Tekin is by air.

Bonny Mark, a teacher from the co-located Oksapmin Secondary School said, “I love teaching here because it is my home. Many outsiders are not willing to come here because of the ruggedness.

“Our mode of transporting goods and services depends entirely upon air transport. Therefore, MAF have marvellously helped the entire Oksapmin area. As a local officer I have to come back home and teach to help educate my little ones. That's what really makes the community happy.”

No airlines were willing to provide such service at this very point of the country's fuel crisis, but only MAF have done this to hear our cry of help
Erick Yakz, Tekin Primary School Board of Management

Pilot Piet Muilwijk, from the Netherlands, flew the food supplies and explains that Tekin is one of the most challenging airstrips in PNG.

“It’s not so much the length and slope, but because of the winds. It’s located in a narrow valley right at the bottom of a very steep ridge which goes vertically up for around four hundred metres,” he said. “This often causes strong ‘rotor’ winds falling over the ridge which result in very challenging landing and take-off conditions.”

Despite the challenge, our highly trained MAF pilots have touched down on Tekin’s 530 metre airstrip 39 times so far this year, sustaining vital education and health services in the community.

A man stands near school buildings in remote PNG
Bonny Mark

Mr Yakz continued, “Thanks indeed for your great concern. We are really happy with MAF always. Our foundation of infrastructure development is only through MAF. I personally always thank MAF for their tireless efforts to serve rural people of PNG.”