Justin Petrus, a teacher at Eliptamin after arrival in Telefomin posing in front of the MAF plane
Photo by Mandy Glass

Instead of half a day’s hike, Justin Petrus, a High School Teacher working at the new Eliptamin Junior High School, could get to Telefomin in less than 10 minutes.

Story by Mandy Glass

With an unexpected diversion of one of our aircraft heading towards Telefomin but needing to wait out the weather and therefore landing at Eliptamin, Justin could save half a day's walk and instead fly to Telefomin in under 10 minutes! Flying comfortably across the mountain ridge instead of walking in today's rather cold and misty rainy weather on slippery surface.

"I came on the plane in less than 10 minute which was an interesting moment for me, and I thank MAF for bringing me safe here. I decided to come up over the weekend, and at the same time we closed the school the plane came. That was a good thing," he said after landing at Telefomin.

Justin is a graduate from the Oksapmin Highschool at Tekin. Back in 2014, he received his graduation certificate from MAF pilot Mathias who today was his unexpected "shortcut" to Telefomin.

I came on the plane in less than 10 minute which was an interesting moment for me, and I thank MAF for bringing me safe here.
Justin Petrus

Justin graduated from Goroka University as a teacher a few years ago. A huge part in choosing his career played his back then Science and English teacher Glenda Giles. "When I graduated from university of Goroka I had the chance to teach with her again in 2021 and 2022," he said with a bright smile.

Justin needed to go to the Telefomin Secondary School as the Eliptamin Junior Highschool is just getting started and lacking equipment, like a functioning printer. "I decided to come up to Telefomin to do some paperwork for our students and school activities," he said.

Pilot Mathias Glass talking to some teachers at Eliptamin, while waiting for the Telefomin weather to clear

It was just one of those unexpected moments for Mathias and I, when your past meets the present. To again cross paths with people who pursue their dreams and learn from their teachers and mentors to then teach and inspire the next generation is so encouraging for us.

Justin’s eyes were beaming when he introduced himself to us, mentioning the 2014 graduation at Tekin where we were the guest of honours, and as he shared about his journey of becoming a teacher with the chance to be mentored as a new teacher graduate by his very own high school teacher Glenda Giles.

MAF plays a huge role supporting the Oksapmin Highschool at Tekin, from when it was established in 2007 until today, flying educational material, food supplies for the boarding students and teachers as well as educational professionals and students in and out of this remote village, tugged away in the remote Min area of Sandaun Province. People like Justin could not be the people and professionals they are if it wasn’t for MAF providing air services to rural communities.