This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Pilar.id. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.
Manokwari, Indonesia - Supriyadi Nepal, 37, the driver of the double axle car we hired to take us to Pegaf, filled the tailgate with our supplies plus four jerry cans of fuel.
Nepal has been migrating from his native Enrekang to Manokwari for nine years to become a driver in unfamiliar terrains. He is one of the most experienced drivers on Pegaf's mountainous roads.
A driver who knows the curves of the roads and hills is needed because earlier, we heard that a truck carrying gold miners had crashed into a cliff. The accident killed 15 people.
The distance is actually only 50 kilometers but it takes more than four hours. The length of the journey is difficult to predict because some roads are still being repaired, some sections are still macadamized. Furthermore, landslides often occur, blocking access.
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"Chicken one, chicken one. It's in the corner position," Nepal said, communicating via HT with fellow drivers. There are around 25 double axle vehicles operating to transport passengers from Manokwari to Pegaf. For certain road sections, only one vehicle can pass, so coordination with fellow drivers is necessary.
Nepal collaborates with a guide, Yohanes Prawar, 42. Anis, as Yohanes calls him, is not actually a guide. His job is to install waterways in Pegaf. We hoped that he would get to know the people of Pegaf as our entry point for coverage.