Monday the people here started work on clearing an area of the bush for an air strip. Having an air strip would greatly decrease the cost of ferrying people and supplies in and out of this tribe because operating a small plane is much cheaper than the helicopter. This would benefit the Husas and the Mibu people who would use flights to take coffee beans and other products to town for sale. However turning the uneven ground of the thick jungle into a flat 600 meter long air strip is a big job. Geoff says, optimistically, it could be accomplished in a year.
Seeing the opportunity to do something manly, I joined the work force with my bush knife. I quickly learned that the first order of business was to cut the grass and underbrush. As I attempted this, I realized that everything I was cutting was being recut by others behind me. It wasn’t hard to see why. While I was leaving four to six inch stems with my swings, the Mibu guys were getting results I would need a Bic Razor to achieve. Feeling useless, I told the guys I could see what was happening and knew that my skills were inadequate. I asked if there was anything I could do that would actually be helpful and they told me I could cut down the trees where the grass and bushes had already been cleared. They were clear that this was work for women and children, but come on, is it more manly to cut grass or trees? Plus, I saw some of them cutting trees later on.
After about three hours, blister count: 3.