Follow the Adventure: The Brazeau's Serving In Papua

Papua, Indonesia Not Papua New Guinea 

I am surprised at how often people mistakenly think we are living in Papua New Guinea so I thought it would be a good idea to include a page here to provide you with some information.

Papua has had many different names over the years starting with “Dutch New Guinea’, the ‘West Irian’ or ‘Irian Barat’, and then it was renamed ‘Irian Jaya’. This was the official name until the name ‘Papua’ was adopted in 2002. Today, natives of this province prefer to refer to themselves as ‘Papuans’. The native Papuans are easily distinguished from Indonesians that have immigrated to the island as the Papuans are of Melanesian descent. Even more easily distinguished are the Canadian’s who’s pale skin and sun burnt noses are their calling cards.

                 Let's play spot the Canuck! Can you pick out the Canadians in the photos below?

                                                                          Too easy? Try the next one.

                                                                      I don't think this is much of a game...


Papua is located on the western half of the island New Guinea (hence the confusion). It is the Eastern most part of Indonesia, an island nation that spans the breadth of Canada. In fact the islands are so far apart that Jakarta in the Indian ocean and Papua is in the Pacific. Fun fact: Indonesia is made up of over 17000 islands and let me tell you that makes for a lot of stops on the plane ride from on end of the country to the next.

You can see the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea on the map below, we are in the town of Sentani near the top of the island a 3-4 hour drive from the border. Jayapura is the capital of the province.


The school is located on the edge of the town of Sentani. Sentani has one main street and one set of lights, though they are only a minor inconvenience to drivers. There are many small stores and fruit stands that sell the same items for different prices so it's down to you to find the best one. There are no side walks and open sewers along side of the roads. Trash is everywhere and burned everyday at sunset. The roadsides are lined with numerous cell phone shops and food stands, there is a military base, airport, mosques,  churches and an outdoor market (pasar) amoung other things. The streets are always busy and traffic consists of trucks (cars are rare as the roads are not good enough for them in most areas) of all sizes and motorcycles and scooters. If anyone wants to come visit we would be happy to show you around!

There is a lot of traffic in Sentani; people drive everything from gas trucks to scooters the latter of which can hold up to a family of five or the contents of an entire store.  Most of the roads are not paved and there is only one traffic light though people treat the red light as more of a suggestion than a rule. They drive on the left but you should really keep your head on a swivel in the traffic there as people can seemingly come out of nowhere. If you leave your light on the front of your scooter people will call out and let you know as they are worried you are wasting your battery. Some of the extremely energy conscious will not even use their lights at night.

Celebrations at the School

The Sounds of Sentani

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