Rabaul: In the shadow of the volcano

What South Pacific county is just south of the equator, has more than 600 islands and more than 800 languages? Papua New Guinea!

It is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. It’s also one of the most beautiful!

One of the most fascinating places I’ve been to in PNG is a place called Rabaul. This is a town in the shadow of something very scary: a volcano! Mt Tavurvur is an active, smoke-spewing mountain. But does that stop those tough PNGers from living near it? No way! People have been living around Mt Tavurvur for thousands of years. The volcanic ash actually makes the soil very healthy. They can grow anything there!

Mt Tavurvur can also be pretty mean. In 1994, Mt Tavurvur erupted and buried many of the town’s buildings in ash. Many of the local people left the area and moved to the nearby town of Kokopo. What is left in Rabaul is an eerie and beautiful landscape — it’s like the moon! But there are still a few people who live there and run a couple restaurants and hotels for visitors.

If you’re ever lucky enough to swing by PNG, make sure you drop by Rabaul and talk to the people about their dramatic life in the shadow of the volcano!

Thanks for reading!
~ your friend Loke

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