HEKENG is a remote village located next to the Wafi-Golpu mine, surrounded by dense evergreen forest and clear cool streams, and guarded by steep mountains.
Although it is peaceful with its beautiful natural surroundings, it is sad to hear that the village will be moved in later years when mining operations take its toll.
Amidst the news and preparing to leave their home, they still adhere to their tradition of appreciating new visitors to the village with the famous tulip bellum.
Charlie Caiolo is one of the visitors who could not forget his trip to Heqing and the gift of his now favorite tulip bellum.
It was a Thursday afternoon in 2021, and Charlie Caiolo made a business trip to Heqing for the first time.
Charlie got into the PMV and left Rainy Lae and crashed into the highway passing Bavaga Junction and up the mine site.
Not far from the mine site was the landing point for Heqing Village.
Charlie and other locals disembarked and began their trek through the forest to the village as night fell.
He described the road leading to the village as worse as people transport buildings, health supplies and educational materials on foot to the village.
The journey was not easy for Charlie as he climbed steep hills with muddy and slippery tracks with cargo while avoiding large landslides along the way.
After an arduous and challenging journey, Charlie finally arrived at the village where it was already dark.
Exhausted from walking, he was welcomed with a smile and a handful of betel nuts by the locals.
The next day, Charlie was amazed by the village’s tranquility and natural beauty.
The development of the church building and the wire footbridge made him think a lot since all these materials were brought to the village on foot.
When it was time to leave the village, Charlie wished the village leaders wisdom, and the farewell was very touching even though he only met the people for a day in which he felt their pain and suffering.
The most sentimental mothers presented him with a Tulip Bellum as a sign of their appreciation for the work he had done in the community, as well as a sign that he was welcome anytime he wished to travel to the village.
Charlie then walked for three (3) hours from Wafi-Golpu location to Bavaga Junction to deliver the PMV to the city.
The long drive was made short due to the beautiful view of dense forest, refreshing stream near the road and fresh air from mother nature.
Many locals greeted him with a tulip hanging around his neck and shared some betel with him as if he were one of them.
The pilum always reminds him of the Heqing people, their beautiful forests, clear streams, and news of relocation.