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Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby

The things you hear about PNG before you go don't really make you look forward to actually going there. I met a man named Steve in Vanuatu who told me that even the Papoean money can actually make you sick. Why? Because people transport it in quite unhygienic places so that they don't lose everything if their bus or car is held up.

Something which happens all to often in the capital Port Moresby. My security consultant as well as all the other people I spoke to about this country were very adamant about it: You can't go out alone! So I arranged security with a local office. They suggested a safe hotel, 2 cars for transport and 5 bodyguards. Of which one was carrying a 9mm gun. Nice conditions to work in and a first time for me.

What would have happened without the bodyguards

As always things turn out to be not as bad as you think or were made to think. Although it is hard to say what would have happened to me without the bodyguards and their local knowledge. I'd probably would have been in big trouble with my white face and expensive camera. But what I mean is that I've met a lot of very nice people at the markets I visited. In all these places the majority of the people are still good people trying to make a living like these chicken sellers on this road. The ones in the back are even pulling my leg by showing me the chickens asses.

On the other hand, a car was stolen right in front of me at one of the markets. A high-speed chase followed. I asked my armed bodyguard what would happen if they caught the thief. He said:"They will kill him on the spot." Hopefully things will get better. PNG has amazing potential.

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In the project "Streets of the World", photographer Jeroen Swolfs captures street life in all 205 of the world's capitals. Differences are visible immediately: differences in people, environments, cultures and circumstances. The consequences of wars, natural disasters, and famine are contrasted with luxury, pragmatism, warmth and security. An important similarity captured in each urban image is the portrayal of everyday life. Life abounds everywhere with all its resilience, hope, friendship and perseverance. This is a photography project that not only distinguishes itself in scale, but also through the realistic vision of the photographer and his eye for the global citizen.
Jeroen Swolfs
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