Feature Articles

Welcome to this week's feature stories. The stories are from various Papua New Guinean writers. The main highlight this week is the story on .....

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Walking on foot to inspect schools in remote Gumine

By ENNIO KUBLE in Gumine

“Yalkuna (best of friend in Golin dialect), I am doing one of my runs to visit schools at the back of the mountains and headwaters,” he said with his infectious smile looking towards the westerly direction where he was to walk that day.
He is Michael Sipa, the stockily built school inspector for basic education, Gumine Inspectorate of the Education Department. By the end of term two this year, Michael ended his third round of visits to each elementary and primary schools in Gumine of Simbu province.
There are 67 elementary and primary schools located in three local level government areas, home to 10 ethnic groups with a population of almost 60,000 people squatting on the 708 square kilometres that pop up rugged mountains and deep gullies, taking the Whagi river gorge as its shield and the Au-Abane plains as its bed.
Michael from the Mian ethnic group that hosts the district headquarters proved to be full of energy as he walked through the hinterlands on foot, earning himself a name, visiting 44 elementary schools and 23 primary schools that spread across Dom to Yuri, Sa-Mian, Dimaku, the two Golins, Sa-Simalin, and the two Eras.
Michael has produced a half-year operational report to the Education Department reflecting on the challenges, the achievements, and the need to strengthen education services in the district.
“My schools visits report reflects on the successes and failures through thick and thin circumstances. I have gone into places where political indifferences arising from the past elections remained raw, rocky and sliding tracks I walked, but for Gumine my endurance still stands undivided and ongoing,” he stated.
The Department of Education may not be wrong in appointing Mr Sipa as the School Inspector to basic education in November 2016, as he is young at age of 48, full of vitality to strengthen education as the foremost pillar of development.
His appointment came too soon, a year after he graduated with a Bachelor in Education at Divine Word University. He started teaching in 1999 after graduating from Holy Trinity Teachers’ College.
Mr Sipa said he remains whole to deliver quality education services each day with distinction in the district at the primary education level.
“The paramount purpose of paying visits to both elementary and primary schools are to ensure that standards must be met by all schools located in the district,” he said.

In order to attain quality education for the children enrolled schools must adhere to standards approved by the Government.

The standards supervised by the Standard Office at Fin Corp building in Waigani ensure
qualified teachers are engaged in every school to teach, teachers are applying correct strategies and methods in teaching, teachers and students are using correct national prescribed Curriculum materials and resources, and the head teachers must possess qualified management skills to administer the schools.

In areas of school infrastructures, the classrooms, library, staff houses, sports fields, and other learning facilities are conducive for both students and teachers, the school health and hygiene includes clean water and toilets must be in order, and the school boards, the parents and other stakeholders must contribute their support in the school infrastructural development and students learning.

Mr Sipa said the second purpose of the school visit is to inspect teachers’ performance to be promoted if the performance is proven quality, and demoted or terminated if the performance is below average.

While on this warpath to attain quality education Michael Sipa made three visits to each school in term one and two. In the coming remaining two terms, the same frequency of visits is planned.

“In retrospective of my school visits itinerary I planned for 3 visits per term in each school is my annual targets. This includes 44 Elementary schools and 23 Primary Schools. I achieved my target plan at the maximum average,” he stated.

“Relatively, spot checks and routine advisory visits on overall operation status of every school in Gumine is an integral part of my core functions that was maintained to date.
I am now done with all my advisory visits and inspections covering every school, even into the remotest schools includes Amia, Nondri, Olegain, Degepaume, Pildimina, Genabona, Kalewere, Kuabala, Goroma and Omdara by foot and not by vehicles,” he added.

Not by wheels but by foot to strengthen education services, Mr Sipa walked more than 132 kilometres of road, starting from Kundiawa, the provincial headquarters of Simbu, to the remotest Olegain, Omdara, and Amia primary schools in Gumine in terms one and two.

In his school visits Mr Sipa noted and brought to the attention of the administration issues affecting schools.
“Our schools currently operating are generally fine according to the nature of its status. Performance is fine and on its retrieving process.”
He noted that Korokoa Primary School will not reopen this year and the Dia-Yuri Primary school with its feeder elementary schools were affected by on-going tribal warfare ensued by the surrounding communities in April.

Mr Sipa also noted that infrastructure development increased at the fastest rate over the last three years.

He said learning materials and learning facilities are the basis to master quality education for all, alongside with adequate infrastructure facilities.

“These are the enabling factors in achieving quality teaching and learning. Gumine schools are satisfactorily versed with available curriculum materials.”

Along those areas he noted with concern that both primary and elementary schools are yet to be provided with library buildings.

Mr Sipa stated in his report to Education Department that there is a need to affix each school with a library.

“I also asses the physical environment to be healthy and friendly. Water sources are of concern, as most schools do not have safe drinking water sources. I am sure school boards with their communities should ensure that their schools have safe drinking water systems,” he added.

Mr Sipa also highlighted that capacity building aspects are needed to enhance teachers’ qualification.
He said teachers quality control was proposed this year in Gumine to ensure teachers are versed with the right and required qualifications, knowledge and skills to impart to their students.
“I have come to realise that sense of quality teacher for quality education has gradually begun in the district.”
He said he also identified new schools to be established in the remotest part of the district to realise the slogan of ‘universal basic education for all’ and stated the identified areas in his operational report.
The walking school inspector is only faced with a challenge, and that is for him to have a mode of transportation, a horse, a bicycle, motor bike or a vehicle to cover 67 schools covering the with and breath of Gumine.
“I have come to confront an unresolved battle of need for a vehicle or a motor bike to enhance my operations mobility to effectively meet standard requirements. My foot patrol is proven too risky walking through volatile social and political settings. The ruggedness of the terrain remains a big pain to the lower part of my body,” Michael Sipa concluded.

Young woman aims to increase visitors to museum

When Emma Andy secured a job at the National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG) straight out of university four years ago, she saw her role as “a cultural ambassador of my country and our people.”
As the Public Relations Officer for NMAG in Port Moresby, Emma plays a critical role in promoting the museum to local and international visitors as an institution of knowledge and cultural identity.
“NMAG preserves over 100,000 artefacts and it is my job to attract visitors to the museum, so they can learn more about our country and enjoy the diverse items on display,” she said.
“Part of the education and public program section of the museum, I work with graphic designers, photographers, audio visual artists, education officers and gallery attendants. We are the face of the museum and are responsible for selling the product.”
The 28-year-old from Matupit village in East New Britain graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea (PNG) with a Bachelor of Arts in 2015 and was initially engaged by NMAG as an exhibition officer before taking on the public relations role a year later.
Emma was recently one of 30 communications professionals from government departments and civil society organisations who attended media training in Port Moresby, with the support of Australia through the Media Development Initiative (MDI).
Held in early June, the one-day workshop covered communication planning, stakeholder mapping, key message development, writing for different audiences, and risk and crisis management.
Since the training, Emma has been keen to put into practice the skills she learned to raise the profile of the museum.
“The training taught me about effective planning and targeted key messages, which had been missing previously,” said Emma.
“You need to speak the same language and ensure what you say is clearly received by your audience. People working in public relations and communications have a responsibility to share knowledge, tell the story and are a key part of the organisation’s wider plan.”
After an extensive refurbishment funded by Australia, the museum reopened to the public in November 2018 and has since seen an average of 1,400 visitors per month.
A resolute Emma and the team at NMAG are now embarking on an extensive communications and marketing strategy to increase local and international visitor numbers by 40 per cent next year.
“We are aiming to increase our social media presence as well as improve our current school programs, which target city primary schools,” explains Emma.
Since 2018, MDI has supported the growth of over 200 media and communications personnel across the country. A key focus of the program is upskilling journalists at the National Broadcasting Corporation and other media organisations to create content that accurately reflects PNG society and is inclusive of all citizens.
MDI team leader Hare Haro said the program aims to strengthen voice and accountability in PNG.
“Media provides citizens with a range of platforms to express their views and to facilitate government responsiveness. We want more citizen voices to be heard and to give leaders the opportunity to respond to those voices,” she said.
For Emma, she believes her role at the museum connects people to the country’s rich culture and history, providing a foundation for future development.
“I want more Papua New Guineans to know the story of their country. I believe that to know where we are going as a nation, we need to know where we have come from. The museum provides that platform. It acts as a guide for a young nation that is striving to develop.”

Fashion for a cause at the airport

The monthly display of PNG made gowns and traditional inspired dresses continues at the airport with the ‘A little something from PNG’ gift shop’s display of outfits from recently concluded PNG fashion events.

Featured PNG designer for the month is Cynthia Chapman, from Gwarumemase, Central Province. She is the designer of the  tapa traditional inspired dress with a cape and  big red and white  feather head piece,   worn by the current Miss Pacific Islands, Leoshina Mercy Kariha of PNG  when she competed in  the Pacific beauty and personality  pageant held in   Tonga. The dress is also   her entry in the traditional category in Project Runway 2018, where she is one of the participating  PNG Designers.

For the display, Cynthia lent this traditional shining, shimmering, splendid , off shoulder coral pink gown modeled by Leilani El Rose Laufa for the  Youths of PNG Fashion Show held recently at the Hilton Hotel. The event is for a good cause - to help raise funds for WeCare Foundation and Youth Against Corruption Association (YACA)  and has the theme-  Striving for change through fashion and arts.   The gown is a 1980s inspired dress and the  print is traditionally Papua New Guinean.
A Little Something From PNG located opposite Duffy at the Departure Terminal of Jackson International Airport offers  may genuine local goods and produce that is unique to PNG, such as handmade bilums, and copper beatings, wood carvings, ground coffee from the Highlands, to chocolates from Bougainville, as well as clothes and fashion accessories  created by talented PNG designers.
Company director Grace Chin has been supporting the local market by providing a retail platform for creative talents and offerings since the store’s reopening at the airport in 2015, before the Pacific Games in Port Moresby. She said “We are very proud to represent PNG with our store. We have many travellers wanting to take photos of the store, the merchandise, the store staff in their bird of paradise uniforms, as well as the evolving mannequin display”.
Say ‘hi’ to Agnes on your next travel overseas and have your photo taken with her.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sago ministry in Malaita


MAKING sago to minister to the Malaitan people in the Solomon Island is testament that God works in strange ways to extend his Kingdom.

And this is an area that the Assemblies Of God church (AOG) PNG will use to starts its missions work in the Solomon Island by going into sago making in Fiu village.

The sago making art and the variety of sago food product is already raising eyebrows and stimulating taste buds among the villagers to embrace the Pentecostal revival breakout among our Melanesian brothers and sisters.

The tropical rainforested Malaita is just like any typical coastal PNG Province where it has similar village settings with rivers, swampy and mountainous areas. They are subsistence farmers and fishermen with vegetable gardens, various wild lives, birds, insect inhabited forest and rivers, swamps inhabited with various fish and marine lives.

 Along these rivers and swampy banks are an abundance of sago palms.
Despite having similar village daily lifestyles that includes living of similar indigenous foods like us, they don’t know that these sago palms contain a huge warehouse of delicate food products.
 They became aware of the potential of eating sago products when they were informed by the first AOG mission team that visited last April.
Pastor Philo Kasseng, who was part of that team, told them that sago can provide food them for months.
“I also told them that they can produce sago bags and bring it over to Honiara and sell them to a huge PNG population and generate income for their other household needs,” he said.

A surprised Fiu village Anglican Renewal center Pastor Eliot Bula said that they only use the leaves (commonly known in pidgin as morota) to make sago thatched roof and spathe (commonly know in pidgin as pangal) to make walls for their houses.

“But not for food. We know that pigs love to eat the spongy part of it located in the center of the trunk,” he said.

This spongy part can also be known as pith or starch.
So he requested Pastor Kaseng if the PNG Team would teach them the art of sago making.
Pastor Kasseng said that the current team were ill prepared but assured the villagers that the second team would return and teach them how to make sago and cook a variety of sago food products.

So when the first team returned to Gerehu AOG New Life Family Church, they briefed the second team members to take sago beating sticks with them. The 14 members of the second team were mostly women from Sepik, Gulf, Oro and Simbu Provinces.

Before the second team went back to Fiu village last November, they sent word to the villagers a week in advance to cut down a sago palm tree.

So when the team arrived in Fiu, they rounded the villagers and proceed to remove the trunk to expose the spongy substance and pounded the spongy substance by grounding it into a reasonable soft powder. They then built a trough from the huge hollow part of the stem of the sago palm leaf. The trough is supported with strong sticks firmly placed upright into the ground. The powder is kneaded in water over empty rice bag. The water then is collected in a dish at the end of the trough. After the water is collected, sago pulp is settled at the dish.

The villagers even tried their hands out in the sago making art by beating out the spongy part and squeezing out the sago into the dish.

The collected sago pulp was then processed into nangu with boiling water which is popular among the Sepiks and the sago was wrapped in banana leaves mixed with banana to make poe which is popular among the Gulf.

These two sago products have become a favorite among the villagers and the team members have vowed to teach them how to produce more variety of sago food products.

This was one of an activity that had been shared and enjoyed by both people that prompted Solomon Island High Commissioner to PNG William Nii Haomae to reveal that relations between PNG and Solomon Island are growing stronger in all aspects.

“It is getting stronger at present in cultural ties, economically, politically, educationally, spiritually, musically,  in all aspects of live,” he said.

Mr Haomae said that during the launching of the AOG PNG-Solomon Island Mission at the Assemblies Of God (AOG) New Life Family Church at Gerehu in Port Moresby last month.

Mr Haomae also thanked the AOG PNG for contributing to strengthen relations in the spiritual area by working with AOG Solomon Islands to bring development to Solomon Island.

In supporting Mr Haomae’s comments, AOG Solomon Island General Secretary Pastor John Subu thanked PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil for giving K20million to the Solomon Islands Government. Mr O’Neil last month presented the money to the Solomon Islands Government in Honiara.

Pastor Subu said that not only AOG PNG church is providing supporting but PNG Government and people of PNG are providing support to the Solomon Islands people.

Pastor Subu thanked AOG PNG for donating a computer and printer set for the AOG Bible College at Auki in Malaita Province, in the Solomon Islands last year with a workabout sawmill and chain saw to build an academic school at Fue village also in Malaita.

Pastor Subu also gave a valuable and sacred traditional shell money neck laces (taboo) to AOG PNG missions Director Pastor Paul Hambukie as a symbolic and customary appreciation for this partnership. 
Defence step up to restore pride

Defence Media Unit

PNGDF Soldiers participating in the Wantok Warrior exercise. Both the PNGDF and the Department of Defence (Defence Organziation) is working closely to make sure all capability development potential of the Defence Organization is fully realized and developed to meet the requirement of the Government and its people. Picture Courtesy of PNGDF Archives
It is of Papua New Guinea’s national interest that the Defence Organization is well administrated both financially and administratively to meet the government and the peoples’ requirements and expectations by building the organizations capacity to deal with the current global/regional security challenges as well as nation building.

Despite many years of being crippled by heavy criticisms of mal-management, Defence has successfully turned yet another stone this week in its continuous progress to restore back the long lost dignity and integrity of the Organization.

The Organization Activity Managers both within the PNGDF and the Department of Defence gathered since Monday last week in a closed door yet very noteworthy Defence Organization Mid-Year Budget Review week where they were all tasked to present specific and detailed reports on their expenditure according to their initial Expenditure Plans put together in January 2013.

Last week’s Mid-Year Expenditure Review held at the Non Commission Officers (NCOs) Mess at Murray Barracks has set the platform for Activity Managers and the Organization as a whole to confirm that all expenditures are accordingly spent on the activities that were planned for and outlined within the 2013 expenditure plans.
Troups in Tari during the 2012 National Elections. Defence is working towards creating a new look PNGDF that would capable of dealing with the current global/regional security challenges of the 21st century as well as nation building. Picture by Alexander Nara

As the Organizational Heads, Commander PNGDF – Brigadier General Francis Agwi and Secretary for Defence John Sini Porti both strongly highlighted that the organization’s budget is the key element to successful progress and achievement of the organization goals and developments and all managers must be administratively focused to drive and achieve the expected outcomes.

Defence has also taken a largest cut of 2013 Government budget apart from Education and health and this require sharp administrators to prove that Defence can meet the demand of the Government and provide necessary output for the people of Papua New Guinea.

The review workshop also established the underlying challenge to all managers to be administratively focussed and to identify the remaining appropriate planned activities indicated in the expenditure plans within the last remaining months of 2013 and to implement them accordingly before 2014.

The one week workshop also allow an indirect audit of all expenditures in the past six months and enable the organization to focus on the last remaining months of 2013, which would establish the platform for the end of the year Budget Review as well as it would create the framework to put together the Defence Annual Report at the end of the year.

Defence is effectively resourced by the Government this year 2013 to carry out its core function of service delivery and to protect the people of Papua New Guinea from unnecessary threats to its national security, which ignite the need to be accountable in the way the peoples’ money is budgeted and used within the organization.

Over many years, expenditures have not been spent according to expenditure plans, which have always develop serious allegations of misappropriation, mal-practices and misuse within the organization.

The offices hold by the officers belong to the state and the people of Papua New Guinea and the significant move to tightened all expenditure and review plans according to the set development and progress plans all year around is a unique turn around by the Defence Organization to monitor and make sure the allocated budget is spent extremely well for the benefit of PNG Government and its people.

This week, all Activity Managers reconvened again for an intensive 2014 budget workshop.

The organization believe it is essential for an early start to prepare the 2014 budget to allow enough time for all Branch Heads and Activity Managers to critically identify and capture every possible activities throughout the organization.

The Heads also strongly pointed out that there are two different structures, which are financial structure and the Organizational structure that must be very well understood before all visions and plan would be achieved within Organization.

Brigadier Agwi and Secretary Porti highlighted that there are lot of work within the Department that is yet to be accomplished and all appropriate branch heads and the Organization as a whole are set to support and work together.

All participants are now putting their heads together to cautiously visualize, point out appropriate activities, analyse on possible avenues of capability developments and create a budget that would carry the Defence into a more effective organization that can protect the people of PNG from both internal and external threats as well as Nation Building.

Meanwhile, allegations of misappropriation, mal-administration and fraud has been levelled against the Secretary for Defence John Sini Porti and staff of the Department of Defence over the last few months which Secretary Porti said are serious in nature and required attention.

The Secretary confirmed his office has instituted measures to address these allegations and that involves requesting Auditor General’s Office to audit all books of accounts plus systems in the Defence Organization. The Auditor General’s Office had already commenced work since last week.

The Defence Internal Audit has also being instructed to carry out its own internal investigation.

We have also requested Audit Support from Department of Finance, Treasury, Planning and Department of Personal Management to assist our internal audit team.

 Treasurer Don Polye and his host at the University of Goroka education conference where he stressed the need to cultivate a savings culture
Education conference a success in Goroka

THE 2013 National Education Conference ended on a high note at the University of Goroka with participants unanimously agreeing for the establishment of a national curriculum assessment and authority (NCAMA).
The conference theme “Calibrate Education for my future’ is a major attempt to reform the education sector to deliver on the demands of the Government expressed through the Vision 2050.
Apart from the endorsement of NCAMA by participants including policy-makers, implementers, especially teachers and academics, the conference endorsed recommendations of the recent Madang Small Medium Enterprise (SME) for business education to be included in the school curriculum.
Treasurer Don Polye, who is acting Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, in his opening remarks stressed the need to cultivate a savings culture through sound financial education that will spur economic growth.
He said Papua New Guineans lacked basic financial management skills that led to mismanagement of finance from the family unit level to high public and private sectors.
Polye called for the introduction of financial management in the school curriculum and committed to take up the recommendations of the conference to the National Executive Council (NEC).
The conference holistically calibrated and recalibrated the education sector taking on board various issues confronting the current system in light of the Government’s determination to deliver quality education.
The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Department through the Office of Vision 2050, the Office of Higher Education, Department of Education and the University of Goroka.
It is part of the initial stages of implementing strategies toward the achievement of vision 2050, the first five years of the 50 years are the years of calibration that started in 2011 to 2015 for vision 2050.
In 2010 was the first year that the vision became operational for the alignment of departments and state-owned bodies.
Although 2011 was the first year of implementation it did not eventuate due to lack of funding. However, when the Peter O’Neill-led government came into place later that year, the funding was made available through a shift in the budget strategy focusing on the sub-national levels as desired by vision 2050.
The Goroka conference is partly incompliance of the Morobe communiqué in 2009, however, the actual allocation of the fund was done this year.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Home and away

Jack Metta reflects on what happens when you're not at home
GOD has put a brain in your head and a heart in your chest; use them well.

That is a phrase that had been reverberating in your mind countless times since last Sunday's church service.

It made a lot of sense because these two parts of the body play vital roles in one's personality. Hence, it stuck to your mind like a leech, readily available for the juggling when your emotions overwhelmed you in any given situation.

Initially, it was meant to remind you of your responsibilities to the society that you are a part of and to adjust accordingly should you err or fall by the wayside on the path of life.

But most of all, it was to ensure you follow the norms of society and adhere to the rules that guard them.
Once in a while, exceptional circumstances would emerge calling for the rules to be stretched and bent to suit the circumstances, but the phrase would come to the fore urging good sense and reasoning. Most times, good sense wins out.

So when the phrase kept springing to mind in conditions one does not deem exceptional, alarm bells start to ring and you start to question whether you're not in a madhouse.

The madhouse in this context refers to the settlement you are thrown into, not by design but by circumstances.
Rising rents, power and utility bills, expanded responsibilities in almost all facets of everyday life including the dreaded wantok system, literally throw you into the confines of a squatter settlement to set up house.

And more wantok system woes are invited but that is part of the deal, you know.  It is inevitable to interact with your own people because one has to be among his or her own kind to be able to scratch a new life in a complete new setting. You would think twice about settling into a new setting if you didn't have any wantoks around, would you?  This is a fact of life in most urban centres around the country.

But as time passes, you wonder if the so-called 'new life' is worth it all or should you kick yourself in the shins and say 'serves you right'.

All these had come to pass because your arithmatic, scratchy as it is (one of your worst subjects in school), dictated that you move while you had the chance.

You calculated that paying rent a week multiplied by the year, times the number of years you've rented the place, came to several thousands of kina - money that could have been better put into the construction of a reasonable permanent home in the settlement. There would have been enough to settle the bills and tip the wantok some toea for his or her bus fare on occasions. 

You rue the day you left the confines of your childhood home to start a new life. That new life appeared glamorous from the outset but as the days and years wore on and nature took its course, your life was now sinking down to the doldrums.

Lately, things have really hit rock bottom.  The home that you had started to build had become a source of bitter dispute ... you not being a part of it.

Since your work takes you out of the city from time to time, it was prudent that you appoint a caretaker to look after the place while you're away.

The head on your shoulders juggle a few names from the settlement and the heart points to the appropriate characters.

Having done that, you are disrupted by a telephone call from a neighbour three weeks later that the person you had appointed had been chased away by your cousin, who has since moved in with his clan.

"Oh," she had said in passing, "the cousin's wife's clan are also holed up at your place..."  The latter remarks sounded more sarcastic than advisory, but you didn't linger on the thought because the reminder came gurgling out from the confines of your mind like air from a burst balloon.

The cousin's mother and family had sold their house after their father died and now they've marched into your home without any authorisation whatsoever.  And to think that he had taken it upon himself to kick the person you authorised to be the caretaker without so much as the courtesy of seeking permission  from the owner.

You start seething when you latch onto the fact that they had sold their house without so much as a thought of their own accommodation in the city.

Complaints came then, like a tap opening.  Nary had a day gone by when complaints came via telephone, letters, even visitors to the town of your temporary transfer.

The former caretaker, the closest neighbours and other relatives in the neighbourhood had something to say about the occupants, their pastime and advise as to what you should do about it. 

By and by, you just became ears ... you know, let the words pass through one ear and out the other and that was that.

"There are no more coconuts on your palms; drunken youths have taken a bush knife to your trees, young palms, bananas and hedges just to show how tough they are; the trees in front of the house have been chopped down because too many youths are gathering there to drink home brew and smoke marijuana; your place has become a gambling den of sorts with every Tom, Dick, drunken Harry and his dog are making a habit of being there every day and night..."

Oh, the list went on and the reminder kept popping up. 

Above the rage in your core, there were bitter tears over memories associated with the trees and coconuts in particular.  They were planted for a purpose - to prevent erosion, act as wind breakers, and provide a shade for leisure and the children boasting in later years of having planted the trees as young toddlers.

The windbreakers in fact, were cut down because a neighbour  reasoned that his action would prevent drug bodies from using the shade.  No thought was spared for the years of growth, nurturing and trimming.
If this guy had a head on his shoulders and a heart in his chest, should he be respecting the property of its rightful owner?

You'd have thought he would have had enough sense to distinguish right from wrong and not entertain or discourage totally activities that brought the place into disrepute?

Disputes erupted over these activities between the 'cousin' and concerned parties in the neighbourhood culminating in boisterous exchanges of heated words and ultimately violence on a couple of occasions. 
The activities and disputes were fodder for the settlement's gossips and, woe of woes, ammunition for further reports to your end.

The reminder never did have time to rest in the confines of your mind for the entire period you were away.
Messages were returned to get the present tenants out of the place and install the authorised person, but this fell on deaf years. Another message was sent that you were on your way back and that the place should be vacated.

They called your bluff and when you did arrive, they were still occupying the place.
But they did the fastest disappearing act you've ever seen in your entire life.  One moment there is a hive of activity, the next, the place was quiet and deserted like it was never inhabited.

You feel sorry for yourself as you appraise you home and yard. No doubt, it was totally abused.
You had a head and a heart and you had used these to develop a cordial relationship with the locals including your cousin. And how do they return the courtesy.  Abusing your place?

You tore the house down thereafter and the materials have since gone walkabout, once again courtesy of the very people you know.  And once again, there hasn't been any permission sought from the owner.

It is said that home is where the heart is but in your case, the heart has shifted because the heads on the shoulders of those you believe you could trust, had torn it out and thrown it away.
If Louis Armstrong was to enter and blurt out in his croaky voice   'What a wonderful world'' perhaps he could be invited to be a caretaker for a while.

For now, the head's thinking about the future, the heart's pumping and the words of the Wise Counsellor: 'Forgiveness is a lovely idea until one has something to forgive' is resonating in your ears.