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 .....

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.


The pregnancy experience continues


"THE pregnancy experience - an all-expenses-paid holiday" article published two weeks back stimulated a lot of interest amongst many readers.  More than 200 people reacted to the story by email asking a lot of personal and interesting questions and requests.

I have ve tried my best replying to most of the questions but for those about the symptoms and signs of early pregnancies, I have reserved the answers to this follow-up article.  This article wishes also to illustrate two important features of the pregnancy experience.  Firstly the signs and symptoms of the pregnancy experience.  Secondly, we should know as husbands and wives the physical changes happening inside a mother's womb during pregnancy.  Keeping records or track of what's going on inside that comfortable villa of our wives' wombs is important. 

Let me begin with an email I received.

"My friend's girlfriend did not have her menstrual period last month.  We are not sure if she is pregnant or not.  If she is really pregnant, they are not ready yet for a child.  Can you give us some tips how she can do abortion?" Well my dear friends.  Abortion in PNG is illegal.  Therefore I don't have a clue or advice as to how you can execute this act. But the reality in this country from observation is that illegal things are legal and vice-versa.  People are selling smoke and buai at places where they shouldn't be trading these things.  Sex is a thriving business although it is illegal here in the country. As indicated in the Post Courier 10 abortion cases are reported every month in Bougainville (Post Courier March 19 2010).   This is for one province. What about other 19 provinces in this country?  What is happening to this type of unintended and unwanted pregnancies?  Someone in authority can shed some light on this. 

The confusing thing is that we normally do not think of the outcomes when two loving couples cuddle each other in a loving sexual affair.   When the female partner starts sharing her feelings some weeks or a month later like my friend above, we start searching our pockets for ideas and even excuses.  To avoid that, I wish to introduce you to some practical analysis of the pregnancy experience. 

Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed menstrual cycle.

Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. Some women experience signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. For other women, pregnancy symptoms may develop over a few weeks or may not be present at all.

Below is a listing of some of the most common pregnancy symptoms. If you have been sexually active and experiencing any of the following symptoms it is important to take a pregnancy test.

Implantation bleeding: Implantation bleeding can be one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. About 6-12 days after conception, the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. Some women will experience spotting as well as some cramping.  Actual menstruation, altered menstruation, changes in birth control pill, infection, or abrasion from intercourse can also occur then Delay/difference in menstruation: A delayed or missed menstruation is the most common pregnancy symptom leading a woman to test for pregnancy.

When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed. Many women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically the bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period. Excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal problems, tension, stress, ceasing to take the birth control pill, or breast-feeding are other symptoms.

Swollen/tender breasts: Swollen or tender breasts are a pregnancy symptom which may begin as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. Women may notice changes in their breasts; they may be tender to the touch, sore, or swollen. Hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, impending menstruation (PMS) can also cause your breasts to be swollen or tender.

Fatigue/tiredness: Feeling fatigued or tired is a pregnancy symptom which can also start as early as the first week after conception. Stress, exhaustion, depression, common cold or flu, or other illnesses can also leave you feeling tired or fatigued.

Nausea/morning sickness: This well-known pregnancy symptom will often show up between 2-8 weeks after conception. Some women are fortunate to not deal with morning sickness at all, while others will feel nauseous throughout most of their pregnancy. Food poisoning, stress, or other stomach disorders can also cause you to feel queasy.

Backaches: Lower backaches may be a symptom that occurs early in pregnancy; however, it is common to experience a dull backache throughout an entire pregnancy. Impending menstruation, stress, other back problems, and physical or mental strains.

Headaches: The sudden rise of hormones in your body can cause you to have headaches early in pregnancy. Dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, impending menstruation, eye strain, or other ailments can be the source of frequent or chronic headaches.

Frequent urination: Around 6-8 weeks after conception, you may find yourself making a few extra trips to the bathroom.  Urinary tract infection, diabetes, increasing liquid intake, or taking excessive diuretics.
Darkening of Areolas: If you are pregnant, the skin around your nipples may get darker. Hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or may be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.

Food cravings: While you may not have a strong desire to eat pickles and ice cream, many women will feel cravings for certain foods when they are pregnant. This can last throughout your entire pregnancy. Poor diet, lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression, or impending menstruation.

If you think you are pregnant you may purchase a home pregnancy test such as those made by Clearblue Easy, or find out more about taking a pregnancy test.

Calculating the day your baby begins to develop and keeping track of your pregnancy dates can be a challenge. The development of pregnancy is counted from the first day of the woman's last normal period, even though the development of the fetus does not begin until conception. Pregnancy is calculated from this day because each time a woman has a period, her body is preparing for pregnancy.

Healthy pregnancy development may vary due to the mother's health or a miscalculation of ovulation. Gestational age is the age of the pregnancy from the last normal menstrual period (LMP), and fetal age is the actual age of the growing baby. Most references to pregnancy are usually in gestational age rather than fetal age development, but we have included both so that it is clear what stage development is at. Measurements will be given in total length from head to toe, but each pregnancy can differ in weight and length measurements.

Pregnancy is also divided into trimesters which last about 12 - 14 weeks each. Similar to development, these can be calculated from different dates so not all trimester calculations will equal the same. The following information divides the three trimesters into a little over 3 completed months each. The first trimester is week 1 through the end of week 13. The second trimester usually ends around the 26th week and consists of the 4th, 5th and 6th completed months. The third trimester can end anywhere between the 38th - 42nd week and is the 7th, 8th and 9th completed months of pregnancy.

Vaginal bleeding can occur frequently in the first trimester of pregnancy and may not be a sign of problems. But bleeding that occurs in the second and third trimester of pregnancy can often be a sign of a possible complication. Bleeding can be caused by a number of reasons.

Some basic things to know about bleeding are:
  • If you are bleeding, you should always wear a pad or panty liner so that you can monitor how much you are bleeding and what type of bleeding you are experiencing.
  • You should never wear a tampon or introduce anything else into the vaginal area such as douche or engage in sexual intercourse if you are currently experiencing bleeding. 
  • If you are also experiencing any of the other symptoms mentioned below in connection with a possible complication, you should contact your health care provider immediately.

...... to be continued next week
Bernard Narokobi: A great supporter of the development of renewable energy
Liu Zhaoxiang, one time resident of Papua New Guinea and currently living in Beijing, China, recollects his first encounter with late Bernard Narokobi. Liu believes PNG should have more of late Narokobi in his personality, knowledge and above all, his ideology and wisdom.
I WAS extremely sorry to learn last Friday afternoon (March12) when news was received at the PNG Embassy in Beijing that Mr. Bernard Narokobi had passed away. I was shocked and saddened and immediately wanted to ring his house and convey my deepest sympathy to his family members, but I didn't know his telephone number.

To get his number, I then called two good friends of his, Mr. John Momis, PNG's former Ambassador to China, and Mr Joseph Gabut, the former Secretary of the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE). Unfortunately, I couldn't reach either of them.

As is known to all, Bernard was one of the most prominent lawyers and one of the most honorable politicians in PNG. However, little is known of his great and firm support for the development of renewable energy in PNG.

First Meeting at Manila Airport

I was invited to go to PNG as a private citizen by former Ambassador Larry Hulo in 1994. Soon, I found PNG was facing a serious challenge of power shortages not only in its rural areas where more than 80% of its population lived but also in all its urban centers where blackouts were daily occurrences. So, I made up my mind to do something about the power issue in PNG.

In the following years, I traveled extensively throughout PNG conducting a series of field studies about renewable energy. I found that PNG is blessed with very rich renewable energy opportunities due to its favorable and advantageous geographical, topographical and geological characteristics.

PNG has almost all forms of renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal and ocean wave energy. I was confident renewable energy could provide the people of PNG with indigenous, affordable, reliable and clean energy.

In June 2000, we shipped the first batch of six wind-powered generators from China to PNG for demonstration purposes. I happened to take the same flight from Hong Kong to Port Moresby with Bernard Narokobi, the Speaker of National Parliament, who had just completed an official visit to China and was on his way back home.

We had a one hour stopover in Manila, the Philippines. I met Bernard for the first time on his way to the VIP lounge. With some nervousness, because of his position and my lack of any earlier communication with him, I asked him whether he was interested in wind power.

To my surprise, he said quietly, "Yes. Come and explain it to me."  I was very happy and followed him into the VIP lounge. At the same time he asked some other members of his delegation to join us.

Bernard listened attentively, and looked carefully at the brochure I gave to him. From time to time, he asked questions. At last, he told me, "We have wind all the year round. We need wind power and it is environmental friendly. I fully support you. If I can do anything for you, just let me know."

Then, he gave his name card to me. He was so humble, friendly and warm. This first meeting with Bernard has stayed in my memory ever since.

A photo in front of the wind -powered generator
As soon as wind-powered generators arrived in PNG in the first week in August 2000, we erected one of them in the corner of Waigani Village near its front gate. Waigani Village is just on the roadside of Waigani Drive, and it attracted the attention of many drivers and passengers.

Mr Collin Taimbari, a reporter for Post-Courier, interviewed me in the following week, and Post-Courier carried his report on 15th August 2000.

I wanted very much to invite Bernard to have a look at our demonstration generator. So, I called him the following day. He said he was delighted to read our story in the newspaper and he would like to visit us during the weekend.

At 7:30 AM on 19th August 2000, Bernard drove himself to Waigani Village. He switched the lights attached to the generator on and off twice.  He looked at the inverter and battery and asked how long the battery could last.

When he learnt that the battery could last only for three years, he said it needs to last longer than that because it would be inconvenient for the villagers in remote areas to replace it.

A photo was taken of us standing together in front of the wind-powered generator. Whenever I look at that photo, I always remember his smiling face.

Also before he left, he encouraged me to write something for the media about renewable energy because at that time not many Papua New Guineans knew about it. With his encouragement, I wrote my first article entitled "Develop PNG Renewable Energy to Realise Electrification" and it was published in PNG Business (January, 2001)

 A letter of recommendation 
Just at that time, DPE was looking for a renewable energy consultant. I guess it was through the news, my articles and interviews in PNG`s media that led DPE to assess me as a candidate.

I was selected after an interview by Mr Vore Veve, Director of Energy Division of the Department.  In order to complete the appointment process, however, he needed a letter of recommendation from a prominent figure of PNG.

I told this to Bernard. Without any hesitation, he said to me, "I will write a letter of recommendation for you to the Department." Two days, I was given his letter at his house. Bernard`s recommendation letter was very important for me.

After three months of scrutiny by departments concerned and upon the approval of Consultancy Steering Committee, DPE formally engaged me as a renewable energy consultant on 10th April 2001 for a term of three years.

The first and major term of reference of my engagement was "Improve awareness coverage of the renewable energy sector in Papua New Guinea". From then on, I became very busy, and often I had to work seven days a week in my small office in Gordons.

Great encouragement
During the three years, I tried my best to conduct extensive work by undertaking research into identifying appropriate renewable technologies given PNG conditions. Mr Joseph Gabut, Secretary of DPE recognized the value to PNG of the technologies I had identified and kindly wrote in a performance assessment report that, "Mr Liu has fulfilled all the requirements of the terms of reference, resulting in proven record of achievements. He has done an excellent job as a consultant, and I am satisfied with his work."

I could not have achieved all these without the help and encouragement of my colleagues and many readers, among whom Bernard was the most outstanding one.  He had given me the utmost encouragement. Many times after I published my research papers, Bernard would call me and urge me to "keep up the good job".

On 1st May 2003 in his Column "Seliter Whispers" of The Independent, Bernard published his comment entitled "Liu Zhaoxiang`s vision of PNG`s renewable energy".

He wrote, "Mr Liu has done more than writing these great energy sources available to us. He has a vision for our country's modernizing itself with a maximum of energy sources which are both cost effective and environment friendly," and "from his tiny office at Gordons, Mr Liu has generated enormous energy."

I think Bernard was over complimentary of me and my work. His words always inspired me to work hard for the development of renewable energy in PNG, which, I am sure, is in the best interest of Papua New Guineans.

Bernard Narokobi had a rich full life and lived every minute of it to the fullest. May his vision and enthusiasm for a brighter, sustainable future for PNG remain as a beacon to guide us all now that he is no longer with us.

In his book, "The Melanesian Way", he wrote and I quote, "Melanesian has been invaded by a huge tidal wave from the West in the form of colonization and Christianization... Whilst acknowledging our beautiful past along with its constraints, we also recognize the good in the new ways, and mindful of the bad ways of today. With the freedom we have, we can make conscious decisions to opt for what is best in both worlds.

"Today, we Melanesians stand at the crossroad. More than any people in the world, we can choose. We can choose to ape the West and the East or we can choose to be ourselves in our philosophy, our life-styles and our whole beings."

Can PNG leaders today guide PNG in the true Melanesian Way, yet live the current globe?

For comments, contact Mathew Yakai on email: m_yakai@hotmail.com or SMS 71489901

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rebuilding Lelefiru away from the raging sea

                                                                             By LINA KEAPU

IN EVERY island there is a dreadful situation that's taking the livelihood of people especially when global warming or climate change is taking place rapidly.

Let me introduce you to a little group of people that live along the coastline of the Gulf of Papua. That is the Lelefiru village, the last village in the East Kerema Local Level Government in the Gulf Province. They may not be known to the rest of Papua New Guinea and the world like other rural villages along the coast that are being hit by the rising sea level and their situation is not being recognized by the authorities concerned, like for instance the Caterets Islands. 

Lelefiru village has become seabed to marine life. The effect of the sea rise has affected Lelefiru much more than the other villages around her. Subsequently the entire village was completely washed out in recent years.
Having been relocated back inland to Lahoposa where their great grandparents used to garden in the last century, the village school was also built there. The villagers have started life all over again. Apparently they have lost everything their great grandfathers have built from generation to generation, including the United Church building that was built between 1980 and 1990.

When we see the history of the church, it took ten years of constructing the building which was then opened in December 1991. The Church building carried a lot of memories of people who worked tirelessly both physically and financially to build a permanent house of worship for the villagers. Sympathetically, most of the heroes that put up the church building no longer exist. At the time of the rising sea the church building was about 14 years old. Unfortunately that memorable church building no longer stands.

Sadly, Lelefiru under this disastrous situation has not received any assistance from the Provincial nor National Government.  It really was every man for himself this painful five years.

Now the village, situated three to five kilometers inland has no school nor proper church building. The villagers are focused in rebuilding their village. Initially the elders of the village should have been taking the lead, seeking assistance from the Provincial Government and authorities concerned for this disaster, instead they have just seen the entire village vanish into the sea water.

Lelefiru village has a religious group called the Lelefiru Women Fellowship (LFW). This particular group began some 80 years ago. The present Lelefiru WF, like any in the United Church region in PNG, is the work inherited by their mothers and even great grandmothers.

The WF has become the main force in the major activities and projects in the village. These developments in a re-located site after the rising sea level in 2006/7 are a matter of some marvel because they challenge the conventional practice of male dominance in all areas of life. In year 2000 the WF completed a furnished modern residence for their congregation pastor. All processes of planning, organizing and fundraising has been the initiative of the women.

The current pastor of Lelefiru village, Kave Eka emphasized on the rebuilding of Lelefiru on God's Law of love during a basket exchange ceremony held in the village over the festive season between the village-based women's fellowship and Port Moresby Lelefiru women's fellowship.  They also raised K12, 000 for the new church building (NCB) on the 25th of December 2009. He said, the theme; "Rebuilding Lelefiru" is not an easy task but he is committed and determined to bring together a taskforce from different walks of life.

He said the "pastor-does-it-all" approach will curb the work which God has given to every person in the village. He said he will call for a new mindset and a new attitude proactive to what leaders are doing to rebuild Lelefiru.

For years, the WF have combined their collective knowledge, enterprise and initiative to structure their own fellowship work environment to produce these great results.
The next NCB fundraising basket is planned for the 26th December 2010. Pastor Kave said they hope to make it a bigger and better one to get everyone.

In his keynote address to the women and the village as a whole, the pastor extracted a text from the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. He said when we read through we see when Nehemiah heard the news of the broken walls and the burnt gates of Jerusalem, he wept.

This reflects the fact that while it is true that God is in the throne he will bring good out of evil. That truth does not legitimate the feelings of sorrow that arise within a person. Thus Nehemiah faced these facts of honest feeling rising in his heart for his Jerusalem. Nehemiah was in a foreign city serving the government of that nation.

"The broken walls and the burnt gates of Jerusalem portrays the old Lelefiru, the Lelefiru you once adored as home is all gone.  The school closed down for two years. The church building was destroyed by the swelling waves and the pastor's house was left abandoned at the mercy of the angry waves only to be rescued before it was destroyed."

Pastor Eka said the theme, Rebuilding Lelefiru, in itself is quite a challenge but the village looks forward to building a team of loyal families and friends who will support and give financially. "For this concept the interim working committee is appealing to their brothers and sisters "Lelefiru Atutemori" living in and around the country and abroad to assist rebuild their home. 

If you have the sympathy for your Lelefiru, it is the that you are a true son of Lelefiru, therefore we need you in the rebuilding task.

For more information on the new church building project, call the Lelefiru WF Chairlady Mrs. Sari Posu on mobile #  (675) 7288 4099 or the Secretary Mrs. Horope Mesea on mobile # (675)7687 4594.

"Cane man" of Hula Remembered

                                                                                By BENNY SANDEKA

MANEMANEA Primary School on the coastline of Hula in the Rigo District of Central Province this week remembered a great teacher, disciplinarian, a fighter for woman rights and underprivileged and above all, a mentor of ethical, responsible behavior.
He is none other than Allan Jones (not the Australian TV commentator).  Allan Jones, from Adelaide in South Australia spent the best years of his life in Papua New Guinea - ten of them, in Hula where he was the headmaster of Manemanea Primary School.

Those ten years were not a total waste as his two nieces found out when they took a trip back to Hula and back in time to see where this great educator has spent his life. They were not surprised when people came out in numbers to tell how this great man has touched their lives during their association with him.

And when each one of them went down memory lane to recall different acts of discipline administered by Allan Jones, they wept openly because Allan Jones has had a great impact on their lives to make them become what they are now.

"He inspects us from head to toe every morning," one lady recalled. "When he finds that we have lice in our hair, he would push us into a bucket full of kerosene," she said.

Children who have long fingernails, he would use his cane, which he carries with him wherever he goes, and beat the fingers until the long fingernails come off. Girls with long unkempt hair are at the mercy of Allan Jones' scissors.

Many recalled that children would run off to their parents to seek refuge and ask them to face off with Allan Jones.  But when they arrive at the school, Allan Jones often gave them a long lecture on what good his discipline will do to their kids in the years ahead.

Given the stand he took, many people not only feared him, but also respected and had a high regard for this great educator whose method of educating people is not only confined to the limits of his classroom walls.

Allan Jones also had a heart of a saint. Whenever children are in the classroom and he sees a poor old woman carrying heavy loads, he would suspend his entire class and ask the boys to help the elderly woman to wherever she is going.  There are other times when Allan invites children to have dinner with him at his house. During the course of the dinner, he would instill in them table manners like "excuse me, pass the salt please" etc..

During the holidays, Allan Jones would take some children down to Australia.  But one former student recalls, it was not all a vacation.

"After breakfast, he will ask us many questions about what we did not understand in school. We will sit down and read and write every morning during the vacation," the student recalled.

But despite these, a few remember lighter moments. There is a girl whom Allan Jones affectionately calls "Alice in Wonderland" for letting her mind slip off during class times and would not concentrate. Allan Jones also took her to Australia where she had a good time looking after his cats at his Adelaide home.  Another, he affectionately calls "Joy Bells" because her name was Joy and that she was given the opportunity ringing the bells at appointed times.

Many stories of this great man about in Hula especially those who have been through Manemanea Primary School during his administration.

Having an impact in the hearts and minds of people with whom he has spent his best days of his life, Allan Jones' cremated remains were brought back by two of his great nieces, Kathee Bowyer and Louise Jeffery to be laid among the people whom he has inspired.

A memory was erected to his honour and the school in which he was ruled with ultimate discipline was renamed after him - the Manemanea Primary School now being called, the Allan Jones Memorial School.
Rigo District Administrator, District Education Advisor and local level government president of the area where all there to witness 'home coming' of the late Allan Jones remains and change of name of the school.

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (RWSSP)

TWO separate theories in human history have the same beginning:  The Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin and the Creation Myth in the Christian faith has something in common.  And that is water.
According to the patriarch, Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate.  The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.  Again as you reflect the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin, you will remember your science teacher talking about a single cell amoeba emerging from the water and that was the first creation of life.

Two atoms of hydrogen and one  of oxygen combine together to give life to earth.  This liquid without color, taste or smell is indeed the most essential element of human life but has been overlooked and given little nor no attention at all in every phase of development.  As you sit back and take stock of the recipes that make up human life, you will notice that water (H2O) is inclusive in every thing we do.  It is life and death!

In this article, I wish to expound on this important human need and illustrate its importance in the lives of everyone who needs it badly.  You will go on to read about amazing things an organization is doing to eradicate water borne diseases by providing sustainable water and sanitation management programs in the country.

In 2006, the government of Papua New Guinea and the European Union developed a partnership to involve in the funding of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (RWSSP) in the country.

An EU grant of K12.8 million was awarded for the implementation of the first phase of RWSSP.  In the first phase which began in 2006 and ended two years later, grants were given to 30 non state actors (NSA) who worked with 133 different communities, providing access to clean water and sanitation for 76,700 beneficiaries.

Harewelle International and Mott MacDonald of United Kingdom are implementing the European Union funded Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Program in the country.  They are a group of committed and industrious individuals working in some of the most remote parts of this country providing technical advice and assistance in promoting access to save water supply ad sanitation facilities.

No roads means nothing.  Water is a need.  Walking two hours every day to fetch water for drinking, cooking and washing is a chronic hassle for many communities, especially mothers and children in this country.   
"Without water, there is no life," Stuart Jordan, Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Program engineer said when discussing about the programs implemented thus far under the European Union funding.

The Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (RWSSP) funded by the Government of Papua New Guinea and the European Union commenced in February 2006 under the supervision of the Department of Health.

Phase I of the Programme was completed in August, 2008. The Phase I budget included a provision of Euro 3.5 million (K12 million) for the implementation of RWSS projects over two years and eight months. Due to a satisfactory performance, Phase II started in January 2009, and will run for three years with a substantially larger budget for RWSS project implementation.

On Wednesday this week, contracts were signed to pave the way for the implementation and sanction of the second phase of the programme. The seven non-state actors involved include ADRA, Salvation Army, Baptist Union, Oxfam and CARE. 

Under this programme, 35 district health officers will be trained in up-to-date hygiene and sanitation promotion methodologies.  These district officers will work alongside NSA staff in promoting life-saving hygiene behavior change, preventing diarrheal diseases and epidemics such as cholera, typhoid and flu.
The expected outcome of this second phase of the programme will see water and sanitation schemes in approximately 400 rural villages, 20,000 improved toilets, 170 gravity fed systems, 1,300 water tanks (rain catchment) and 70 shallow wells and boreholes. This means 230, 000 people in rural communities are expected to benefit from the programme.

The RWSSP has been designed to optimize rapid implementation by channeling grants through NSA with existing experience and capacity for implementing integrated, community demand driven, small-scale RWSS projects.

NSAs are contracted for the implementation of RWSS projects based on the approval of proposals they submit to RWSSP. The proposals were evaluated by a committee comprising the Department of Health, The Department of National Planning and Monitoring and the Office of Rural Development. A key area of concern for RWSSP was the sustainability of the RWSS schemes constructed. This was addressed during Phase I through an appropriate community development strategy and procedures, including arrangements through which requests for RWSS schemes were driven by community demand.

This strategy is considered essential in order to avoid the mistakes of previous RWSS projects in PNG which failed to create sufficient sense of community ownership due to a top-down implementation approach of donors, government and implementing agencies. To promote community ownership and sustainability of RWSS schemes community contributions to a project, in cash and in kind is a pre-requisite.

To become implementing partners NSAs need to have existing general management capacity as well as capacity either for the complete implementation of integrated RWSS projects or else capacity in one or more of component areas (community development, capacity building, RWSS technical design/construction, training or awareness raising on cross cutting issues of HIV/AIDS and gender) gained from the other projects of a similar nature.

An NSA capacity building component was developed by RWSSP to enable an increasing number of NSAs to access and manage programme funds over the programme period and to broaden the geographical coverage of the Programme. Capacity building was, and will continue to be, directed primarily towards strengthening and supporting the NSA to implement and integrate the various component areas of RWSS projects as required by the RWSSP.

In order to improve sustainability further, and to prioritize hygiene and sanitation, capacity building of NSAs during Phase II will concentrate more upon Community Management, Community Led Total Sanitation, Participatory Hygiene & Sanitation Transformation and Participatory Water Supply & Use Decision Making. This is expected to produce higher sustainable outputs, and results which may be considered international standard of working best-practice.

Under Phase II the networking of communities, NSAs and local level government will receive increased attention. By bringing together the stakeholders involved it is hoped that the projects and the capacity of the NSAs will be enhanced so that on the completion of the programme there will remain well maintained schemes and the skills to further meet the needs for clean water and improved access to sanitation. In addition the creation of working partnerships between stakeholders should result in longer term development benefits in the area.

Globally, 1.1 billion people lack safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people are without sanitation.  The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) indicates halving this proportion by 2015. 
So far, a lot is desired for Papua New Guineans to take ownership of these initiatives and embrace the programs in our villages. 

"Mothers can make more gardens if the time spent in fetching clean water is minimized," Stuart said.
If Eda Ranu and Water board concentrate in providing clean and safe water to the 16 percent of the urban dwellers, the other 84 percent in the rural areas need help from somewhere else.  The European Union funded RWSSP seems the way for now.
Note: In the next issue, I wish to discuss with you impact projects implemented in some of our rural areas.  We'll keep in touch.  wgabana@yahoo.com

Logging sites potential breeding grounds for prostitution and corruption

By DERRICK KII REUBEN - Parliamentary Reporter

'SEPIK sex ring busted' as reported in The National (18/02/2010), is just a tip of an ice berg where our local women and young girls as well as students are lured into having sex with foreigners for money and other valuable items as well as with the hope for better lives.

Unfortunately, that story never went further to explain how long these immoral activities have been going on at the logging site, the origins of the company and the nationality of the employees.

There are far too many cases of similar incidents occuring everyday at logging sites throughout the nation and especially in the coastal areas. Exploitation of our young women has sadly gone unreported simply because no law enforcing agencies, woman groups or churches put up the fight against these perpetrators or aliens at the village level.
It is also a sad scenario when our government officials are involved and are collaborating in such illegal activities.    

 I first came to notice similar strange conduct and behaviors by foreign employees of an Asian owned logging company in 2003.
During December of that year a friend and I were on our way to my his village when we decided to spend two days at Boroai logging camp near Napanapa Oil Palm plantation in the Mile Bay Province.

In that camp I noticed with interest there were semi wooden houses constructed below hilltops which housed the expatriate supervisors and foremen while some of the locals who came from far distances just to get employed there were forced into 'dog cage' like long wooden structures divided into blocks without any sleeping utilities. It was mere open space with pure rough wooden floor and roofing.
These young men were full of muscles and energy and would not bother about the freezing cold and buzzing mosquitoes all night after the day's hard work starting from around 6:30 a.m and they would often finish late in the afternoon depending on what time they were picked up.

Among them some of whom I had the privilege of interviewing expressed with frustration how they were treated by their bosses who were of Asian origin.
One such notable mistreatment they raised was concerning their wages. Most of the new recruits were really underpaid. Even after long hours of work some of them would be paid on an hourly rate of K1.00 - K1.50. In a fortnight they would normally receive K75 - K90, all of which goes towards their living expense and nothing much was left to send to their families back home.
"If we were to stay back home we would hardly have any cash in our hands so we come here and work hard at least to earn something" one said with smiles on his face yet deep within one would easily tell he wasn't a happy man.
Even today Asian owned logging companies continue to pay our local workers at K1.50 to K1.80 per hour, which was the case during my visit last Christmas to Sabiribo village in the Abau District - logging is currently underway operated by Tion Cung, a Malaysian owned company.   This is in direct breach of National Minimum Wage Board approved rate. 
So life goes on for these young and middle aged men and women most of whom are illiterate or achieved formal education as far as grade 6. Each day brings greater challenges for them without somebody to fall back to air their concerns and grievances.
For the beautiful young girls, their engagements were for a different reason. They were given jobs like house cleaning, laundry, cooking and clerical office work. And what goes on behind closed doors is anybody's guess.
I had actually saw few pregnant girls residing at that particular camp and I was reliably told that they were victims of sexual abuse on a daily basis. 
I was also told that most of these young women were made pregnant in exchange for job engagement and on-the-spot cash payments for sex.
Literally, these foreigners of Asians origin had no respect for the customs and traditions that exists there.
What happens there is a direct result of the remoteness and nil existence of rural based economic activities that forced young men into slavery and girls are vulnerable to exploitation and losing their virginity to foreigners.
To make matters worse I could not see an officer from the National Forest Authority who would normally be stationed at the logging site to monitor all timber put down and being exported.
If there was any, they may have been based at Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay Province, which is about a hundred kilometers away from the logging site. What goes up in the jungle was all at the mercy of the logging company.
Bribery seemed prevalent at such a logging site when dealing with Government officials thus, last week's report in one of the dailies (18/02/010) concerning a senior female government officer among local girls involved in providing sexual favours to the foreigners in the East Sepik province was not a surprise to many. 
It is about time the National Government through its line agencies like the National Forest Authority, Labour Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Immigration tighten-up the existing laws as well as make new amendments to fix the loop-holes to ensure our land and its people no longer fall victims in the hands of foreigners. 

Author's note: The logging company that operated in the Boroai left when its contract expired and today there is no tangible development brought in by that company.     
For further information Derrick can be contacted on the following. Email: rderrickkii@yahoo.com.au

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nandex storms into Wewak


ST MARY'S Wirui Primary seventh grader, 14 year old Cyril Bolox was very disappointed that his school was unable to accommodate a visit for seven times world champion kick boxer Stanley 'head hunter' Nandex on Monday.

By force, his dad had to catch up with Nandex at Windjaamer beach motel at a dinner hosted by official sponsor, Joe Gabut in conjunction with Kurakum Lodge Wewak to satisfy his long-waiting wish - to meet Stanley Nandex in person.

Nandex met the young man, signed his autograph and posed for a photograph with him before flying out of Wewak early Tuesday morning. Bolox plans to produce a portrait of the photograph. 

The head hunter flew into Wewak late Sunday afternoon following an invitation by East Sepik Kick Boxing Association. He officially launched the association on Monday paving the way for Wewak to start preparations for the Momase Kick Boxing title fights in June which it will host.

Coordinator and PNG Games kick boxing gold medalist, Mark Sai said some 500 fighters from the region and country will attend and Wewak will need around K100,000 to play host.

To much delight and excitement, Kreer primary was the only lucky school in town to have the kick boxing sensation visited where he addressed staff and students on anti social behavior. He shared his life story after having dropped out of grade six at Sembirigi in Southern highlands where he originates.

"You can be champions too not just in sports but in everything that you want to do in life. But you must be disciplined, respect others, and stay away from drugs, home brew, alcohol, smoking, HIV AIDS and other anti social behavior if you really want to be a champion like me...," Nandex told students.

Official sponsor and promoter, Joe Gabut expressed grave concern on break down in social values resulting in escalating social problems in East Sepik and the country and urged parents to be more involved with their children.

"I have been supporting sports and kick boxing is one code that I feel I should support because it instills high level of discipline and change mind sets of our young people to become positive contributors to nation building," Gabut said.

Led by two singsing groups from Wewak islands, Nandex arrived in Wewak to a rousing fanfare where he addressed a crowd at the airport and again as late as 7:30 pm at Kurakum Lodge Wewak where he was accommodated. Sepik Music School brass band ushered him to awaiting singsing groups, and the SDA Church choir sang a special welcome note before the official cutting of ribbon at Kaindi YC hall on Monday morning by the champion fighter.

There Nandex officially congratulated the Team Sepik kick boxing squad for bagging five gold medals and topping the PNG Games in that respect. He also announced the selection of three Papua New Guinean fighters on scholarship to Australia in April for three months, one of whom was Sepik's very own, Mark Sai of Kadowar island.

East Sepik will send a delegation to Chimbu in March for the National Titles.
From the national titles, Mr. Nandex said PNG will send 15 fighters to Spain in November to compete for professional boxing.

Nandex flew out of Wewak early Tuesday morning to Port Moresby where he was expected to sign a new job contract with Exxon Mobil, developers of the LNG project this week.

He resigned from professional kick boxing this year sighting "no right and suitable candidate in my division to contest the belt I am currently holding..." as the primary reason. At time of resignation, Nandex have fought 49 professional fights with five losses and 44 wins. He successfully defended his world title seven times the latest being a 18 seconds TKO world record.

Envoy's PNG connection

From among his long list of tasks, Ian Kemish is also here to brush up his Tok Pisin.

IAN Kemish sits on a couch in the Australian High Commissioner's residence on Touaguba Hill. Seven meters from where he sits is a balcony which offers a magnificent view of Fairfax Harbour, dotted with vessels. 

Straight ahead, the Napa Napa oil refinery, a testament to Papua New Guinea's development. To the right lie the Motuan villages of Hanuabada and Tatana and to the left downtown Port Moresby, a hive of activity.

Ian was appointed Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea on 12 January 2010, but his first 'posting' to PNG was as a four year old in 1965.

"A lot has changed", was Ian's response to a question on whether he has noticed a difference between PNG today and the PNG of his childhood.

"There has been a lot of development and economic growth, especially over the last year or so. The population has changed - increased - but I have to say that I notice more the things that are the same."

"The people are the same. Papua New Guineans are both gentle and astute, an attractive combination which I remember very clearly.

 "Growing up here makes me no expert in modern-day Papua New Guinea - I have a lot to learn - but it did give me a lasting affection and respect for the people," Ian says.

Ian first came to PNG when his father took up a position with ELCOM, now known as PNG Power. This job took Ian and his family to Lae - where Ian's younger brother was born - Rabaul, and Port Moresby. During his last two years in PNG, Ian's parents worked at the University of Papua New Guinea, where his father was in charge of stores, transport and housing, and his mother was secretary to the Vice Chancellor. A thirteen year old Ian and his family left PNG in 1973, but as Ian grew older he continued to treasure the memories of his childhood in PNG. He missed climbing trees and running wild. He especially missed the freedom of his shoe-free days at Waigani Primary School.

"PNG was a colourful, warm and friendly place, and when I went back to Australia I missed it, and looked back on it as where I came from," he says smiling.

He looks relaxed, happy to be back in PNG, and very much at home.

Ian's wife Roxanne tells how for 30 years she has listened to her husband's stories about his PNG childhood. Ian has been back three times since 1973. The visits were work-related and short, and he's pleased to be here again for the 'longer haul'.

Before his posting to PNG, Ian was Australian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, a position he held from April 2006. Prior to this, he was First Assistant Secretary, International Division in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. His overseas service has included postings to Vienna and Brunei, and he has also worked on secondment with the New Zealand Ministry of External Relations.

After Berlin, Ian and Roxanne felt the timing was right for the move to PNG, and pushed hard for it to happen.

"The Australian High Commissioner to Port Moresby has always been regarded as one of the top Head of Mission posts that Australia has, and I felt ready for it. The fact that I grew up here made the appointment a little more special," Ian says.

They add that this is their first posting without one of their two daughters - both university students in Brisbane - so the proximity of Port Moresby to Brisbane was also appealing.

"But the main reason we wanted this posting was the work, and making a contribution to a country that Ian has such a strong connection with," Roxanne says.

Ian believes the current Papua New Guinea-Australia relationship is in very good shape. "The overall tone of the relationship is a very positive one at the moment," he says.

The visits by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to PNG and the visit by PNG Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare to Australia in recent years have contributed enormously to the relationship.

"We have quite a lot going on now. It's a big agenda. I think that we will see further positive change," Ian says.

He adds that PNG's economy stands to grow significantly and Australia is absolutely delighted for PNG that it was able to attract investment in the PNG LNG Project. Ian is equally as delighted that he'll be able to contribute towards the strengthening of the two countries bilateral relationship.

Roxanne listens patiently to her husband. Molly - the couple's black cocker spaniel - is happily stretched-out at her feet.  Coming from Berlin - their last posting - to PNG was very different for Roxanne. Unlike Ian, this is her first time here.

Dr Gelu and his political insight on PNG

A SCHOLARLY book titled Pacific Ways: Government and Politics in the Pacific Islands which was recently published by the Victoria University Press (2009) has been highly recommended for use in Papua New Guinea schools and higher learning institutions. 

One of the contributors from PNG is Dr Alphonse Gelu. Dr Gelu who was at the University of Papua New Guinea (now at the National Research Institute) was invited by Dr Stephen Levine, Professor of Political Science at the Victoria University of Wellington in 2006 to contribute a chapter on the politics of Papua New Guinea.

The chapter on Papua New Guinea looked at the system of government; elections and political parties; the constitution; and provincial governments. The chapter looked at each of these processes and institutions and how they have evolved over time. The information on Papua New Guinea is useful for those who are interested in gaining some knowledge on the politics of Papua New Guinea since 1975.

Dr Gelu who has always had a keen interest on the politics of Pacific Islands states teaches a course at the University of Papua New Guinea called South Pacific Politics for more than 10 years. Many of his former students (including Solomon Islands) now work in the public service, some in areas of foreign relations and security and they benefited from the materials and subjects covered in the course.

He also assisted to teach a course called The Political Economy of the South Pacific with Dr Tupeni Baba, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education in Fiji at the Pacific Center at the University of Auckland in 2002. Dr Gelu himself has a wide knowledge about the politics of each island states apart from Papua New Guinea.

In giving an overview of the book, Professor Levine wrote that the literature on the politics of the Pacific islands remains much slimmer than for other regions. The number of island states and territories, and their distance not only from one another but also from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, are obstacles to an ongoing familiarity with political developments or a basic knowledge of government institutions. It is perhaps not flattering to Australia and New Zealand sensibilities to note, furthermore, that ignorance about the politics of these two countries is not much less widespread than for other Pacific Island countries.

The book aims to redress this balance by providing the kind of information for the Pacific that is readily available for nations in other parts of the globe. This volume provides expert chapters examining the politics of each Pacific Island state and territory, discussing its historical background and colonial experience, its constitutional framework, political institutions, political parties, elections and electoral systems, and problems and prospects. The book is comprehensive, covering all regions - Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia - and all countries, irrespective of their size or political status. The states and territories range in size from Australia and Papua New Guinea on the one hand, to Tokelau, Rapa Nui? Easter Island, and Pitcairn on the other.

The region comprises 16 independent states, each a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum. These countries include: Australia and New Zealand; Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji - members, as well, of the Melanesian Spearhead Group; Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu; Niue, and the Cook Islands, self governing in free association with New Zealand; Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau (Belau), independent in free association with the United States; Kiribati and Nauru. French Territories are also include; French Polynesia (Tahiti), Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia. United States territories are also included American Samoa, Guam Northern Marianas and other smaller islands which include Pitcairn, Easter Island/Rapa Nui and Tokelau.

The Pacific remains an interesting region of the world moving away from that label of being a paradise with coconut threes and beautiful women swaying with their grass skirts to a region that has a part to contribute to the changing global environment. The process of globalization has made the world smaller and the Pacific is now an integral part of the globalised world.

It was the purpose and ambition of this book for there to be a chapter written about the politics and the institutions of government of each states and territories, and this has been achieved. The authors, individually and as a group, are well qualified to describe, discuss and analyse the government and politics of each of these countries. Each has had extensive experience with their subject matter, either personally or professionally.

Most of the authors are scholars, from a range of disciplines including political science, law, history, and anthropology. Not all of the authors are academics; the group includes diplomats, politicians, public servants (and part-time advisors) and a journalist. Some were born in the Pacific; others have lived or worked in the region, on particular islands, for considerable period.

The book would be an important text for students in undergraduate and graduate courses dealing with the Pacific region - its politics and international relations. The information on the politics and political institutions of the Pacific will also be useful to Pacific policy makers and to others with professional interests in the island states and territories of the Pacific.

The result of this book is an informative and useful set of analyses of Pacific political experience - political institutions, constitutional processes and electoral systems - providing a basis for evaluating the quality of governance, and the durability of commitments to constitutionalism and democratic values. There may once have been a singular Pacific way - or at least the ideal one.

As the chapters in this book demonstrate, however, the details of governance around the Pacific are perhaps now better described as Pacific ways, diverse approaches to the fundamental problems, common to all nations, of how a society is to be organized for the purposes of responsive, representative government.

Melanesian Brotherhood

Missionaries meet new challenges in re-evangelisation

PIVO is a two day walk from Kerema or an eight-hour dinghy ride up the Vailai and further up the Lohiki river.
Here in this isolated part of the Gulf province is situated an Anglican mission station.  There is no priest but the parish is served by four men who are doing so out of their love to serve God and other persons. By living and working there, they are living out their vow to own nothing of their own (poverty), remain unmarried for as long as they are there (chastity) and always obey their superior (obedience).

Obeying the superior therefore includes going anywhere in the country they are assigned - which is where they are in this very isolated part of the Gulf province.

At Moreguina, in the Abau District of Central Province, another group of such missionaries are at work.  There the parishioners are mainly mountain people of Milne Bay Province's Agaun area who have come to settle and work on the rubber plantations on the lower plains of the neighbouring Central Province.

These missionary men are members of the Melanesian Brotherhood, a ministry of the Anglican Church that was founded in 1926 in the Solomon Islands.
 (ABOVE: Brother Campbell Yakawa and Brother Matthias Onderi at the ATS Settlement house in Port Moresby.)

The founder is Ini Kopuria, a police sergeant in the Solomon Islands police force then.  In 1937 he traveled to the West New Britain Province of PNG with a view to establish a "household" there for a team of his brothers.  The church in the New Guinea Islands was then under the Church of Melanesia whose headquarters was in the Solomon Islands.

The diocese of Papua, pioneered by Englishmen Albert Maclaren and Copland King had its headquarters at Dogura, Milne Bay Province.  Dogura then was established under the Australian board of missions.
The Melanesian Brotherhood were to establish a ministry outpost at Kandrian in West New Britain but the Second World War forced the missionaries to abandon their plans and head back to the Solomon Islands.

In the forced retreat, the Catholic missionaries also stationed in the province at that time urged the lone Anglican priest there to accompany them to Vunapope in East New Britain.  The Anglican missionary refused and instead gave a chalice, stole and cassock to his friends telling them, "take these and keep them to remember me."  He remained and was martyred by the Japanese.  His grave at Vivilo, Kandrian is another sad reminder of that phase of missionary activity in the region and country.

Years later Bishop David Hand approached his counterparts in Solomon Islands to send brothers to NGI and then to Madang, Goroka, Siane Valley, Jimi and Simbai.

In a typical first encounter in a Highlands village, two of these Melanesian brothers were captured and tied and the chief was called to determine their fate. 

In a miraculous twist in events, the village chief told his people not to kill as the two men were there with good news.  Whatever that good news was, he was to know it only later on through the ministry of the two "captives."

The man who told this story, Brother Matthias Onderi, attributed the survival of the brothers to an intervention of God himself.

From that incident on the brotherhood was quite successful in converting hitherto heathens of parts of Eastern Highlands, Jimi in Western Highlands and the neighbouring Simbai area in Madang Province - at the behest of the last Archbishop Sir David Hand.

Today, the ministry of the Melanesian Brotherhood, has largely moved from one of converting heathens to one of urging people to return to the mother church.

According to Brother Matthias, "in this new millennium there are no longer any heathens to convert.  The brotherhood's ministry has shifted from evangelization to re-evangelisation."
Port Moresby diocese bishop Peter Ramsden agrees.  He said a lot of people have drifted away from their upbringing in Christian families.

For such people, the Anglican community has a specific petition to God that is recited during Mass:  "We pray for those who have lost you that they may find you again."

Asked if he would be just as happy if they "found Him again" outside the Anglican circles, he said because of their Anglican upbringing, it would be better if they returned to the mother church.

This is where the Melanesian Brotherhood comes in.  "MBH helps Anglicans come back to the church," Bishop Peter said.  Bishop Peter said many Christians have left the church through the growth of urban centres. There are many challenges to the church in the modern world of consumerism and secularism.   The growth in cities and modern lifestyles are challenging to Christian and Melanesian values, the bishop points out.

Basing on his experience of working as a priest in Jimi and Simbai, Bishop Peter said church provided schools and health centres were better run when the whole community cooperated through the agency of the one faith, be it Anglican, Catholic or whatever.  When later on other faith groups ventured into such areas, schools and aid posts began to suffer neglect and lack of care because of divisions or reduction in the number of willing hands to help maintain them.

Even social issues such as urban poverty and HIV/AIDS are great challenges the church need to face up to. 
The Melanesian Brothers are a self-sustaining ministry but there is also a group of laity known as companions who pledge to support them financially and materially.

Brother Matthias said in most places where there are households of brothers there is ample gardening land for them to work on for survival.  Their local chapels and their companions do provide regular support as well.  However, he noted with concern that support from companions has been on the decline, due to various reasons including perhaps the high cost of living for urban dwellers.

The Port Moresby diocese has a house of brothers at the ATS settlement, better known as the Oro Camp.  There are four brothers led by a senior.  One of them is young Cambell Yakawa who had recently completed a three year training for his work.

In an urban settlement area, the brothers' work involves visiting youths, families and encouraging people with special needs such as addicts and the destitute.

Brother Campbell has been assigned to the Aipo Rongo diocese and will be serving at Simbai, Madang Province.

The past few weeks most of the brothers were in conference at Popondetta.  When they return from there to their posts such as Pivo and Moreguina, young Campbell will travel to Simbai to start a new mission life away from his Milne Bay home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Man of God remembered on Moukele

HISTORY was retold of a great missionary who gave his time serving the United Church at Mabuduan village along the coast of the mainland of Western Province.

At an occasion to mark the placing of the headstone for the late Rev. Ilaila Pokana at Moukele (Fisherman Island) last weekend, guests who included his adopted clan members from the Umumere clan of Mabuduan village were on hand to witness and celebrate his good deeds.

Late retired Rev. Ilaila Pokana was born on 30th April, 1943 to Pokana Kila Verave (father) and Kila Kanama Pokana (mother) and was the eldest in a family of eleven.

The family was from the Poerupu clan of Hula but migrated to Daugo Island, commonly referred to as Moukele or Fisherman Island. ('Mou' means island and 'kele' means separate).

Retired Reverend Ilaila Pokana passed on to be with the good lord early last year on February 2.
At the time of his retirement from pastoral duties on January 7, 1995 the late Reverend Pokana had served the United Church with distinction for 33 years starting as a young pastor, then missionary and evangelist.
Ilaila Pokana took up the call to serve as a trainee pastor whilst working for the Government in the early 50s and 60s when the Methodist London Missionary Society (LMS) missionaries came to Papua (Southern Region).

His first posting was to Samarai, Milne Bay Province at the Five Bay Pastoral College accompanied by his young wife, Notau. It was in Samarai where his eldest son Puri was born in 1966. 

Then in1967, Ilaila took up studies to become a missionary at Rarongo Theological College in Rabaul, East New Britain Province. He and his wife were then officially married into the church. 

From Rabaul, the late reverend was posted to the Central Province to serve the Kadeboro Circuit of Rigo after the amalgamation and inauguration of the Methodist Church (LMS) to become the United Church of PNG and Solomon Islands at Rarongo in January, 1968.

Having spent two years in Central Province, Reverend Pokana and family were transferred to the Western Province in 1971 where he became the Daru Circuit minister.

It was in Daru that Reverend Pokana moved to the mainland at Mabuduan village to become their pastor and missionary serving the people and at the same time moving from village to village along the coast and inland of the mainland to spread the gospel.

At times he would be called to the nearby Torres Strait Islands of closets to the border of Western Province to conduct his pastoral duties as an evangelist while spreading the Good News.

Late Reverend Ilaila Pokana was adopted by the Umumere clan and was still regarded as a member until his death early last year on February 2.

It was at the late reverends headstone erection that his story was told as family members of the Poerupu clan gathered together to share food and pay homage to a great man of God.

The late Reverend is survived by his widow Notau and five children, Puri, Ole, Kila, Notau Jnr and Navu.
He was an active member of the Moukele community after his retirement and was very instrumental in establishing the Daugo Primary School now on the island where he also became the founding School Board Chairman.

The school currently is a top up school with classes from elementary to grade eight.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) harmful to our mothers


IN THIS article, I wish to draw your attention to another major sex related problem our sisters and mothers may encounter as a result of excessive and unprotected sexual behavior. 

I remember talking to you about cervical cancer and the relationship it has with the Human Papiloma Virus or HPV. Now I wish to expound on another medical problem exclusive to our beloved mothers and sisters. 

Well sex is good and is enjoyable as I've said time and time again.  But good things come with their foes.  Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) is very common in our country.  Each of the bacteria, protozoa, virus or parasite that is transmitted through sex has immense negative impacts on the lives of many families - especially husbands and wives in our country. One such problem that is common to the female population of this country is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID.

What is PID?
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a general term that refers to infections of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes (tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus) and other reproductive organs.  It is a common and serious complication caused by of some sexually transmitted infections, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea.

PID can damage the fallopian tubes and tissues in and near the uterus and ovaries. PID can lead to serious consequences, including infertility, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube or elsewhere outside of the womb), and obscess formation and chronic pelvic pain.
How common is PID?

PID is a very common problem all over the world.  More than 100,000 women become infertile each year due to causes of PID.  In the United States alone, it is estimated that 1 million women experience an episode of acute PID. 

There aren't enough documents and research done to show how urgent PID is in PNG.  But as you visit clinics, health centers and hospitals, clinicians will tell you that PID is a very serious and urgent health problem in the country.

"Mothers come every day to the clinic complaining of abdominal pains. I just give them pain killers, because I only have that (medicine) with me," Jenny Huambi at the Gangalu Health Centre in Mananda, Komo district told me once.

"I even don't know if this are causes of STI or any other infections," this community health worker, who has been working in this clinic for the past 13 years said.

To shed some light into this particular disease, I wish to explore more to give confidence to our sisters and mothers who can easily access clinical services to serve their life from intimidations, confusion and motherhood.
How do women get PID?

PID occurs when bacteria move upward from a woman's vagina or cervix (opening to the uterus) into her reproductive organs.  Many different organisms can cause PID, but many cases are associated with gonorrhea and chlamydia, the two very common bacterial STIs.

Sexually active women in their child bearing years are most at risks, and those under age 25 are more likely to develop PID than those older than 25.  This is partly because the cervix of teenage girls and young women are not fully matured, increasing their susceptibility to the STIs that are linked to PID.

The more sex partners a woman has, the greater her risks of developing PID.  Also a woman whose partner has more than one partner is at greater risk of developing PID, because of potential to exposure to more infectious agents. 

Women who douche may have a higher risk of developing PID compared with women who do not douche.  Research has shown that douching changes vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) in harmful ways and force bacteria into the upper reproductive organs from the vagina.
Some signs and symptoms
Symptoms of PID vary from none to severe.  When PID is caused by chlamydial infections, a woman may experience mild symptoms or no symptom at all, while serious complications/damages is being done to her reproductive organs.  Because of vague symptoms, PID goes unrecognized by woman and their health care providers about two thirds of the time.  Women who have symptoms of PID mostly common have lower abdominal pain.  Other signs and symptoms include fever, unusual virginal discharge that may have a four smell/odor, painful intercourse, painful urination, irregular menstrual bleeding and pain in the right upper abdomen (rare).
PID is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are often subtle and mild.  Many episodes of PID go undetected because the women or her health care provider fails to recognize the implications of mild or non specific symptoms.  Because there are no precise tests for PID, a diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings.

Therefore, this means that every woman or girl under the age of 25 should report or tell her health care provider of anything unusual that she detects about her personal experiences and life - especially anything to do with her sex life.  It is very important that young girls should prevent themselves from the gonorrhea or chlamydia diseases.  These two STIs cause PID.  It is very important that girls and mothers who have unprotected sex, sex without a condom should see their doctors or health care providers to get medications that will demise the PID development. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia destroys the reproductive organs that can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain.

Husbands who are not faithful to their wives or girlfriends and have multiple sexual partners should check themselves for STIs and get treatments before they should have sex with their wives or girlfriends.  This is being responsible and caring.

Remember readers, sex is beautiful so enjoy it with your hubby. God made it sacred and enjoyable for two people (a husband and wife) to enjoy the ultimate gift of marriage.

It would be sinister to plunder around, contract a virus from someone and download it onto an innocent person allowing her/him to suffer unknowingly. This is really unethical, inhuman and unchristian.

Again remember, all STIs except HIV have medication.  Go quickly to the health centre, ask the nurses and get treatments. 


No mountains too high

Aussie Garry Joske walks Kokoda Track to bury the pain of a departed wife

LAST year alone, two Australians lost their lives whilst walking the famous yet treacherous Kokoda Track.  Several others died whilst trying to access the track by air and walk into Port Moresby.

Thousands of others make it through each year. Some have walked this arduous track once. Given its rough and rugged terrains, very few of them walk this track twice.

Whilst some walk this track to re-live the memories of hardships Australian 'chocolate soldiers' have endured during the Second World War, others walk for fund raising activities for different causes back in Australia whilst others walk to earn fame. The latest to walk for fame is an Australian paralympian.
But there is one Australian who stands out from the rest.

Please meet, Garry Joske. From Gold Coast in Australia, Garry has walked this treacherous journey from Kokoda into Port Moresby not once, not twice, but five times! He has climbed the highest peaks of Isurava and Efogi, crawled across fast flowing rivers over trees that were partly washed by rivers, walked the muddy tracks in torrential rain, or simply camped in an open fire in the dark starlit nights while forest insects sang choruses and lullabies as he slept. 

 (Right-Garry and friends on the Kokoda track

Whatever the encounters may be, Garry enjoys it all with every step he takes either up the muddy and slippery track or across the fast flowing rivers.

And along the way, he has taken a good collection of pictures of the flora and fauna of Kokoda track, its panoramic views and simply the people and places across the track which once saw the bloodiest conflicts in theatres of war.

He has done it alone with a handful of nationals on two occasions. When word spread through his network in Australia that Garry was coming back for another walk, several people joined him. And from Port Moresby, they flew into Girua airport in Popodetta and via a truck into Kokoda where they begin their excruciating walk across this famous track.

"I have made a collection of all the stick I used when walking along the Kokoda Track. Every time I come and walk the track, I go home with a stick," Garry said once.

These sticks are his self awarded trophies for his bravery along one of the world's most hazardous tracks. He has already five and there is still room for more if this Gold Coast adventurer is keen on taking on the peaks of Isurava and Efogi again.

"I walk because I have been very hurt. Walking this challenging track takes away the pain in my heart," Garry told this writer after his last trip in 2004. Garry was heart broken after his wife for many years divorced him and opted for the man many EMTV viewers in the late 1990s will know only as The Man from the Snowy River. Garry has gone down on bended knees and begged his wife to return but she didn't, forcing Garry to take the challenges of the excruciating Kokoda Track.  And when he walks, every step he takes, and every breath he inhales, Garry misses his wife so much.  He made no secret when he wept openly after his last trip recalling those merry moments they both shared prior to her departure along the track.

So this was his reason for taking on Kokoda Track a record five times. Has anybody beaten that record yet? Over to your TPA.

Many thanks to Jessie Lapou, formerly Post Courier reporter for filling in the gaps. And congratulations to Garry for becoming a grandfather. Now memories of Kokoda will live on.

Reaching the highest bars

A MOTHER of nine children, a diploma in nursing, post graduate qualification in nursing and mid-wifery and a law degree without a blemish qualifying her to be admitted to the bar this week. 

How does that sound? Pause for a moment and take it in - how Margaret Asinumbu Kimala juggled motherhood and a diploma in nursing, a post graduate qualification in nursing and midwifery and within a span of less than nine years, a Bachelor of Law admitted to the bar to practice law in national and supreme courts of PNG.

Thanks a thousand times to her loving husband, Joe Asinumbu, a graduate Civil Engineer with the National Department of Works. Unlike many men in PNG who do not back their wives to reach new heights in their career, Joe Asinumbu is of a new breed of a man.  He had every confidence in his wife's abilities to succeed in whatever field and backed her all the way through to attain double degrees in two different professions.

After 15 years of service to the health department, Margaret's husband encouraged her to go back to school to upgrade her qualifications. With his backing, Margaret has not looked back since then. In 1997, she completed her studies in mid-wifery at the College of Allied Health Sciences at the UPNG's school of nursing. She again went back for studies in nursing education and graduated with a diploma in 2001. Four years later, she walked down the podium of UPNG's School of Medicine with a Bachelor in nursing and this week, a Bachelor in Law.

"When I saw my wife doing well in her studies, I knew she could do even better. She has shown a lot of potential in excelling," said her supportive husband of many years.
Potential identified, Joe made sure his wife is free of all motherly responsibilities. He took a few of his relatives including his own mother to take care of all the household chores whilst his wife concentrates on her education.

"Through my husband's undying support, I made it through.  And I really thank him for that," said Margaret with a smile.

When lovers take Valentine's Day off to tell each other how much love they share between them, well for Joe and Margaret, there is no need to speak.  Actions speak louder than words. Both of them have spoken volumes by their actions more than words - Joe gave the opportunity for his wife to attain the much envied and sought after profession in life and for Margaret? Well she gave nine beautiful children to the man of her life. Their eldest son is 18 years old now studying at UPNG whilst the youngest is 2 years old.

Margaret has been working towards a cause. During her years as a nursing officers and health educator, she has come to see unnecessary loss of lives as a result of professional negligence by medical practitioners.  And she will be out to ensure the standard of medical practice is lifted.

"Being a nurse and a lawyer at the same time, now I know what should really be done to avoid professional negligence.

"I am now in a better position to advise and advocate on issues of professional negligence of my colleagues in the  medical profession," Margaret said.

Margaret hails from Teremanda Village, in Wabag, Enga Province. She is married to a loving Western Highlander part Sepik.

She was described by the Director of the legal training institute at the admission that Margaret "was one of the senior woman at the Institute.  She has shown a lot of maturity and perseverance."