Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saved by the Enemy

Saved by the Enemy

Gazing into the empty space beyond the sky, as the sun was creeping at a snail's pace down to meet his waiting friend the horizon, the lone figure stood. Looking back to his village not far from where he was sitting, he could see figures moving from one corner of the village to the other side. Children were crying and women were shouting with trembling voices for their children. The sun had sunk into the horizon, so the place was getting dark and a feeling of fear enveloped the whole village. The place was so silent at this hour when darkness covers the village.
Descending slowly towards the village he could hear someone talking in stifled whispers to each other. He moved slowly and quietly, making sure not to disturb anything in his path so that he could hear what they were discussing. Few metres away from him, he could see a group of men. They were standing around listening to the chief from the village. They were discussing about what was going to happen and how they will face it the next morning. The tone of their voices was rough and hoarse as if a cat was trying to fight with a dog.
He recalled an incident that had happened during the past few weeks. Some young men from the village went to a near by village and stole a pig and some food from a garden. The owner of the pig and some young men from that village came to the village to resolve the problem and to claim some form of compensation. They could not, however, arrive at a consensus because the young men from both villages were shouting and exchanging heated words at each other igniting some tension between the two villages. The chief dismissed the case. The men from the other village went away angrily. “We will come back with force next time and there will be no mercy,” shouted the angry men.
“Kama, where have you been and what are you doing here?” a soft and deep familiar voice came from behind him. Kama turned around to see who was talking to face tho owner of the voice. It was his father. “Your mother is looking for you every where, go to your mother right now and do not stand around here, you are too small to walk around at this time of the night”, said his father. “What’s happening?” he implored his father with curiosity. “The neighbouring village is going to make war with us; we do not know they might attack our village during the night or early next morning. Go to the house and stay with your mother and do not come out,” said his father.
He walked slowly to the house, pushed the door open and walked inside. His mother barked at him angrily like a mad dog, “You little nut, I was looking for you every where, come inside sit down, eat your food and go to bed early.” With palpitated voice he said to his mother, “I don’t want to eat and I don’t want to sleep.” “Why?” insisted his mother. “I am so scared of this fighting thing” said Kama. “It’s okay son just eat a piece of yam and go to bed,” comforted his mother.
Kama went to bed but he could not sleep at al. He was troubled with thoughts on war fare and his eyes could hardly shut. He had a sleepless night wondering what is going to happen in any minute from now.
There was a loud noise and people were screaming and shouting from every sides and corners of the village. Women were running here and there calling for their children while the children were crying and looking for their parents. All the animals scurried in all direction for safety. Black smokes and flames were belching out from the houses like a volcanic eruption. The place was blanketed with thick smoke diminishing visibility. Many villagers had difficulty finding their way out but they managed to make it out with some help from others.
Kama stood outside his house disoriented not knowing what to do. His parents forget all about him because the enemy tribes had already over taken their village. As he stood there, he saw a man who was tall and strong with big beard running towards him. Kama was too scared to stand and watch this man. He turned in the opposite direction and tried to run for his life but it was too late. The man grabbed him roughly and dragged him away. Kama cried out for help but there was no one to come to his assistance in response to his cry. He was taken to the enemy tribe whose looks were furious and strong.
The fight was fiercely fought and three of Kama’s tribes’ men were killed by the enemy tribe. All the things were destroyed and the place look deserted, as though there were no plants, houses, animals and human beings there before. Every plants and houses were brought down. Nothing could stand against the enemy.
When the sun was high up in the sky the fight began to slow down, the warriors retreat to their side to rest from the battle. Kama’s tribe ran to the mountains for their safety. They sat there looking down to their village and saw the smoke rising from the burning houses. It made all of them worried. It was as if all the trees, banana plants, sugar cane and other plants were waving goodbye to them. Tears dropped down freely from their eyes like rain drops with no winds, lightning and thunder storms.
Meanwhile, at the burning village, Kama stood with his two hands tied behind his back. Looking upward towards the mountains where his people were standing, he could feel the pain his people were feeling at the moment. He stood there with tears rushing down his cheek. Kama was moved at the sight of his people but he was too small to do something to help them. He knew that he was a death person without a future. His enemy could do anything to him weather they will kill him or spare his life.
“We have lost our son,” said his father in a trembling voice. He recalled all the words that his son said the night before this terrible event. He could not control his emotions so he cried bitterly. The mother puts both hands on her head and weeps bitterly while looking down to the village which was once her home till she runs out of tears. She stood there watching the enemy gathering around one place.
The man who caught Kama pulls him and stands him in front of all the men. Kama suddenly realises that he is going to die right now. His eyes fill with tears. When he looks into the faces of the men he could not see mercy but only hatred. “Let’s kill him and leave his body here so that his family can come and take his body away,” said the men. Some men agreed and others disagree with the idea. They argued amongst themselves whether to kill him or spare his life. “Its okay, stop arguing amongst you!” said the war leader. “I have made my mind that we will save his life.” At that moment Kama’s heart began to settle down to its normal beat and position. “Who’s going to look after him?” said one of them. The war leader thought for awhile and said “My clan will look after him and he will be one of us when he grows up to be a man.”
So they took Kama to their village so that he will never see his family again. He will live with his enemy tribe for the rest of his life and will be one of them in the future.
- By William Tabike

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Independence Celebrations at Pacific Adventist University

The Pacific Adventist University community celebrated the 33rd Independence Anniversary in style. Many cultural groups representing different parts of Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands region also participated in this day long celebration.

It started off with moving and challenging speeches from the three key speakers. When presenting his speech, the outgoing president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission Students Association, Mr. Jethro Kasse reflected on the struggles and hardship the nation has come through since independence and posed some challenging questions to today’s generation. Another notable speech came from the dean of business at PAU, Mr. Ben Thomas. He challenged the student body and those already in the work force to think twice before making a move to seek employment opportunities overseas. He emphasized that our country desperately needs graduates to fill the different capacities of workforce across the nation to move it forward. Many listeners agreed to his challenges.

Many different cultural dance groups representing the diverse cultural groups around the country participated in this celebration. Participants who participated from the pacific region include Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati/Tuvalu, Samoa, and Fiji including a lone Aussie.

Many commended the student leaders of Papua New Guinea Union Mission for this celebration. The last time such celebration to commemorate the country’s birth was in 2003.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How the influence of Missionaries and Administrators strongly influenced the different developments in Papua New Guinea

The different developments in Papua New Guinea (PNG) came about as a result of the manipulation of various social, cultural and political forces. However, to be more precise, missionaries and administrators were very influential in the various infrastructural developments and service delivery to the myriad PNG populace. The work of these groups of people complemented each other. Missionaries got clearance from government officials to establish mission stations and in turn government officials came through mission established networks to implement their plans. This paper briefly discusses the ways in which the administrators and missionaries continue to contribute in influencing the various developments in PNG. The author takes the liberty to shift through the different time frames of PNG to collate valid evidences that illustrates how these administrators and missionaries were influential in developing a nation that is culturally diverse, naturally rich with wildlife and a home to a booming population.
Prior to Independence Papuans and New Guineans lived in isolation to each other. The freedom of travel was hampered by rugged mountains, swampy lakes, thick rainforests and internal insecurity. Generally people lived in small knitted communities and protected themselves their enemies. Tribal warfare was rampant because, via fighting, various societies displayed their sovereignty and dominated other cultures. It was in such a background that early missionaries and administrators had to come to enhance community relationships and oversee a development of a society that upholds law, order and respect for human dignity. The article ‘Culture of PNG’ (2008, 16th September) clarifies that, “missionaries and administrators suppressed tribal warfare to allow freedom of movement and integrated villages into the colonial economy as plantation workers and mission helpers. Missionary activities also led to the spread of Christianity and Western education; the building of roads, airstrips, and radio stations; and the shared experience of racial prejudice directed at local peoples by many whites.” In addition, early Australian administrators also established government stations and organised police patrols to demonstrate the power and influence of colonial governments to the illiterate and culturally dogmatic populace. Dr Gabriel Kulwaum (2008, 16th 2008) explains that:
Between 1919 and 1921, Australia retained the administrative system that had been established by the German administration before the War. That is, it maintained a system that involved the appointment in every village of a luluai and a tultul, ensuring the maintenance of colonial control over the villagers. However, the Australians went further and appointed Patrol Officers known as Kiaps, all of whom were Australians, with the responsibility of overseeing the system. The luluais and tultuls received their orders from the Kiaps…The Kiaps played a powerful role: as administrators, as police officers and as magistrates rolled into one position. ... In each District the work of the Kiaps was co-ordinated by Commissioners who were in turn accountable to the colonial Administrator in Port Moresby. This was a hierarchical system designed to maintain a tight control over indigenous institutions.

In this manner the colonial administration was able to develop a system in which the Post – Independent government could serve the needs of its people in a more organised and standardised manner. Currently the government is structured in such a way that the chief of state, Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, is represented by the Governor General. The head of the government is usually the Prime Minister, which in this case is Sir Michael Somare. The populace are represented by 109 members of parliament who are elected by a popular vote to serve a 5 year term (Election Guide: 2008, 18th September). However, the current PNG government is facing a lot of challenges in terms of infrastructural development and delivery of basic goods and services to its populace. For example; there are communities without efficient water supply, rural electrification privileges, good road links, fully functional health centres and community schools. The rural population rarely have access to basic goods like soap, salt and cooking oil. The divide between the privileged and the underprivileged has widened. The rural population, dressed in rags, continue to live each day with unimaginable toil and agony. Unemployment is growing as HIV/AIDS silently annihilate generations and threaten Papua New Guinea’s workforce. Illiteracy is still high. Today’s administrators in Papua New Guinea are faced with a new challenge – the challenge to bring tangible development to the majority of the rural Papua New Guinea population.

Furthermore it is vital to re-emphasise the fact that, although PNG attained Independence in 1975, societies continue to live in their own isolated environments due to Papua New Guinea’s undesirable geographical status. Nevertheless, irrespective of the challenge posed by nature, missionaries, motivated by their love for God, penetrated thick jungles, crossed many crocodile infested rivers and lakes, sailed into isolated island areas and ventured into untouched lands to make contact with the rural people. Schools and aid posts were established and missionaries cleared jungles to link some isolated villages to local district centres. Professor John Waiko (2007: 44 - 45) states, “German colonial authority encouraged the establishment and expansion of German- based missions. Apart from religious instruction the missions taught basic numeracy and German language skills. Most missionaries taught in the language of the people, and recruited indigenous people as teachers. Some missions also provided basic health services.” World War 2 destabilised the establishment of the missions work in Papua and New Guinea. Most missionaries returned to their homes abandoning the new mission stations. After the war was over the mission work continued. This time the mission influence grew noticeably. John (2007:100) summarises the work of the mission in the following words:
After the war the missions which were established in the colonial times were re-established. Expatriate missionaries returned or were replaced and the mission stations resumed their work of providing health, welfare and education services, encouraging self help economic and social projects, and saving souls. Many societies, particularly in the rural areas, continued to depend upon the missions for health and education. The missions also contributed in establishing plantations, small businesses such as village cooperatives and building roads and community centres.

There is ample evidence that suggests that the government of PNG, through its network of various administrators, has failed to deliver to the people of Papua New Guinea. According to a viewpoint article (2008, 18th 2008) someone stated that, “Two weeks ago, his grandmother was carried on a stretcher for six hours through rugged terrain to the nearest hospital in East Sepik. There were no drugs after she was diagnosed with liver/kidney problems so she was sent to Boram Hospital in Wewak for more medication. The irony of it was while his family was in mourning; the people of East Sepik were celebrating Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare’s 40 years in politics. What is Independence when people in the remote areas of Papua New Guinea have remained far away from basic infrastructure like roads and basic health services and have been that way untouched since their forefathers?”
It seems that where the government has failed to minister to the needs of populace the Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) and churches has stepped up their efforts to help the unfortunate and underprivileged. Missions continue to demonstrate their love for God by establishing and operating clinics, community schools, secondary schools and universities. In fact, two of the most competitive Universities in Papua New Guinea, Divine Word University and Pacific Adventist University, are owned and operated by the missions. These Christian institutions continue to nurture and cultivate young people in the area of intellectual development by providing them with skills and instilling in them a value system that upholds justice, integrity and honesty.
Today Missionaries and Administrators continue to influence the various stages of developments in Papua New Guinea. Their influence can be positive or negative, depending on the status of the development. Only time will tell the extent of their influences in Papua New Guinea’s different developmental stages. Up until now, they will continue to be a vital force in bringing PNG from a state of resource-rich-poor nation to a new state of resource-rich-respectful nation. It all depends on their actions.

Culture of PNG (2008, 16th September)

Election Guide (2008, 18th September)

John D Waiko (2007) “A Short History of Papua New Guinea.”
Oxford University Press.

PNG Buai (2008, 17th September) Chapter 2: Colonialism and Development:
In "Problems of Devolution of PNG Education" -by - Dr Gabriel Kulwaum, Adminstrator, Manus Province, PNG.

Post Courier (2008, 18th September) ‘The irony of Somare.’

by Jethro Kasse, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Yes at last it has returned again. Semester two has just begun and the usual pressure and hype of assisting students with their assignment queries and finding time to attend to work has returned.

At times, I feel that I am not doing much for the cause I am here for, managing my section and ensuring that everything that is here is in correct order and that it is accessible to the clienteles. I am always bombarded with queries, request, etc from clienteles daily and I sometimes feel that I am not attending to most of the professional responsibilities that is normally required of me but that it just part of my duty.

It is challenging and fulfilling to work in such an institution where service is the ultimate priority. A service when given is two fold. While serving a particular student clientele I am not serving him alone but am contributing in shaping him for the mission field and the many returns. Only God knows the outcome.
In a small way I get satisfaction from the knowledge that I am contributing to " Educate To Serve" here at PAU.