By Frank Makanuey
A long time ago when I was going to school at Badihagwa High School in Hanuabada.I used to catch the bus from Hohola where we lived. In those days NCDC had a bus service and Bus Depot was located at the end Hanuabada village close to the School.
One morning I was a little bit late. When I came out of my house the bus was already at the bus stop. I ran as fast as I could to catch it. My father had given me 10 toea for bus fare and I had it in my shirt pocket but when I ran to catch the bus I did not realize that it had fallen out. When I got on the bus imagine my horror and embarrassment to discover that the 10toea had fallen out of my pocket. I bowed my head almost in shame because I was the last person to get on and everyone in the bus were all seated and looking at me.
Anyway this kind lady got off in town and the driver gave her the change. She came around to the window where I was sitting gave me 50toea. I tried to say thank you but at that instance the bus took off.
That day I had a decent lunch. A meat pie coast 10 toea and a bottle of coke was also 10 toea too.
I never really got around to say thank you to the lady. She only got in the bus that day because her fathers truck broke down. Anyway when the truck was fixed she never got on the bus again.
About 7 months ago when I was in ICU in the hospital and in Ward 8 I saw her again after so many years. She was a cancer patient. I recognize her despite the way she looked because of the illness. I thought about her random act of kindness all those years ago and I really felt I needed to say thank you.
I asked my son to go to the ATM to get some money. I put the money in the envelope. When she was alone without a guardian I walked over in my crutches and said hello. I asked her if she remembered me. She could not remember me. I recounted the bus fare story and told her where she lived in Hohola.
After that she remembered. We talked for a bit despite the obvious pain in her face from the cancer. The nurse came around gave her a shot of morphine to ease the pain. I gave her the envelope and said thank you. I told her I never forgot what she did to me.
A week later she died. I was relieved I said thank you even in such an awkward place and circumstances.
My father was struggling to make ends meet. With a salary of K35.00 for being the Mess Supervisor at Gordons Police Barracks. Ten toea was only what he could afford to give me for bus fare to school. I never had sny lunch money.
So when the lady paid my bus fare and then gave me 50 toea. I felt good. I had money in my pocket and I felt rich.
By Grace Waide
Today marks a very special day for me.
Today on a Wednesday 27 years ago at exactly 1:30pm at the Goroka Base Hospital, my daddy died of cancer.
As I moved around yesterday, I passed many places where we walked together.
In my mind’s eye I could see my 11-year-old self walking hand in hand with him under the Klinki pine trees, not a care in the world just simple faith that life is great.
I drove past the Westpac Bank and I recalled his last withdrawal slip that he signed, his signature barely recognizable. I recall my big brother, Elijah, barely 13 trying his best to explain to the teller why his dad could not sign well. It must have been scary for him. I recall Claribel, our eldest traveling from Balob Teacher’s College in Lae for Easter and arriving an hour late to see daddy.
I recall mom trying her best to keep us all together. When you live in a different province, all your coastal friends are family.
I went past the Hospital and memories flooded in. I tried to keep myself from crying. Memories are both a gift and a curse.
So what? He died and went away. To the world, he was just another simple teacher. One who would not make headlines. But for me, he was my world.He was the man that God blessed me with. He was the man who shaped my life, even at a very young age, he instilled discipline and spoke to me and my siblings about doing the right thing, even if no one else is doing it. He spoke about servanthood and placing others ahead of self. These things, I have carried with me into adulthood. He was a very generous man who would give even his last good short to a villager who may have come to visit us. He would give away our last rice packet in exchange for kaukau from a villager. So we would be stuck with kaukau while the villager would celebrate rice with his family.
Rice was such a luxury item if you lived in Okapa or Gotomi or Tarabo, Kemeyu, Andadara. He would walk for hours to take whatever medicine to treat a member of the community in which we lived much to mom’s frustration and anxiety. I recall him pulling out arrows and spears and binding up the wounded from both sides of warring tribes in Andadara, in the outbacks of Obura Wonenara. We were caught in the middle of tribal conflict and the tribes chose the school field as their fighting zone. Of course we were caught in the middle. All day we would lie low in our house listening to arrows zooming past out house or getting embedded in the kunai roof or pitpit blinds of the house. In the evenings, dad would be summoned to go and attend to the injured. An understanding was reached that dad could treat both sides of the warring tribes but he was not to tell the other about the number of dead or injured. As dangerous as it was, I would sneak out to go and watch him do his “bush surgery” on the wounded. Some were beyond help. Here was a Teacher who assumed the role of Aid Post Orderly. I recall him getting us to help him to cut bamboos from high up in the mountains and help him to lay them and use these to pull water from way up in the hills to the school so that the children and school could have running water and of course mom would have water right next door to the house. It was hard work. But he would work at it until it was done.
Sometimes, being young, I would roll over in grass on the mountains and sleep while he worked. He taught me that fixing a pipe or roof or chopping wood was not a ” man’s” job. If I can do it, so can you is how he would say it.
“When you grow up and get married, you must know how to fix your own house. Don’t wait for a man to fix your plumbing.”
Oh and he loved to sing and whistle while he worked. I smile sometimes when I find myself doing the same. Even at an early age he thought us to pray. He would make us sit down in the evenings and mornings for prayers. Here was a man who was offered a job to be an executive in a company and to go overseas to work. He turned it down to be a teacher. Mom could not understand why he chose to go back to the classroom instead to taking up the offer to go and work overseas and offer us a better standard of life.
Looking back, I realize that it was his love for what he did and his passion for teaching that kept him doing what he did up until he passed on.
I learned a valuable lesson from this. It is not the money and high life that defines a person. It is what you are passionate about and content with.
My dad was content with being a teacher and passionate about being a humble servant to the people of Eastern Highlands and Morobe.
TO A GREAT MAN WHO IS MY DAD. REST TILL THE TRUMPET SOUNDS. LOVE YOU DAVID PAUL WAIDE. On this day, God has brought me back to the place you loved so much and a PEOPLE you served with your heart and your life.
For now, I look over the hills of Eastern Highlands on this cold misty morning and offer a teary prayer for a man I called Daddy.
I’ve said it before but I say it again.
Black brothers, to me remains, one of the best groups that have come from across the border. The band was popular in the 70s and 80s with a resurgence by former members in the 90s. The band consisted of five members led by Andy Ayamiseba. Their music, sung in Tok Pisin, included influences from reggae and political elements inspired by the Black Power movement. The group went into voluntary exile in Vanuata in 1979, protesting Indonesian policies in West Papua. They later moved to Papua New Guinea.”
There are many songs that stand out but “Hari Kiamat” is a masterpiece. It starts of with a blend of brass instruments played by REAL MUSICIANS. How the drummer rolls the snare and hits the cymbals very subtly before the chord changes is an exceptional work of art in itself. It’s almost invisible to the brain yet it is there. The bass guitarist is in a class of his own as he lays the important notes on the drum beats yet finds the space to fill in with his instrument.
The vocals… well, you have to listen to it yourself.
In a drunken stupor he fled into the bush.
He didn’t know where he was going. He wanted to get away from the place where the boy lay. He could still see him in his mind’s eye. Squirming and begging until his life faded from his small body.
There was blood still on his hands. He wiped it on his torn wet shorts. The blood was gone by its spirit was still there. He could feel it. It was as if the boy child had become powerful. Far more powerful than his murderous self.
He felt hunted even though there was nobody following him. He ran and ran along the banks of the river.
He felt nothing as the stiff, serrated pandanus leaves cut into his face. His feet were numb to the pain and the blisters he saw as he slowed.
The past three hours played over and over in his head. The screams and the begging.
Oh…He felt so powerful then.
But now his fear had become his hunter. He was the prey. His uncertainty of mind now like a plague of darkness growing upon him. Engulfing his being. Make it stop! His mind yelled.
He was no longer alone. The boy was with him. Right there. He could feel his rage and sorrow.
The boy child was crying out to his mother and father. He was calling out to his brothers and uncles. He was calling out to his tribe and his very roots for he was not alone even in death.
The killer, tormented, as the alcoholic stupor wore off. He was wading through a haze of screeching thoughts and the sound of his own heart pounding relentlessly in his ears.
For three hours, he was there with the boy. Torturing him. Teasing him and laughing at his tormented soul. Until finally, he put a woolen sweater over his face and smothered him with his elbow.
As the child kicked and screamed, he ended the episode with one final stab into the boy’s gut. The skin giving a dull sound as the long blade was plunged deep into his side.
Then the boy felt nothing anymore.
He wandered along the track upon which he had been dragged hours before. No pain. He could breath again.
“Mama!” He called out. “Mamaaaaaa!” he called out again as his voice echoed into the stillness of the afternoon light.
Far away, the boy’s mother felt his spirit call as she pulled out his small plate to prepare his supper.
She called out to his sister: “Susan! Go and find your brother. He has been at the river for too long. It’s getting dark.”
The killer’s being carried the stench of death. He hid behind a shed exhausted yet unable to slip into the slumber his body needed. He did a lot in his 20 years. A lot. His long suffering father lost the will to stop him anymore. He was all alone. This was his will. His doing.
As he faded into a deep sleep. He wished to sleep forever but he couldn’t. He wished the intoxication would last for a while longer so he could forget a just a while longer. It was just a matter of time before they found him here. He did not know if they would kill him too. He didn’t know. Somehow he too wanted his torment to end too.
“You need a revolution, son!” the mentor said as he turned to pour some tea into a short glass.
“You need chaos,” he added with a wave of his hand just before sipping his tea. His tall frame stood slightly stooped silhouetted against the afternoon sun flickering in a trance-like dance on the water.
“Crooks thrive where order suits their purposes. You need to take that away from them. You need to take away their means to hold on to power. Turn the tables on them! The people need to understand to need for chaos.”
It was the first time he spoke in that manner. Maybe he was angry at the state of affairs. I don’t know.
I looked into the mirror once more to see what body I had come to occupy this time. It all began five years ago, when I slipped into a coma after that car crash. The mirror in my room had become a portal into a world much like my own except it was leaning dangerously, as I had come to gather, towards a crisis of some sort. Each time, I arrived through the mirror, I would come to occupy…possess… the body of one of the residents of this alternative world.
This time it was of a boy about my age sitting at a table with an older man rambling on about the political and economic state of the country. I guessed I was the student and he was the mentor.
“Tell me Januarius…”
That was my name. I just found out.
“Is this what your father fought for 50 years ago? Is this what your mother and brothers died for? For another dictator to take over?” He said taking another sip from his cup. He looked at the sugarless amber liquid and swirled it.
“I…I thought this was a democracy,” I said feebly for the first time getting used to my voice.
“Democracy?!…Where have you been, boy?” He looked at me almost dumbfounded. “Atlantis destroyed itself just as we are destroying ourselves.”
Atlantis? This was confusing.
I remained as calm as possible looking at the mirror just waiting for an opportunity to reach back into the comfort of my room in my “real world.”
“We have come to a point where the people have stopped thinking for themselves. They’ve become nothing but drones in a hive. Believing everything they are told. Unthinking. Not even daring to reason. They are too afraid of thinking outside the confines of what they are told to believe,” the mentor rambled on.
“And people like me… My words are treasonous. They say I poison the minds of the youth with words of rebellion and political dissent. They say I should not mislead the masses and the simple folk.”
“You know they suffer, Januarius!” he looked at me imploringly. Their tongues have been cut out. Their words are drowned by the political rhetoric that has become part of their language. Their children believe what they are being told.”
“Gone are the days of the revolutionaries! We thought we did it right. We got rid of one and another arises just as I am near my deathbed. “
“Where are the young? They’ve become nothing but timid sheep who say what is politically correct. Their fathers turn in the graves. Ashamed of what their sons have become.”
I was slowly understanding all of it. Maybe in my own world, I was blinded too by the many facades. What was I? I mean… What was I in my real version? Maybe I was one of the many caught up in the comforts of a world made comfortable by an earlier generation.
Were we a generation drugged and controlled by fear? I didn’t know.
“You know, Januarius,” said the mentor once again drawing my attention to his words and breaking my thoughts. “You’re a traveler. You don’t have to live with this. You come and go as you please.”
For the first time he was acknowledging the fact that he knew who I was and how I came to be.
“We, on the other hand, have to live with the world we are in. We have to find our own solutions without help from the outside. Our methods may not be like yours and may not be acceptable but it has to be our own.
I sat up and looked into the mirror once more.
“I should get going now, sir,” I said as I got up.
He turned to me and looked above the glasses that had slipped down the bridge of his nose.
“Be wary, son…,” He said as if he knew more than he was telling me. “I’m glad you dropped by. Don’t let them enslave your mind.”
As I reached into the mirror, I felt the familiar electrical buzz on the surface of my skin. Then blackness.
“David! David!” The voice called again and then a rude shove and a small finger poked my cheek twice.
“Mum says you have to wake up for school!”
Almah. My baby sister. My personal pain in the neck.
During a pregnancy, it is vital for the father of that future young man to stay spiritually and mentally connected to his woman and son. A pregnancy is not just a physical state. It is also a spiritual state in which a soul has been placed as a gift to a man and woman with the trust that they will care for it and raise it AS THEIR OWN.
Unfortunately, I have to end it here. For those seeking advice for children beyond their teens, please call someone older. I have not yet gone beyond this point.