Home overrun by the nephews and poor aunt gets appointed ‘Band Manager’ | By Stephanie Waide

Picture by Izabell Druma

A few months back, my nephew Richard, requested for a meeting with me on a Friday afternoon, after work. My brief moment of hopeful peace and the splendid weekend high was paused, as I arrived home. I wondered what was so pressing that this meeting could not wait until Saturday or Sunday.

The agenda, was to seek permission to use the yard to do band practice. The Band had only 3 weeks, and that they would be taking part in the Battle of the Bands PNG 2018. They needed a place to store the equipment and instruments, they needed a yard to practice, and they needed assistance with logistics and transport. A short list of many needs for the Band; A Band which I had no idea, had existed until that day.

Richard explained that they had small gigs and were engaged for event set ups occasionally, but they wanted a stage to prove that they were good, so they registered for the Battle of the Bands PNGaudition, a couple of weeks earlier and performed with an acoustic guitar and a keyboard, under the name Tronix. That was my fair introduction to referenced band.

While I acknowledged their love for making music, their excitement, commitment and the richness of the pool of self-taught talented musicians, I was not too keen on letting them make ‘noise’ in the yard. After giving my list of conditions, I reluctantly agreed, as I knew they didn’t have any other place to practice.

My reluctant agreement, promoted me to be appointed Band Manager, well part band manager, as the responsibilities are shared with Richard’s mother.

A classy title, handed to someone with no experience at all, not even a basic job description of roles and responsibilities.

Well needless to say, Tronix Band used the yard to practice for the remaining weeks in the lead up to their first performance at the Battle of the Bands. Tronix is made up of a group of school friends, who identified with each other for their love of making music. Over time, each member built on their strengths in improving their skills in playing an instrument.

Richard used to do the drums, but now takes lead on vocals, Philip Mearu and Lorry Danny play the ‘meanest’ tunes on keyboards, their fingers work wonders, Leroy Danny gives the bass guitar its vibes and Josh Larewa on drums keep the beat.

Vali Johnny, Chris Santo, Chris Ankik and Stanley Ume are on back up vocals and they make sure Richard sounds his best when they harmonise… I say this with happy smile.

In time, the need to smooth out music requirements saw the addition of my younger brother, and their uncle, Shayanne, to join the band to take lead on guitar.

They were one of 20 bands that were selected to take part in the battle of the Bands, shortlisted on the 17th spot.

The first battle, introduced me to how good these children were, when they took the stage to perform. While not at professional level, most of what they show, and the skills they have are mirrored the hours on YouTube tutorials, practice and making ‘noise’ in the yard.

They were ranked in scores and performance, to 2nd on the ladder after their grand performance on the first battle of the bands in Port Moresby in June. You can see a cover version PEREN OH (B-RAD) cover by TRONIX BAND

I am pleased to say, the Tronix Band, will be playing at the Paga Hill festival in September as a registered PNG band. Here is one of their song that has a tune that sticks to you, Via produced by NOCCTRNL. Well here’s to my overgrown nephews and baby brother… It’s September ..Wishing you all the best in your practice, in my yard and the battle ahead.

Reporter bleeds from the mouth as villagers attack journos |National Newspaper

Original story: https://www.thenational.com.pg/reporter-bleeds-from-the-mouth-as-villagers-attack-journos/

SOME villagers affected by the volcanic eruption on Manam took out their anger and frustration on the journalists covering the event.
The four reporters had entered Baliau village after visiting
other affected village and were questioned on the purpose of their visit.
Villager Peter Sukua asked them why they were there and why they arrived one day after the volcanic eruption.
He said the villagers would rather see Madang Governor Peter Yama and Bogia MP Robert Naguri.
The National reporter Dorothy Mark said she was stopped by Sukua taking pictures and punched in the face and threatened that her camera would be thrown into the sea.
“While I sat face down and spitting blood, they kicked me until some people intervened and stopped them,” she said.
The journalists were rescued by ward councillor for Dugulava village Paul Maburau and walked for one hour through a bush track.
They arrived at the Bieng Catholic station where they arranged for transportation to Bogia.
Sukua and others were later taken away by police.

#EMTV journalist, Martha Louis, reports: ‘Houses destroyed, people in need of food and water’

EMTV’s Madang Correspondent, Martha Louis , reports that more than 5000 men, women and children on Manam island are without food and clean water after the volcanic eruption on Saturday morning. Two villages were completely destroyed on Saturday. Food crops and water sources were destroyed by the ash fall.  This is the second day since the eruption and islanders are now in desperate need of food and clean water.

EMTV Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/EMTVonline/?ref=br_tf

20,000 people still living in ‘care centers’ 18 years after the 2004 Manam eruption [edited]


It has been 18 years since the Manam volcanic eruption  abruptly forced  more than 15000 islanders  to move  to the  mainland of the Madang province.

Many of the families, still living in care centers,  have been left destitute with  very little  fertile land to grow food and little means of generating an income.

For 18 years, both the National and Provincial governments have ignored the plight of islanders making no firm decision  on their resettlement.

Gabriel Kabarapun is a displaced Manam Islander  who has been living  in the Asarumba care center.    He built this house  in 2004 when they were evacuated during the volcanic eruption   and since then, he  has changed  the  sago palm thatch on his roof only once.

Asarumba, like the other Manam  care centers,  is  located on old mission  plantations.   Building materials are scarce and   the  islanders  are not always allowed to get sago thatch and wood  from  the traditional land  that belongs to  the Bogia people.

“I can’t get materials to build  a new house,” he says.  “The posts are slowly rotting, the walls are falling apart.  The  owners of the land don’t allow us to use  their land to get wood or roofing.”

Because  of the scarcity of land  and limited resources,   it has become increasingly common to  find two families sharing one house.

Gabriel shares  this house  with his nephew. Both men have large families.  The house can not  fit them all.  This  means some family members have use the verandah  as sleeping quarters after the evening meals.

In 2004,  Gabriel and more than 15 thousand people  were forced to leave  their Island home after the Manam volcano suddenly erupted.

They were placed on  the old plantations with the understanding that a long term solution would be found.

Initially,  tons of  relief  supplies and millions of Kina  came  from both local and international sources.   But  as donor agencies left one by one, the Manam islanders slipped  off  the list of government priorities and were eventually forgotten.

“We are a forgotten people,” says former Local level government councilor, Charles Yanda.  “It the government can look at foreign asylum seekers, what not pay attention to our needs.   We’re Papua New Guineans and we’ve been here for 10 years”

While there has been much talk about  a permanent solution  for the displaced Manam Islanders,    much of it has been political talk with no  action on the ground.    It  is one of the biggest frustrations  for Yanda.

“I’ve lost confidence in the government,”  says Bogia landowner, Francis Suku.  They keep telling us that this issue will be resolved. I’ve seen very little.

The Manam population on the care centers  has more than doubled  since the evacuation. There are now an estimated 30 thousand people scattered  along the Bogia coast with remnants of  village communities on the sheltered part of the Island.

The relationship between the Islanders and the  people along the Bogia coast  has not been smooth.  Over the years,  clashes between the Manams and the Bogias have  resulted in deaths  and injuries.

As another decade approaches,  the Manams remain in care centers still without a permanent  solution.   Both the National and provincial government have not articulated  what will become of  them.

[Note: The original article was written in 2014. the situation remains the same.]


Vessels and soldiers deployed to Manam for emergency evacuation

Madang Governor, Peter Yama, this morning confirmed that at least two PNG Defence Force vessels are being sent to conduct emergency evacuations on Manam Island following the eruption early yesterday.

“The Prime Minister has been very supportive since the he was informed,” the Madang Governor said.

Yama is currently in Port Moresby to mobilise additional support from the National Government.

“A platoon from the Engineering Battalion is traveling to Madang. HMS Dreger and Port Moresby have been allocated for the evacuation operation. Two officers from the PNGDF Headquarters are traveling to Madang to assist the Provincial Administrator.”

Government officers from Bogia District in Madang were deployed to Manam early yesterday after the volcano eruption on the island.

The Acting Provincial Administrator, John Bivi, said they have been in close contact with village elders since the eruption happened.

“This eruption is different. There are two craters that have erupted and lava flow has happened. This is problematic.,” he said.

Manam Islander, James Sukua, who contacted his family yesterday said several trees and at least two houses had collapsed during the heavy ash fall. At least two houses along the path of the lava flow were destroyed.

“Rain and ash fell in the morning in places like Baliau, Bien Station and Kuluguma. No casualties reported.”

The Rabaul Volcano observatory reported that the ash column rose 15 kilometers from the volcano. They have also warned pilots to stay clear of the Manam airspace over the next 12 hours.

“Additional volcanic activity is possible in the coming days. Individuals planning to travel to Manam are advised to avoid the areas affected and to wear respiratory gear and covering clothing.”

Breaking: Manam erupted this morning

Manam volcano erupted early this morning. Islanders reported that ash and other debris from the eruption was so thick that sunlight was totally blocked for a few hours. Manam islander, Mina Kamboanga, said the villagers had to use lights to get around. #PNG #Madang https://t.co/DlGQMtreKq

‘Nyada raised me…’ Eva Kuson sets the stage for Manus day

Picture by Barefoot photography

My mother gave birth to me at Lorengau General Hospital. Her parents came to town and took me home to Nyada, on the West Coast of Manus.

Nyada raised me.

I nearly drowned five times riding waves on old tree barks, kissed death when I choked on a fruit seed, speared at the ankle during a fishing game, fell 15 metres from a coconut tree, developed tropical ulcers twice, became malaria victim on many, many occasions.

But…Nyada raised me.

I was fed mashed sago from mouths of my kewan clan women, whacked across the head by my kewan clan men for tangling their fishing net.

Slinged and strapped with laplap on my grandmother’s backside as she fried sago. My grandfather carried me on his shoulder and smoked me out with stinking brus and tobacco as we trailed the forest for sago expeditions.

But…Nyada raised me

I caught my first fish at the age of five and gave it to my grandfather’s sister. She was honoured by the gesture that she called on our dead ancestors to bless my hand so I may catch more to feed the entire village.

Her ‘blessings’ got to my head, that I invested long hours out at the sea to catch more fish which resulted in bad pneumonia.

But…Nyada raised me.

Played on the beach from dawn to dusk, attempted fishing at the age of 3, claimed a fishing spot at age 4. Age 5, I was holding down canoes on fishing trips, at age 6 I washed my first bag of sago. At the age of 8, my mother brought me to Port Moresby to begin my education.

But…. Nyada raised me.

I graduated from a tertiary institution, comfortably living in my city house, my daughter is in a private school, cooking on gas stove, rode in my car, travelled extensively to different places.

Because… Nyada raised me.

We have a reason to celebrate Manus Day 🐚