Buka town improving aesthetically

By Ishmael Palipal

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Starting with the upgrade of the drainage system in January of 2015, the current Bougainville capital of Buka has been gradually improving aesthetically. The drainage system has meant adequate waterways and residential areas during the rainy seasons.

The upgrade and the sealing of the roads and streets in the town added have also added to the polished look. Dekenai Construction did the honors of sealing the once dusty or muddy roads of the town in a project valued at K9.7 million.

The sealed roads and the drainage system has given Buka an improved town look. In the past was like a small country side town or village when there were none of these developments.

Adding to these, are the Moonray town security have been very active in their duty of keeping the town clean.

Moonray security is contracted by the town council to keep the watch to make sure that all the people in the town are mindful of their rubbish when in town. With their presence in town, the Buka town area now stays clean all day.

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The spitting of betel nut in the town area on the cement, road or on the ground around town can be penalized with a K20 on spot fine. Throwing rubbish on the wrong spot can also be fined and a refusal to pay can result in the offender being taken to the police station as authorized by the town authority.

Early every morning the security firm personnel do a cleanup of the town picking up rubbish dropped in the night, ensuring the town is clean to start the day.

To beautify the road junctions, flower gardens have erected, especially the junction at the side of the City Pharmacy building and the junction leading into the Buka General Hospital and Toyena Guest House.

Giving a bit of color to the buildings is the Digicel PNG promotional signboards and painting of buildings into their trademark red. This marketing strategy is also giving another improved look to the stores, the main market and other road side markets.

All of these improvements mentioned above a contributing to the new improved look for Buka town, though there are more improvements that the town needs such as proper building planning, town planning, sea side improvements and town landscaping and public parks.

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Homebrew and marijuana use impacting education

By Maryanne Hanette

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In Bougainville, especially North specifically in the Haku constituency, consumption of homebrew and marijuana is at high rate and is creating negative outcomes for the local community

This is a serious topic of discussion today for the people of this area because of the way youths and school age youths are behaving towards the society today.

There has been an upsurge of youth consumption of drugs by 50% compared to previous years.

This issue has been an on-going issue. It has led to aggressive behaviours by youths in the communities and students’ unacceptable practices in the constituency, including fighting among students, rape cases and murder.

For the school age youths of this area it has affected their academic performance. Grades have dropped to a very low level in school as a result of the high rate of absenteeism in class.

Mr Martin Takali, Principal at Hutjena Seconday School, explained that each year two to three students are expelled from school and sent home.

“Majority of the students consuming marijuana at Hutjena Secondary are students from Haku”, said Mr Takali.

Few students in this area further their education at tertiary institutions, with many exiting after grade 10 or 12.

Though there is a good number of the population are well educated there is still many of them roaming around in the village doing nothing.

Youths and students of this area take part in homebrew and marijuana consumption because no one goes there to educate them at a high standard and to their level about drug and its impacts

Many of them have their own reasons as to why they are consuming homebrew and marijuana, but the responsibility lies within the parents and the elders or chiefs in the village.

If the environment is full of these types of activities, like homebrew produced right in the village and selling of marijuana, then students or youths will never say no in consuming drugs because it is right in front of their eyes.

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Ratu – The feared Fire Tree

By Pauline Karalus

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Trekking through the thick jungles of the fine-looking island floating peacefully over the sea, there are many species of animals and plants to discover, most of them harmless, living in the beauty of the tropical sunshine.

Growing up in the wildernesses is so much fun and you are trained to differentiate the edible plants and animals from non-edible ones. Some of these plants and animals are poisonous, though most of them are not and journeying with older and wiser members of your tribe helps you absorb the knowledge and the great qualities from them.

Many of Bougainville’s population prefer the jungle to towns or cities. They love nature and the everyday welcomes them into the wildernesses in search of food or for fun with the lovely creatures inhabiting the forests.

The different species of animals and plants found in these rainforests add variety to Bougainville’s stunning canopy-covered bushes. Rivers snaking in between these striking jungles make the view even more breathtaking for visitors and locals as well.

Amongst the creatures and plants there exists a plant typically known by the locals for the sharp pains it can inflict once in contact with the human body. The Fire Tree, which is traditionally given the name Rotu grows in the tropical jungles of the island and is not commonly known by visitors who tour the island for various reasons.

There are two species of Rotu. The first type of the Rotu species has all green leaves whilst the second of its kind has green and maroon leaves and the plants often grow close together.

The first kind of the Rotu species having all green leaves is called Kaana Kege in the Telei language meaning “Bone Scratchy”, since pains developed when contact with the leaves which lasts for a number of days. These sharps require no medicine however the person naturally cures from it slowly as time goes by. These kinds grow in abundance along river banks and most commonly un-noticed by the human race and come into contact with whilst fishing along these riverbanks or picnicking during leisure periods.

The second kind of the Rotu species with maroon and green leaves is called Mai Tururu in our mother-tongue meaning “Dog’s Pee”, and this brings about pains that do not last for very long. Once your body is in contact with a Mai Tururu, you will feel very painful sharp pains compared to the pain you would feel when in contact with a Kaana Kege, but the pain dissipates quickly. For first timers the pain seems to be so hard to handle that you may even pee your trousers before you realize it.

Rotu trees grow as tall as 10 to 20 meters and continue to be feared by the local people. The cutting down of these fire trees does not even seem to decrease the number, however it is feared that continues cutting down of these rare species will one day cause them to become extinct.

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Solar power revolutionises village life in Kaitu

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The introduction of solar panels has changed the lives of the people of Kaitu village in the Buin District of South Bougainville.

Since the end of the Bougainville crisis, Kaitu, a village in the Upper Konnou area of Buin, was dependant on small generators for power.

There are no stores or service stations nearby and the Kaitu people travelled to Buin town to look for petrol to power their generators, would incurring a great cost looking for vehicle or spending many hours walking.

They would walk over four kilometres from their small village to the main road to look for a vehicle and at night they would walk all the way back to their villages hauling their goods, particularly difficult for women, children and the elderly.

The small community started purchasing solar panels for their villages as an alternative source of power.

They are using the panels in many different ways, such as to charge their cellular phones for communication and to power florescent tubes for lighting.

“Families in the community are benefiting in many different ways,” said Moses Nukaia, a Kaitu local.

Mr Nukaia stated that the people are now spending less money because they are using sunlight for power.

Their next target is to purchase invertors so that they can use freezers in their houses.

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Rebuilding a life from the ashes

By Tevu Tenasi

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At around 9pm on Monday 6th August 2012 I took a call from my brother in-law, Mr Pency Kaevariri. He sounded shocked.

‘Mage eang tama taba teang komana iung ge?’ ‘Friend, do you have your belongings in your cottage?’ he asked in a shaky tone.

‘Ainge,a tabae a hata?’ Sure,Is there anything wrong? I replied, already knowing there was.

A iung teang pa asiu’ ‘Your house has been burnt down,’ he said.

I was left speechless with nothing to say as the sound of my in-law faded from my phone.

Our little cottage at Teairas in Tinputz was burnt to ashes.

I tortured myself trying to figure out what caused the fire and my wife hardly spoke as she thought about the everything that we worked for that was now nothing but ashes.

The next morning, I was informed that our house was mistakenly put on fire by a local crisis warlord and a report was made known to the police for investigation.

856-mill-timberWe waited and waited as the negotiations and investigation were taken care of by the police.

Days of waiting turned to months and with so much grief over our great loss, my wife and our two sons decided to move over to Kieta where she was from.

On Christmas Eve, 24 December 2012, we moved out of Kekesu Primary School where we were to Arawa. A sad Christmas was spent there and then we booked an open back LandCruiser that took us to what would become our new home Kurai, some 20 kilometres from Arawa town.

The thought of our loss was painful to bear, but we also carried with us the aspiration to build a home again.

This all came to pass as the first timbers of the new house was milled on 22nd of May 2013.

I also resume worked as a Nursing Officer in Roreinang Aid post while my wife resumed in Kurai Primary School.

856-carpentry-teamA few months later I was offered a position to work as an Officer-in-charge of Moanava Clinic a newly open site for HIV/AIDS voluntary counselling and testing in Arawa Health Centre.

Beyond all doubt God was taking care of us.

By January 2014, the building profile was already up by the hands of my brother in-law Mr Wayne Mah, an experienced and skilful carpenter, with the assistance of other locals.

Everybody, men, women and children, offered help even with simple activities like food preparation for our hardworking carpenters.

Things changed rapidly as months passed and by September we already had the house up.

There was a setback in 2015, when our family lost two members. One passed to illness and another was murdered in cold blood and in accordance with local custom we ceased most of our work.

Today everything is taking shape and is on track to be completed by 2017.

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New research investigates service delivery to the atolls

By Timothy Poroda

The need for services delivery to the Atolls communities of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville is one area where many tertiary students, such as those at Divine University, see as their potential site for research.

There are many factors that are contributing to the impediment of services to the area, including its remoteness.

As an undergraduate researcher I was triggered by the service delivery issue in the Atolls as the basis to conduct my final year research paper because of the lack of transport or effective transport system into the area.

The research site of my study is to be conducted on one of the islands but due to some limitations the research data collection will be conducted in Buka urban area where most of the Tasman Islanders now live.

The research will have two-way response, which means there are two samples or study populations, and will be getting information from Tasman Islanders and government departments or offices.

I hope to get better feedback from the two samples as trial interview was conducted early this year which many of the participants both from each sampling frames responded positively to the questions asked.

Furthermore, I will mainly look at the education and health sector which is my prime purpose to conduct the research there on how the dissemination of the services are provided to these respective sectors by the authority responsible.

The research a requirement to complete my undergraduate studies and will be presented at the end of second semester this year to contribute to the existing literature of knowledge.

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Kieta students celebrate National Book Week

By Tevu Tenasi

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National book week is a special event in Bougainville schools and throughout Papua New Guinea as a whole.

Each year has a different theme that looks into the significance of the books and reading and students are encouraged to put up displays on the importance of this event.

The theme for the 2016 National Book Week is an acronym of READ:
Read
Educate
Advance; and
Develop

This laid down a challenge to many schools in Bougainville. Kurai Primary School in Kieta District is one of the schools that was opened just after the crisis and students are being encouraged in the love and joy of reading by their teachers.

“Reading has been the main ingredient behind many well educated and successful people today,”  said one teacher from the school.

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15-year-old Deloudge Willis, who’s in grade 7, expressed her gratitude in line with the theme.

“Reading makes a big difference to my learning capacity,” she said.

She also mentioned that, for a better future, students should engage in lots of reading.

 

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Tabago trade adversely affected by road condition

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The people of Tabago are feeling the effects of poor road conditions, which is effecting their ability to trade goods.

The main road in Buin is in a bad condition with potholes developing, which have been compared to lagoons.

For the Tabago people there are no vehicles to transport their goods to the market. Currently there is only one open back land cruiser that is willing to transport the people to Buin town to do their shopping and other things.

The Sunday market in Tabago was also discontinued earlier in the year ensure observance of the Sabbath.

Justin Kenkua is the person who is owning only the vehicle in Tabago area especially Ligo. He spends most of his time transporting passengers with his vehicle.

Justin works in the Buin district office and so his only free time is on Saturdays.

There have been many accidents recently so he decided to be strict with traffic rules and safety.

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Bougainville united in celebration of Peace Agreement

By Ishmael Palipal

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The people of Bougainville people celebrated a major milestone on 30 August 2016 with the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA).

The 2001 BPA signing signified peace, reconciliation and unity for all Bougainvilleans and was an emotional moment that people longed to witness after more than ten years of bloodshed.

During this 2001 signing, the Bougainville people, the Bougainville government and Papua New Guinea Government agreed on terms and conditions they would follow in order to achieve lasting peace, development and, eventually, referendum.

The agreement is centered around autonomy, referendum and weapons disposal, the three pillars that Bougainville should achieve when working in co-operation with the parties concerned.

Yesterday’s ceremony emphasized the importance of BPA and the President Dr John Momis and other speakers strongly emphasized that all parties must work in accordance with the BPA and should not breach it.

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There was a consensus that the BPA is a joint effort between Bougainville and PNG and all must uphold their duties and obligations towards achieving the objectives—lasting peace and unity, development and referendum.

Mrs Ruby Mirinka, a signatory to the BPA as a representative of the women and children of Bougainville, pointed out that peace an opportunity to grow and develop. Given this opportunity there are other fights such as those against things that are undermining the growth of this region such as the effects of drugs and alcohol on communities and an economic crisis.

Mrs Mirinka elaborated that should carefully utilise the resources they have so that in the coming years there will be something concrete to celebrate.

Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander Ishmael Toroama spoke on behalf of the ex-combatants and reminded the people that God is the framer of the peace in Bougainville and all Bougainvilleans must embrace every opportunity.

He assured the people that ex-combatants are in full support of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) towards the referendum.

Philip Miroiri, who represented the Mekamui, shared similar sentiments and spoke of standing united with ABG ahead of the referendum.

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Like others who strongly stressed the importance of peace in Bougainville, UN Resident Coordinator Mr Roy Trivedy outlined a strong link between peace and development.

“When there is no peace,” Mr Trivedy stated, “there will be no development.

“When there is no development there will be no lasting peace.”

He concluded that only through peace will Bougainville flourish and it is the responsibility of all the concerned parties to ensure this is achieved.

The ABG President Chief Dr John Momis closed the day with his keynote speech addressing the importance of the Peace Agreement and encouraged all parties to respect it.

He strongly challenged the National Government to honour the BPA and to support by assisting Bougainville as agreed.

Mr Momis assured the people of Bougainville that Bougainville will still arrive in her final destination through this referendum.

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The power of nature on display as Loluai River blocks travellers

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The Loluai River, the biggest river in Buin, blocked the road for travellers all the way from Buin and Siwai, due to a heavy downpour.

The heavy rain also swept a small home with couple of houses in Wakunai. The road, which is so treacherous in Wakunai and Buin, delays the arrival of traveller at their destinations.

Passengers from nearby villages in the Kieta frontier were worried about what had happened and the current of the river was so strong that it swept away all the gravel until nothing was left but big stones that no vehicles can pass through.

Highway drivers spent time clearing a new route to avoid the blockade, but not before some passengers travelling to the airport missed their flight due to the natural blockade.

After one day the road was cleared and now vehicles returned to travel the route between Buin and Siwai.

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One regular driver stated that the nearby villages must take extra precautions due to the fact that accidents can happened while they are asleep late at night.

“If the rain doesn’t stop we will have more trouble,” he said.

Drivers and the passengers were also worried that this treacherous road can lead to heavy car breakdowns, which are expensive to repair.

Changes to weather patterns and the climate is causing the inconveniences throughout Bougainville.

“We may raise concerns but it is beyond our limit to control the nature that comes in its own ways,” said one passenger.

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