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Rebuilding a life from the ashes

By Tevu Tenasi


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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