Posts Categorized: Places

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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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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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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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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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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Tinputz school back on track 

By Benjamin Heribeths

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Tinputz High School has resumed classes and the school community is now eagerly anticipating the completion of a 4-in-1 classroom.

The school returned to its original location and resumed operations following a two month suspension of activities relating to a land dispute.

Since school moved, the arguments and disputes came to an end and parents, students, teachers and other stakeholders of the school were happy to work in an argument free area.

Students started having classes in a temporary building while waiting the new 4-in-1 classroom which is still under construction. It is expected to be completed by the end of this term.

A new Tinputz High School board of governors has also been approved by the Bougainville Education Board. The original board of governors was dismantled by the Bougainville Education Board and  parents approved the new one from the direction of the BEB and the Catholic office in Hahela.

Following a meeting of school parents on Monday 22 August 2016, the new board of governors is up and running.

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Mine pit drainage threatens Panguna hamlet

By Leonard Fong Roka

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A family hamlet of Makosi, in the Upper Tailings area of the Panguna District, is under threat from water erosion and the residents have requested to move to a new location in the near future.

The family thinks the government should step in to assist in slowing down the rate of erosion generated by the water that originates from the abandoned Panguna Mine pit.

The family’s matriarch, Therese Pokamari, said their homestead was founded in 2004 by her eldest son, but now she sees no future if the erosion caused by the tunnel waterway washes away their houses, which had been built on the sedimentation and gravel from the Panguna mine.

“Our homes are what we value most as Bougainvilleans,” Mrs Pokamari said.

“If Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) was still operating I can go and tell them to fix this threat for my family.

“But they are gone, so we now have the government to look into issues affecting us.

“When BCL was operating, we all know, it maintained some order of the installations it had.

“But having left without properly closing down the mine we the Panguna people now face the problems.”

The volume of water leaving the Panguna Mine pit that is some 500 metres deep and 1 kilometer wide is large. It is sucked vertically down two or more pipe systems and reaches the drainage tunnel some hundred metres underground. From there the water—with additions from the many subterranean water systems—flows south and then west for 6 kilometres and comes out at the Makosi land where Pokamari dwells with her family.

“Makosi was our family’s only flat land in this mountainous Panguna District,” Pokamari admitted,

“Bougainville’s first president, the late Joseph Kabui – who is my uncle, played and gardened here as a child before the Panguna Mine was created.

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“With the mine prematurely shut in 1990, my family came back to build homes here,” Pokamari continued, “in fact, the local level government office, a community’s aid post and a police post are all housed here on the Makosi land.”

“More developments are coming on this land, but their future is at stake with the threat posed by this waterway.

The Makosi land is the only massive flat area in the entire Tumpusiong Valley or the Upper Tailings area accessible by vehicles, thus local government authorities have chosen to settle there to serve the locals.

The family also established a kindergarten on their hamlet servicing the Upper Tailings area with now over 100 students that feeds into primary schools at Dapera, Darenai, Oune, and Sipatako.

“Makosi land was divided between my mother and her two other sisters,” Pokamari revealed.

“Makosi 1, which is higher in elevation, went to my two aunties and Makosi 2, which is lower in elevation, came to my mother and that is where I am.

“So Makosi 2 is now subjected to erosion since the flowing water body is attracted to the bank that is lowest.”

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The story of selfless Napio

By Pauline Karalus

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At the young age of 13, Napio was served the double blow when his father passed away and, in the family politicking that followed, he lost all the rights to the inheritance bequeathed to him.

Napio is the only boy in a family of five and grew up with his four sisters and mother.

Napio’s Dad was the first born in his family and so most of the family customary land was his.

He had several cocoa plantations where he would dry up to six bags a month. Despite the fact that he was a subsistence farmer, the family heavily relied on his earnings more than the mother’s, who taught at the local primary school.

He earned much and the villagers envied him, but he never rejected a request from people who wanted help from him. He would help anyone in cash or kind, comfort or prayer whenever they needed it.

Having such a wonderful supporting wife and five lovely kids was a blessing from the Lord. His sudden passing shattered the hearts of his wife and children into pieces. This was a sad beginning of a new chapter in life for the family.

Napio, being the only boy in the family, was traumatized at the loss of his role model even years after his dad’s death. He changed from being that smiling playful boy to that quiet boy who enjoys his own company, who loves not being involved in any conversation.

With growing concern, his mum tried everything to make him socialize with the other kids his age, but Napio only wanted to be alone, a decision his mum ultimately respected.

He was still a young boy and so he was unable to cultivate all the land his late father had left him. His family had to move to the place his mother’s people to help her emotional recovery and it was difficult to keep an eye on his inheritance.

As the years went by, Napio grew in to a kind and gentle man. He returned home to his land, which was now occupied by his uncles and wouldn’t hand it back to him. He tried every possible way to get the land back, but was unsuccessful in his efforts.

A bright student, Napio successfully completed grade 10 in year 2010 with his younger sister. His sister continued on to grade 11, but he went for short courses down at Moramora Technical College in West New Britain province.

Upon completion of his studies, he got a job there and helped his Mum to pay for his sister’s tuition fees. He worked for a while and then chose to return to Buin, to stay with his mother and helping her out at home he had to move back to Buin.

He now stays at home and manages his trade store and helps raise funds for his siblings’ fees.

Up to this day he still stays at his mum’s place and continues to cultivate what little land has left for him.

To Napio, land is not the most important thing, he feels complete with his family.

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Port-Mine road endangered by artisanal miners

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Panguna District police head Peter Tauna has warned gold miners that their activities are putting the road and people in danger (pictured in uniform) during an unplanned visit to the alluvial mining slope along the western side of the Panguna mine’s port-mine-access road on Monday, 2 August 2016.

“This is a public road that serves us in the Panguna District and most of south Bougainville,” Mr Tauna told a group digging for gold some 10 metres from the road.

“It provides us the access to Arawa and Buka where we receive much needed services.

“You must be aware that this road came into existence with BCL,” Tauna continued,” our government has no financial capacity to create such a road for us.”

“We are people with common sense so we have to be responsible.

“Mine the locations of the slopes that you see will not contribute in harming this public road.”

The gathered artisanal miners, most of whom came from the Bana District of South Bougainville, said that they were aware of the dangers thus they have already marked a spot where the activities will be restricted to.

Since the alluvial gold was discovered on the slopes between the former Panguna Mine’s Camp 10 site and the Shoofly Corner section of the Port-Mine Access Road in 2010, artisanal miners from all over Panguna and Kieta Districts had rushed here to make a living.

There are also miners working here who come from Bana and even some from across other Bougainville’s sister islands on the Solomon archipelago.

According to the miners a number of people have also accidentally died here. The first was a man from Wakunai District and the most recent incident saw the demise of a person from the Malaita Province of the Solomon Islands.

They also said landowners from the Moroni Village who oversee their activities also are concerned about the safety of the road that serves the public and so had enforced the boundary where all artisanal miners should not pass with their activities.

Police Officer Peter Tauna and his officers carefully walked around the rocky slopes talking to the busy miners.

Tracking up the ore veins, it is evident people have dug through the bed rock creating ditches some of which comes right near the Port-Mine Access Road bitumen.

Since the discovery of the gold, the activities of the artisanal miners have taken over a massive area of natural jungle. The area covered is roughly more than the combined space of 5 soccer fields.

Deep holes were bored into the slope with crowbars and miners were seen working inside without any safety measures in place.

People could be seen from the road downhill moving like ants. Beneath another mass of workers work on the Karona Creek. They work with sedimentation that is washed down from the slopes.

Peter Tauna, head of the Panguna Police contingent emphasized that the boundary must be respected for the good of the travelling public that use the Port-Mine Access Road.

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Panguna ex-combatant hands over weapon for peace

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Albert Nekinu (pictured right), a former ex-combatant from Barako Village of the Panguna District, willingly surrendered his gun to the local police after he was touched by the Bougainville peace awareness of an auxiliary police officer Junior Taneavi (pictured left).

The young Nekinu joined the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) late in 1994, thus did not see much action with the dawning peace process. But he had a .308 mm WW2 US infantry rifle which he obtained in the Torokina ammunition dumps.

“I had the rifle to fight,” Mr Nekinu said, “but then our leaders talking about peace, thus I did not have much opportunity to go into action against the enemy.”

“But now that we are in peace, as an ordinary serviceman in the BRA, I feel sad when our leaders in the BRA who may have had a voice in the creation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) are still holding onto guns.

“Peace is what our people need to move Bougainville forward to independence,” Mr Nekinu continued.

“We want a weapon free Bougainville where everybody is free as it was embedded in the BPA.”

One auxiliary police officer, Junior Taneavi, is singlehandedly spearheading peace awareness in the Tumpusiong Valley area of the Panguna District.

Taneavi was catalytic to the surrender of the weapon and said that people should work towards a better peaceful Panguna District.

“Panguna District is where the crisis erupted from and so it is our business to get working,” Mr Taneavi said.

“Every combatant in the district, be they from the Meekamui or any other faction, must honour the BPA for it is here we are seeing change and services for us and the people.

“We cannot go elsewhere,” he continued, “the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) is the government we are eating from and nobody else.

“Thus we all have to uphold the BPA and move with it just like our young man Albert Nekinu.”

Mr Nekinu admitted that after listening to all the Officer Taneavi’s words of peace building on Bougainville he felt really guilty seeing that normalcy for Bougainville can only come through the way ABG is moving with in accordance to the BPA so he went home took his weapon and handed it over.

Junior Taneavi then brought the weapon to Officer Peter Tauna (pictured middle with Chief Michael Pariu) who is responsible for policing in the Panguna District.

On Monday 2 August 2016, the weapon was locked away under Bougainville Police Service custody.

 

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