By Leonard Fong Roka
A man from Parakake Village has made a life for himself and his family using the knowledge of traditional medicine passed down in his family from generation to generation.
Clement Itamari, who hails from Onove Village in the Tumpusiong Valley of Panguna District but married into the Parakake Village on the Pinenari area of the Port-Mine-Access Road, claims his knowledge of bush medicine is like his retirement benefit.
“[When the mine closed in 1989] and I ended up with no formal employment,” Mr Itamari said.
“So I reverted to practicing what my ancestors had been doing for their survival for centuries before colonization.
“The medicines work over my patients and more and more are flocking into my residence here in Arawa, just as it was when I was in the village.”
Itamari inherited his medicinal skills and knowledge from his late grandparents and parents and maintained them while working before the Bougainville Crisis.
Then, during the peak of the Bougainville Crisis, he began practicing with caution for he was not sure whether the methods would produce outcomes as it had for his elders. They worked well though, so he served the people in his area, who lived without modern medical supplies because of the blockade of Bougainville.
“Some of my patients were in the worst condition and people were thinking of sending them off to Honiara for medication, but I saved them,” he admitted happily.
“I saved a few of our Bougainville Revolutionary Army men who got ill during operations or were wounded in action.”
Clement Itamari now practices his medicine in Arawa Town where in lives with his son and his family.
He claims to have now discovered a range of medicine for a wide range of health issues including contagious illnesses, air-bound infections, bowel illnesses, malaria, child health, and maternal health.
Itamari has also branched out in to traditional cosmetics for men and women, which he states make both sexes look smart and live happy lives.
He is making about K200 a month from his services.