Wesan people see change in lives now
By ZACHERY PER
IT WILL take a while for over 2,000 people of Ward 1 of Gahuku LLG in THE remote Wesan area Goroka District to forget Nov 21, 2019 – the day Member of Parliament visited them.
Henry Ame has become the first Goroka MP to visit Wesan in fulfillment of a promise he had made to the people of Wesan during his election campaign in 2017 to visit them if he was elected.
Ame flew into Wesan in a yellow Pacific Helicopters chopper heading in a northerly direction from Goroka via the Bena-Gap.
Further to the north was the fast flowing Ramu River as the helicopter flew low above the jungles in search of the designated Wesan Village landing site.
The people braved the mid-morning heat dancing and singing as they awaited Ame and his delegation.
As the clock ticked towards 11am, enthusiasm and excitement filled the hearts and minds of the people of Wesan as the helicopter flying MP Ame circled above the small village in the jungle clearance. The chopper landed on a helipad the people created.
They stood several metres away from the aircraft to avoid the chopper’s blades were still swinging. Soon after the chopper lifted off the ground, people congregated from every corner towards Ame and his delegation greeting them with welcome gestures.
It was an emotional moment for the Wesan community who had been neglected when the district’s resources were shared in the past years. The visit by the MP told the people that things were going to change for the better.
Representatives from other parts of Goroka District who had traveled to the area a day earlier gathered together with MP Ame and “officially handed him over” to the people of Wesan.
He was escorted by singsing groups and string band performers to the grandstand where he officially launched the rural housing project and coffee cultivation tools and equipment.
The usually quiet area had come alive; many locals described MP Ame as the first MP to set foot in Wesan area since independence.
Spokesman Sio Mesere said, “Wesan is the last place in Goroka, since independence no elected MP had ever visited us until today. Goroka MP Henry Ame is the first to visit us.”
He said they were happy that Ame has fulfilled his election campaign promise to visit them.
“You have eyes that you can stay in Goroka but can still see us through the jungles between Goroka and Wesan. And you are shedding lights on us, we feel overwhelmed,” Mesere said.
Another spokesman Yailave Nondaoma thanked Ame for giving them chainsaws to mill timber to build permanent homes. He said in Wesan there was no source of income except for betel nuts which no one outside of the area was buying so their produce was going to waste.
MP Ame assured the more than 2,000 people of Wesan that one day he would connect them by road to Goroka town, and with Ramu and Brahman in the neighbouring Usino-Bunid District of Madang.
“The greatest need is road connectivity, I will do my best to connect Wesan with roads so garden produce can come out and basic health and education services can bedelivered to you,” Ame told the people.
He said once they have milled timber and were ready to build houses, he would give them roofing iron to build their houses.
“I promised you that I will come back to Wesan if I win. Here I am back bringing you chainsaws for you to build houses, coffee pulpers, fencing wire, knapsack sprayers and chemicals for your coffee,” he said.
He said his forefathers came to Wesan during their active days including his great grandfather Ame and that he was following in their footsteps to visit the area.
Ame said to give financial assistance to individuals was very hard and urged them to form groups to get help from his office.
“The money coming from the Government is to provide services to you. I will upgrade the health centre and school in the area before the end of this year,” he said.
“When your timber is ready, let me know so I can give you roofing iron. Use the equipment and chainsaws to improve your standard of living and avoid misuse.”
Ame was accompanied by Komiufa community leader Mannah Abori, managing director of Comsat Internet Services Wilson Unua and his chief executive officer Robin Oruda.
Ame promised that the visit was not the last as he would go there one more time before the 2022 general election.
BCL backs student athletes
By ENAMYRA ANI and EMMANUEL BALA
UPNG Journalism students
FOR the first time in a long while, schools in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville sent students to take part in the recent PNG Air National Track and Field Championships in Kimbe, West New Britain.
Bougainville team coach and president of Bougainville Athletics Association, Hubert Hirara, from Haku Village, Buka, said he was very happy the students made it this far even without the regional government’s support except for Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) who stepped in at the last moment.
“We tried our best in looking for funds with business houses back in AROB but got no positive response. We kind of gave up our efforts in seeking funds to get my team to attend the National Championships in Kimbe,” Hirara said.
“But the week before the games, BCL came on board in sponsoring us and rescuing us, Team AROB. It made us proud to expose our skills and talents in athletics.”
The five athletes, namely Nathan Telly, Laura Ketsana, Lambert Tseroana and Charmaine Buka were students who took part in the championships and also run with professional athletes.
Charmaine left for Buka after the games due to personal reasons.
Her team mates were given a simple questionnaire which they answered.
Ketsana, 17, is from Ieta Village, Buka and is in grade nine at Hutjena Secondary School. She ran the 100 meter and 200 meter sprints.
Nathan Telly of a mixed Madang and Eastern Highlands is 16 years old and attends Devare Adventist High School.
Lambert Tseroana, 19, is from Ieta, Buka and is a student at Hutjena Secondary School.
How do you feel about competing at the national level?
Laura: Well at first, I got nervous but when I ran in the 100m, I felt like I was running a normal race.
Nathan: “I felt nervous too because it was my first time in this kind of national championship events. But I was okay as the days passed.
Lambert: I was happy and sad because I didn’t win any medals but it was a good experience for me.
Why did you chose to run for your region?
Laura: I chose to run because I wanted to make my family, school and province proud. And also I want everyone to know how good I can run.
Nathan: I chose to run because I wanted to expose my talents and also make Bougainvillians proud and lift my schools name up.
Lambert: I ran because I wanted to uncover my talents as a first timer in the national games.
Describe the biggest challenge you faced during the national championship.
Laura: I different challenge that I faced was competing against the National Sports Institute sprinters other sprinters from other provinces. But my coach and family helps me keep going”.
Nathan: I missed out on classes, I didn’t have enough training because we were told that there was no funds to sponsor us.
Lambert: I didn’t train harder for this event to compete with other athletes but we had no funds for sponsor so I didn’t train harder.
How do you manage your time between your education and sports?
Laura: I spend a lot of my time doing my school work and studying, but whenever I have free time I always go out to play sports.
Lambert: I use my free time doing my school work but most of the time I spend it on sports because through sports, you will travel out to other places”.
Nathan: I spend more time on sports and little on my school.
What are you looking forward to in the next five years?
Laura: I’m looking forward to become a National athlete.
Nathan: I’m looking forward to represent my country at the international level
Lambert: I am looking to come again and win a gold medal and become the best Bougainville athlete and make my family and region proud.
Some advice to potential athletes?
Laura: We are encouraging the other students to put their interest in sports so they can become good sportsmen or women.
Nathan: To be a sportsman and woman, you must be healthy and fit to compete with other athletes and to live a long life.
The team travelled back to Bougainville with high hopes of participating in future national athletics events.
Hirara says that financial support continues to remain a major obstacle for them.
“The AROB government is currently focused on the referendum that it is not paying any attention to areas such as sports.
“So what we would do is try to raise funds for ourselves and do our own fundraising so that we can find our own way to attend this sort of events if we are not supported.
“What we experienced at this event has made us more prepared and ready for the next event,” he said.
Despite the challenges they faced, the team made every effort and trained very hard for the big game. They lost hope when they were told that there was no funding.
It was Telly and Tseroana’s first time to come to Port Moresby. They said they were very happy.
He greatly appreciates BCL’s support and hopes that they would continue to sponsor other athletes of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.