By MARIAN MURU
Hailing from Koaru Village which is situated along the coastline of Central Kerema LLG in Gulf, Eau Muru is the eldest of six children to her late parents, Diakoro Laho Kiafe and Sarea Serasera.
As the first born everyone looked up to her. And being raised in a family of a Christian background it ignited a strength and courage in her to pursue whatever dreams she had.
In 1977 after completing Grade 10 at Kerema Coronation High School, she was offered a place at Madang Teachers College to take up primary school teacher training. Her dad was so devasted and everyone who was her immediate relatives had their own controversy of her going away to another province which was literally far away from their home and in that part of the country referred to as New Guinea which was colonised by the Germans up to World War II.
Despite all the ongoing discussions among the families, her dad who was her inspiration from prep class to Grade 10 sent her to Madang in 1978 to attend teacher training.
Being away from home for the first time in her life was so daunting but as her parents were both subsistence farmers it gave her such a strong resolve to pull through and after two years of hard work she successfully graduated in 1979 with a Certificate in Primary School Teaching.
The first posting in her career was in Madang. Deep down in her heart she did not want to go there but as she had vowed to take up teaching as a profession she took up that post. In 1980, for the first six months she taught at Namau Primary School on Karkar Island. It was a half-day’s travel by dinghy or an hour by small aeroplane to get there. The other six months was at Saidor Primary School in RaiCoast district which is also accessed by dinghy or aeroplane as there was no proper roads during that time.
From the coast to the mountains
From the low lying coastal area in Madang her journey continued.
Climbing mountains, crossing valleys and rivers in the highlands, her job brought her to Enga next. Enga then held one of the largest gold mines in the country which is known as Pogera and during that time the road to Pogera was constructed. Enga is also famous for delicious strawberries and other fresh vegetables and is the coldest province in PNG.
From 1981 to 1982 she taught at Laiagam Primary School, which is situated at the north of the province and for two years she imparted knowledge to the the local students in the grades she taught.
In 1983, she decided to serve her own people so she again crossed over the highlands and landed back at Kerema.
Gulf is famous for prawns, sago and juicy betel nuts that supply the city of Port Moresby. She taught at Ilakareta Primary School, situated in the heart of Kerema town, for three years (1983-5) and was fully satisfied that at least as a daughter of that province she had served her own people.
For the first four years of her teaching career she was teaching as an assistant teacher, this time promotion came her way and she was elevated to senior teacher.
From the coast to the highlands and back to the coast, she flew over the Owen Stanley Range and arrived in the highlands again.
Eastern Highlands is one of the provinces with a temperate climate, not too hot and not too cold and has beautiful flowers all year round. The main market always supplies fresh vegetables which are very cheap.
She taught at West Goroka Primary School which is situated at the back of Goroka Demonstration High School. She spent 10 years of her teaching career in Goroka with her husband who was the headmaster of the school from 1985 to 1995.
Probably the cool climate, beautiful landscape, fresh cool air and flowers had drawn the couple to spend a decade there.
The tables were turned again and from the highlands, she ended up in Manus Island in 1996, which is her husband’s home province.
Manus is a maritime province in PNG whose waters teem with a variety of species of fish and the people are always friendly. The province is famous for the traditional garamut dancing and is home to the rare green snail and Chauka bird only found in Manus.
She taught at Pombrut Primary School as a senior teacher for seven years – from 1996 -2002. In 2002, she was appointed as the deputy head teacher and was among other teachers in the province who were selected to complete their Diploma in Primary School Teaching at the Papua New Guinea Education Institution in Port Moresby.
After the successful completion of the programme she became a senior teacher and taught at Pombrut Primary School from 2003 – 2006.
She then transferred to Kawaliap Primary School, which is her husband’s village and is about an hour’s drive from Lorengau town.
She taught in that village for two years (2007 – 2008).
Appointed head teacher
In 2009, she was appointed as the head teacher at Naringel Primary School.
(When arriving in Manus at Momote airport and driving into Lorengau town, the school is situated on the right side of the road few meters away from the Coconut Bar which is on the left side towards the beach.)
She taught there for a year and was transferred back to Kawaliap Primary School in 2010 as the head teacher. She taught there for three years from 2010 – 2013 and was transferred again to Dungou Masi Primary School, situated at the end of Lorengau town near Lugos mission station.
She taught there for a year in 2014 and finally she was transferred to Pombrut Primary School in 2015 and was appointed as the head teacher and remained there until 2020.
Her career brought her far and wide, to the length and breadth of Papua New Guinea. She interacted with people of different cultures and lifestyle in our diverse nation.
Through the course of her career, she got married and had four children. Her eldest daughter is a social worker and the author of this article, her second born son is an elementary school teacher, her third born son is an undergraduate law student at the University of Papua New Guinea and her last born daughter followed in her footsteps and took up teaching as her career. She is teaching in Manus and this with be her sixth year in teaching.
Serving with all her heart
There were ups and downs through her career but when she took up the vow in 1979, she served fully with all her heart. She taught many children, some of whom are now doctors, lawyers, accountants, and teachers.
Some of you reading this article will know Eau Muru who was once upon a time your teacher and your mentor. She is retiring now from after 40 years of service to the people of Papua New Guinea.
She thanked the Almighty God for bringing her this far in her chosen vocation in life and is retiring at the age of 60 on a high note.
Proud of achievements
She is proud of her achievements at Pombrut Primary School and to add a little bit of icing to her retirement cake, one of her grade eight students came top in the province in the national examination last year. Bellamy Pilot walked away with the dux of the year award.
Actually, academic excellence runs in his blood as his late mum Glenda Popot was also the dux of Pombrut Primary School in 2006.
It was unfortunate that his mum was not there to witness this joyous occasion but he was nonetheless, surrounded by warmth and love from his remaining family and friends. He was jubilant that he is living his mum’s legacy.
With no regrets, Eau Muru is exiting the public service with a head held high, full of dignity and pride after 40 years of golden service to the government and people of PNG.