The National, Tuesday 10th July, 2012
Story by MALUM NALU
A DREAM came true for 13-year-old Ngaru Nen in the remote Maralina village, Lower Watut, Morobe province, on Saturday as he delivered a container load of books from the United States for children of three schools in the area.
In emotional scenes at Maralina, six hours by motorised canoe up the Markham and Watut rivers, Ngaru and his siblings Betty and Aral Jr presented the books to the children of Maralina, Uruf and Tsili Tsili primary schools.
The Nen children had been collecting books for the children of Lower Watut since 2008.
However, they ran into a hitch when their father could not afford the high cost of transporting the books to Pa-pua New Guinea.
The children, their mother Mary and father Aral, who is a Watut local but now residing in the US, travelled all the way from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to present the books.
Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV) general manager sustainability and external relations David Wissink turned Good Samaritan after reading about young Ngaru’s plight on Facebook.
In January, thanks to Wissink, a container load of books and school supplies left Milwaukee for Lae, final destination Watut.
The books arrived in Lae earlier this year and were kept in storage by MMJV until the Nens arrived.
In another twist of fate, major Korean TV company KBS heard about Nen’s story and paid for all his family to travel to PNG so they could make a documentary on the life of the family.
Immediately after the book presentation, the Nen family and the TV crew travelled to Nen’s Zenem village, where they will spend the next couple of weeks shooting the documentary,
The people of Lower Watut laid down the red carpet on Saturday to welcome the Nen family home to present the books.
A quietly-spoken Ngaru said he was glad the books had reached Watut safely.
“I hope that these books will become useful to you,” he told a crowd of Watut school children and the local community who gathered at Maralina.
Wissink heaped praise on Ngaru and his siblings.
“This is a good partnership,” he said.
“Thank you to Ngaru and his sister and brother.”