By Tabitha Nero
Ever wonder why people from villages in and around Central province camp outside the Port Moresby General Hospital?
Under brightly coloured tents, they faithfully and tirelessly bear the cold and heat.
I ponder about it every time I passed by them but just didn’t have the time to sit and ask questions.
I didn’t think it would be difficult to get answers until I enquired.
“We are going through a situation right now, please, no stories,” was one of the first response I got.
I was still curious so I walked up and asked a woman but she too refused to share her story with me.
Finally, I came across an elderly man who was sitting outside his blue tent, casually chewing betel nuts.
I met Tau Dairi Hehuni last month.
He is from Gaire village just outside Port Moresby. He said he was living outside the hospital for more than a month. He did not mind the noise and every other annoying things.
He was sacrificing the comforts of home to wait for his son Belesa Dairi to recover.
“Mi stap long hia long wan month long lukautim pikinini blo mi, em I gat sik long liver blong em. Mikisimol wantok na femly I kam long givim blut, tenpla bag blut na ba mipla givim long pikinini long go long operesen long PIH (I’ve been living here for a month. I’m taking care of my child who has liver problems. I’ve asked my friends and relatives to come so we can donate 10 bags of blood to my son for an operation at the Pacific International Hospital),” Tau explained to me.
The first and perhaps the most important reason why Tau is here is because of his family.
For Tau to be there for his son was a sign of hope and faith that Belesa would recover and although his illness was grave, there was still light at the end of the tunnel.
Tau worried about his son but he was blessed with the company of his family, relatives and friends who had visited him. Not only that, but it’s part of the custom of the Central people.
“When I’m in trouble or one of my family members is sick, my wantoks and fellow tribesmen or family members visit me at the hospital and buy food and I would do the same for them. This happens every day,” Tau said.
“If my wantoks or family members don’t visit me now and when they fall sick, I will not visit them.
“That’s life in Central province. It’s a norm in Central.”
A month later I called Tau and found out that Belesa had passed away.
By Tabitha Nero