BEGINNING her education at an elementary school in Somba Siawari (dialect of her father’s village Mindik) in Burum Kuat local level government of Finschhafen District little did Charlottee Aloha Okawiong know about that one day she will graduate with Masters Degree in Soil and Water Engineering.
She is the second daughter of five siblings (girls) and one adopted brother to father Kotty Batong Okawiong of Mindik and mother Geyam Moses Okawiong of Buasic village in Salamaua LLG who were teaching at Mindik Primary School and did Grade one to Grade five there.
Recently Charlottee’s family hosted a banquet in appreciation of her achievement in graduating from the National Pintung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan (ROC) and invited bureaucrats from the Morobe Government and Administration, and others to celebrate her success by slaughtering two pigs and putting up a big feast.
On her education journey the 30 year old Charlottee is thankful to Summer Institute of Linguistic (SIL) translators Soini Olkonnen and wife Kaya Olkkonnen from Finland in Europe who came and lived with Burum, Mindik, Borong, and Mape people in Finschhafen District in early 1980s.
“They introduced adult literacy classes and elementary education in our local vernaculars other than Katec language of the coastal people of Finschhafen which the early missionaries had introduced together with gospel in the late 1900s.
The Kate New Testament was translated into ‘Johojoho Dolokngi’ for Burum Mindik vernacular speakers, ‘So-omongo Glia’ for Borong vernacular speakers and ‘Jojofoc Garine’ for Mape vernacular speakers.
“Adult literacy classes assisted illiterate people to read bibles whilst younger children were introduced to basic education skills to read and write.
“I am the product of this important spiritual development and I humbly thank God, Bible Translation Association (BTA), Summer Institute of Linguistic (SIL), Donor countries, Government of Papua New Guinea and not forgetting the hard working local literacy workers.”
In the year 2005 Charlottee transferred to Bubia Primary School outside Lae city from Mindik and lived with her uncle Francis Kitchnoge and aunty Sing Kitchnoge (dad’s sister) who was a Primary school teacher.
The Kitchnoges have been a greatest inspiration to Charlottee and challenged her to work harder to reach their level.
Frankly speaking her cousins were well discipline and intelligent siblings in everything they did so she have to work harder to be like them too.
The eldest sibling Hildah Kitchnoge won a scholarship to Australia then to University of Technology and graduated with Bachelor of Food Technology Degree.
Second sibling David Kitchnoge completed grade 10 at Dregerhafen High School in 1996 with Dux award.
The administration of Dregerhafen High School awarded David with four piglets and two goats for being the Dux student in whole of Morobe and was offered a class at Divine word University and where he graduated with Bachelor of Accounting Degree.
Third sibling Dennis Kitchnoge also graduated from Divine Word University with Bachelor of Accounting Degree.
One of their sister Sindore Kitchnoge graduated from Kaindi Teachers College with Diploma in Primary School teaching. The two youngest siblings Desmond and Trevor Kitchnoge also completed their tertiary education and all of them are now working and living in Nations Capital.
“I can recall my humble aunty Sing Kitchnoge who would sit down quietly and recite thank fully “Kembu saiwap” for everything we did which pleased her most and signalling us to come and eat by calling “Neneng” the most favourite verse we would hungrily wait in vain to hear from her.”
“I was the first female in Burum Kuat to graduate with Bachelor of Tropical Agriculture from University of Natural Resources and Environment in Vudal campus, Rabaul, East New Britain in 2015.
“Being employed by Division of Agriculture and Livestock in Morobe Administration for two and half years. I won a scholarship to National Pingtung University of Science and Technology in TAIWAN R.O.C in 2018 -2020 and graduated with Masters Degree in Soil and Water Engineering in 2020.”
“I pay homage to Uncle Songo Tara from Mindik village who was one of the pioneer student who graduated from Vudal Agriculture College with Diploma in Tropical Agriculture in the late 1970s and later received his Diploma in High School Teaching from then Goroka Teachers College and became an Agriculture teacher teaching in High Schools.”
Moreover, Charlottee also salute and honour her late grandfather Okawiong Tiweyong Romoke for being the first native from Hube area to cultivate and own a Coffee Plantation numbering 2,000 in Amblat valley in Mindik village in the year 1956.
This bold step encouraged and motivated coffee cultivation in entire Hube area.
Though there wasn’t any form of service visible in the hinterlands of Finschhafen at that time.
“Our fore fathers were brave, bold and courage’s Didimans who fought vigorously to lay down foundation for Economic Development in Finschhafen, Morobe and Papua New Guinea.
“It is believed that coffee seed was brought by early missionaries to Finschhafen with the Word of God in the 1800s.The following are the powerful sons of Hube who were pioneer Didimans who established Didiman station in the newly declared Pindiu Patrol Post in the late 1960s under colonial administration.”
“Kosowaleng Tiweyong and Goraseng Kulewong from Mindik village, Tala Alek from Kotken village in Burum, Timbangu Sililimbe and Qau Misarieng from Gemaheng village, Gindi Liko from Gaeng village in Pindiu and other notable men from Deduac, Mape, Kotec and Yabim areas in Finschhafen.
“I pay respect and homage to the pioneer Didimans whose names aren’t mentioned also for your contribution in laying down foundation for Morobe as the Industrial hub of Papua New Guinea.”
“My word of appreciation to Department of Morobe and Morobe Provincial Government under the governorship of Honorable Ginson Saonu for your advice and assistance.”
In God I trust and prosper.
- Story courtesy of Kotty Okawiong