By KELVIN JOE
THE people of Kakome village in Koroba-Lake Kopiago in Hela have lost a decent son, elite and educated young man who had once brought pride to the province by navigating the high seas seas between Australia and Papua New Guinea over the last few years.
All their struggles and hopes in investing in a young man’s education turned into sadness and pain recently.
The late Captain Daniel Matiabe, 28, completed his studies at the PNG Maritime College in Madang in 2015 and worked with two reputable shipping companies before he met his fate on Dec 30 last year.
“Daniel took our pride, hope and strength away and left us in shock,” elder sister Sharon told The National.
“I have been living in the village where I always struggled to pay his school fees so that he could one day help improve our lives.”
Daniel was one of the two men in the province to become ship captains when he graduated at Madang Maritime College in 2015.
Daniel was born in 1992 to missionary parents Kabubara Matiabe and Payepu in Kakome village in Hela’s North Koroba area. He had two elder sisters, Sharon and Essi.
He had just started a family and had two children, Yungu Matiabe (three years) and two-months-old Jobson Kenewai.
Daniel attended Kusiebi Community School in Hela from 1999 to 2003, before he transferred to Port Moresby where he completed Grade eight at Ororo Primary School in 2007.
He went to Dela Salle Secondary School where he did Grade 9 and Grade 10 from 2008 and 2009. He continued Grade 11 and Grade 12 at Kilakila Secondary from 2010 to 2011.
Daniel then secured a three-years training course at the Maritime College in 2012.
He did his practical with Consort Express Lines for 18 months before he was employed on the mv Momase Express, a Lutheran Shipping Service vessel.
He used to ferry containers between Port Moresby and Queensland, Australia while working for Consort Shipping company. His families, friends and relatives were shocked and saddened when he passed away at Port Moresby General Hospital after complaining of a “stomachache” a few days before his passing in December.
As captain of the mv Momase Express, he was based in Lae and has been travelled through the Bismarck Sea to Rabaul, Kavieng and Buka, and returned to Lae, over the past two years.
Daniel’s cousin brother Nelson Buni describes him as a humble, independent and easy-going person in the community.
“He was never been involved in any bad habits such as drinking beer, smoking and chewing betel nut and gambling
“Daniel was a healthy and respectful person who treated everybody equally.”
Tribesman, Dominic Kalewa said villagers saw Daniel as a young tree that would grow big and provide shade to everyone one day.
“But his life has been shortened early and that took us by surprise. We are confused and shocked. The families gathered together because we did not expect him to leave us this early.”
Final contributions would be made by family, friends and colleagues today to repatriate Daniel’s body back to his final resting place in his village in Koroba.