Hearo survives six mishaps


IT is quite incredible and some sort of record for a Kerema business man to have survived six dinghy mishaps.
But it is not surprising as in the Gulf of Papua where maunten wara bilong Kerema mix wantaim solwara, accidents involving small craft happen often.
Hearo of Akapiru village, Ihu district has survived six and there is no knowing if he would be lucky a seventh time!
But the simple Kerema man who is now a successful businessman believes in God Almighty for everything he does in life.
“I was involved in all these incidents but by miracles I’m alive with my wife and children. I escaped from death and this is incredible and unbelievable,” Hearo says.
Today, at the age of 45, he gives a lot of time and commitment to the community and continues his support in the tough financial times experienced in the country.
Hearo, a former primary school teacher and public servant in Kerema town, told The National how he survived tragedies when dinghies he and his family traveled capsized in the seas of East and West Gulf of Papua.
“The seas in the Gulf of Papua are very tricky and confuse dinghy operators in good or bad weather. We have lost lives and large amounts of store goods,” he says.
“I taught at very remote primary schools in the province which lacked government basic services and resigned due to my parents’ health conditions.”
Hearo recalls one of the accidents he was involved in when he was traveling to Araimiri Don Bosco Secondary School for his oldest daughter Theresa’s Grade 12 graduation.
He says it was the good Lord that saved his family from the huge waves.
“There is no possibility of survival in these conditions but it was all a miracle for us to swim to safety although we were very exhausted.
Hearo says his daughter, Cecilia, was eight years old at the time. The dinghy capsized off Tairuma Bay in bad weather and was grounded on a sand bank.
He was trying to push his daughter who held onto his shirt collar. He said he called to but she gripped his shirt tightly and didn’t let go. He did this several times but the daughter kept on saying the same thing and refused to let go of her dad.
Cecilia was on the surface while her father was slowly losing strength and about to drown but a big wave washed both of them to the beach. Hearo was unconscious because he had taken in a lot of sea water.
Cecilia is now 17 and in Grade 10 at Kerema Secondary School. She remembers clearly what happened nine years ago and agrees with dad that it was all a miracle that she is still alive today.
Hearo was the deputy board chairman of Araimiri Secondary School and when news of the mishap broke out the graduation ceremony was cut short as the school management, teachers and students and even the parents were concerned about Hearo’s condition at the health centre. However, he was released the same day by the health workers.
“Really I’m blessed because I have a heart for caring and sharing with the communities, churches, women’s fellowship, youths, sports and schools with the little revenue my small business generates.
“This is something I love to do and my family supports me to continue doing that and am proud of it.
“I’m not a millionaire but I do these with all my heart to give back to the community in Kerema town, Ihu, Baimuru, Kikori and also in East Kerema.”
Hearo owns Elore Lodge, a club house and store and is expanding his business in the heart of Kerema town.
During my vacation to Kerema I discovered for myself what sort of person Hearo is.
He took care of my accommodation, meals and transportation as a sign of our new friendship.
I thank Hearo and his family for the kind gesture and wish them well in their future endeavors.