Mum, son graduate from nursing college


WHEN Margaret Manteo went up on stage to receive her certificate as a community health care worker, her son Alex walked up with her.
He too was receiving the same certificate from the Kapuna Nursing College in Gulf which they had attended together.
“It was only through God’s providence that everything happened in my family. We want to go back and help our people in Kotidanga.”
Margaret has three children, and adopted two more.
She had gone through what many girls in Kamea, Gulf, experience – get married early, raise children, then look after the gardens. Completing high school, going to college and getting a paid job is not available to many girls.
She left school after Grade Six in 1987, got married, had three children and tended the gardens. Then her husband deserted her. The future did not look very promising for Margaret.
Then one day in 2008 when she was sitting in the market, she saw an expatriate lady walk past. She had heard that the lady had opened an aid post and was going to operate it in the area.
She quickly stood up and approached her: “My name is Margaret. I am raising three children by myself. If you need any help at all, I am able and willing to help.”
That lady was Lena Allen, an American Baptist missionary who had just opened the aid post in Kotidanga. Their meeting that day struck up a lasting friendship.
“The meeting with Lena was a divine intervention. It was God’s plan that we meet and there was no looking back from there.”
After seven years of working as a volunteer with Lena at the aid post, and with the challenges of raising five children (she adopted two more), she went back to school and completed Grade 10.
She was then accepted by the Kapuna Nursing College with son Alex. She worked hard to find the college fees for her and Alex. And they both successfully completed the course.
Holding her certificate with son Alex by her side was not only a proud moment for her but also a relief and blessing.
Nursing College principal Lucy Gawai praised Margaret and Alex.
“They struggled initially but were able to adapt and complete the two-year programme at the college. I (admire) their commitment and wish them all the best in the future.”
Margaret and Alex need to complete a six-month practical internship programme at the Kapuna Rural hospital before they can go and work for their people in Kotidanga. She knows that Kamea needs more health workers.
She hopes that the Kerema district will sponsor more young people to attend the Kapuna School of Nursing – the only tertiary institution there.
For the Kapuna Nursing College, it was the first time a mother and son had graduated together. They are not from Baimuru or Kikori where the college is located. But it does not matter. They have succeeded together.
Missionary Lena Allen later wrote to Margaret saying how proud she was of her and Alex.
“If we seek God first, His Kingdom and His will in our lives, the desires of our hearts will always be fulfilled.” –

Pictures and story supplied.

Community health workers Alex (left) and his mother Margaret (right)
attending to a patient at the Kapuna Rural Hospital.