Natalie finds strength after loss, honours her late parents


AT every graduation, you would want your parents to witness your big day to be proud of your achievements.
For Natalie Sella, 26, it was different, she walked up to the University of Goroka’s (UoG) 25th graduation ceremony podium with a picture of her late dad Mark Sella in her hand to receive her bachelor in applied science.
“I had no interest to attend my graduation, but later the thought of carrying a picture of my dad with me to receive my degree gave me the strength to attend,” she said.
Natalie, of Sunuhu, Maprik, East Sepik, said losing her dad two weeks before her final-year examinations last year had turned her life upside down.
Her dad raised her and her three siblings since 2007 when they lost their mum Maria Sella.
She recalled the day she received the news from home of her father’s passing a few kilometres from where they lived at Brugam, the South Sea Evangelical Mission (SSEM) station, as tragic and shocking.
“I spoke to my dad that Tuesday morning (Nov 9) and he told me he was on his way to Maprik town to buy my small sister’s ticket for the holidays but he never made it to town,” she said.
Natalie thought she would have been emotional when she went to get her degree but having the photo with her gave her confidence.
“The week we lost our dad, all I could think of were my siblings,” she said, as she recalled that week travelling from Goroka to Madang and then on a boat to Wewak as dreadful but she had to be there for her dad and siblings.
Natalie graduated last Tuesday, dedicating her degree to her late parents as an act of respect and to appreciate and honour their memory.
She is the eldest in a family of three girls and a boy.
She is currently attached with Wewak’s Save the Children and she planned to concentrate on her siblings’ education and livelihood.