Nurse Charity’s last chat with Sir Michael


NURSE Charity Kiap describes Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare as an amazing man who has touched many hearts.
Charity, 27, from Western Highlands, recalls the time she met Sir Michael at the Port Moresby General Hospital in 2019.
Her shift began at 11pm. When she arrived at the work station, she saw the curtains closed.
A doctor came and asked her if she could transfer the patient to the ward where he had to be admitted. The patient was Sir Michael.
Nurse Charity went to Sir Michael’s bed. Lady Veronica was standing beside it. He greeted Charity with a smile.
Their conversation went something like this:
Nurse Charity: “How are you feeling?”
Sir Michael: I’m feeling good, can I go home now?”
She: “No, please you have to overnight.”
He: “I’m feeling alright, a bit better so I can go home and rest.”
She: “If I happen to send you home, and should anything happen to you along the way, I will have to answer to the nation. So I cannot allow you to go until your blood test is cleared.”
He: “Okay, sorry boss. Now me stap underneath lo lukaut blo you (I am under your care now).”
She: “Thank you for your understanding. Now please allow me to ask you some quick questions. Is that ok with you?
He: “Please (and continues to smile).”
She: “I need your particulars. I will run through and you respond as I go through.”
He: “Yes, yes.”
She: “Have you any dentures?”
He: “Pikinini, olgeta teeth em false teeth me lapun now. (Child, I have false teeth. I am old now)”
She: “Oh sorry. Any hearing aid?”
He: “I was rushing and left it on the table in the room.”
She: “You don’t need it because you can hear me and respond correctly.”
He responded with a smile.
She: “What was for dinner?”
He: “Normal daily meals.”
She: “How was it done?”
He (pointing to Lady Veronica): “The lady that does my meals.”
She: “Very good. Now looks like we’re done. Now I will transfer you to the ward.”
He: “Okay.”
She started to push the bed but Sir Michael protested.
She: “Confused, uh?”
He: “Me less lo backside blo you buruk (I don’t want your back to break).”
She: “I’ve been doing this for years.”
He: “No, pikinini, bai you nonap pushim me lo bed, me no laikim backside blo you biruk. You’re too young. Yu holim hand blo me na me wokobaut. (Child you won’t push me on the bed. I don’t want your back to break. You hold my hand and we walk).”
Nurse Charity tried to talk him out of it: “No, you might get weak and won’t walk properly. Bai painim wheelchair bai alright lo kisim you go? (I will go find a wheel chair for you).”
Sir Michael: “Yes.”
She went to find a wheelchair and returned to Sir Michael’s bed, apologising for the delay.
He asked her where she was from.
She: “I’m a Papua New Guinean.”
He: “I like that response. Please come and shake my hands.”
She: “Oh thank you!”
He: “What’s your name again?”
She: “My name is Charity.”
He: “I will never forget that name.”
She: “Please remember it, never forget Charity.”
He: “Do you know how to speak Motu?”
She (replying in Motu): “Lau Diba Lasi (I don’t know).”
They both laughed.
He: “You know Motu. I will never forget Charity.”
She: “Thank you, please don’t.”
Nurse Charity will never forget that day. She can still see Sir Michael’s smile today.
She, like the rest of a grateful nation, will always remember him.
Nurse Charity’s final words: “Rest in peace. Until we meet again Sir Michael!”