By THOMAS HUKAHU
A MAN who has lived in PNG for as long as it has had its independence has returned to Indonesia’s Papuan province with great optimism.
His family is one of 708 West Papuans that returned to Irian Jaya in November 2009.
Rudolph Itaar first came to PNG as a child in April 1975 and decided to return to his father’s Tobati village in Jayapura under the repatriation programme.
“I would like to thank Sir Michael Somare and PNG for allowing my father and other West Papuans who came to PNG in the time of crisis,” Itaar said last Friday in Port Moresby.
“I returned to my father’s village with great trust in the government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the programme,” Itaar who returned to PNG last month to sort out a few outstanding personal businesses said.
In entering PNG 35 years ago, Itaar and his two brothers and a sister lived with their widower father at Wewak until he passed away in 1994.
Itaar considers himself a Sepik and said he is returning to Jayapura as a Papua New Guinean.
His wife, Cathy from Wuvulu in Manus, and two sons and a daughter have been living in Irian Jaya since last November.
Itaar counts himself very privileged to have been educated in schools in PNG.
Itaar taught for 13 years as a primary school teacher after completing his teacher training at East New Britian’s St Paul’s Vunakanau teachers college.
Itaar decided to return to Jayapura under the repatriation programme which promises a house for the family, education for the children and a job for the adults.
The National asked Itaar if all the promises have been met.
“I am waiting patiently with great hope in the programme. At the moment though my family is eating rice everyday,” Itaar said.