Pariva: a personal connection

Weekender

By ISAAC LIRI
STANDING on the cliffs of Kerema Coronation High School, I could see the waves gently crashing onto the beach below.
From my vantage point, the view was magnificent.
Gulf’s renowned musician Basil Greg sang about the beauty of this particular stretch of the beach in his song titled Pariva Miri and anyone who has visited Kerema town would agree that Pariva beach has a certain magic about it.
I definitely wasn’t the first to be mesmerised by the tranquil beauty they call Pariva, hundreds or thousands of others before me have experienced the same charm it weaves around them.
On a typical Kerema weekend, the young and old, residents of the township including people of the nearby villages of Siviri and Ilakaeraeta, or ‘local tourists’ like me throng to this part of the beachside.
I just had to walk down to the water’s edge to feel the cool of the sand under my feet, as the waves splashed onto the beach.
The velvety black sand, smell of salt, and sound of the waves crashing lulled my mind as I immersed myself in my surroundings, putting all other matters of the world on temporary pause.
It had been a long, long time since I had last walked barefoot by the sea, or in a place where crowds of people and noise seem like something
Looking beyond the horizon I could see what they call the west port of Gulf, places that seem so close, but are yet far off because they are no connected by road.
People there can also see the Pariva and Kerema way off in the horizon.
But the only way one can cross to the other side is travel by sea.
Rain was starting to fall as my gaze moved to the mountains in the horizon. Kaintiba, the place is called.
I thought of how isolated it would be to be living in those areas, without some of the comforts of town or city life.
Maybe they didn’t have to worry about buying food, or water from shops. They had heaps of those.
They didn’t have to pay rent like us city folks.
But they also have sicknesses and diseases that plagued them.
They want their children to go to school.
They want a road that would connect them to Kerema and Port Moresby, the capital of the country.
But they don’t have health services that really work.
They don’t have proper schools, fully staffed with teachers.
They don’t have roads. If only I was Governor for a day, I thought to myself.
Leaving Pariva behind, I walked towards Kerema wharf and Hiri beach. My thoughts flew to how, in the olden days, the Motuans sailed their huge lagatois, loaded with clay pots, to Gulf in search of sago.
Did they see the beauty of the place as I am seeing it now, I pondered.
There may, or there might not have been many people around when they pulled to shore on their giant ocean-faring sail canoes.
How did they even know that there was sago in this part of the country, let alone people.
I quickly snapped out of my reverie as I closed in on Hiri Beach half an hour later.
The walk by the sea had been the highlight of my weekend to Kerema.
Before we set off for Port Moresby, there was one last thing that I needed to do.
Salute Pariva beach for its hospitality, and for the stories that it told me during my glorious walk on the sand.
If you do go to Pariva Beach one day, it might indeed have a story for you too.

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