Students harassed while carrying out awareness in the highlands

Lae News, Normal

The National, Friday 06th January 2012

A GROUP of university students risked their lives in parts of the Highlands region while carrying out an election awareness campaign during the festive period.
The 12-member nation-building entity, comprising Christian students from the University of Technology, conducted the first nationwide tour by a group of tertiary students to educate Papua New Guineans about having
a positive polling culture.
The group were threatened by armed gunmen in tribal fighting zones, experienced hunger, were confronted by drunks and escaped death on treacherous road conditions.
They said the Highlands was the hardest region to educate people who were deeply loyal to politicians because of their tribal affiliation.
At one point they proceeded into a no-go zone while other vehicles were fleeing and came upon a roadblock manned by heavily armed warriors.
They then left their vehicles armed with their Bibles and confronted the warriors.
They were allowed through but before leaving they politely negotiated and asked the armed men to remove their roadblock.
Nation Building Entity members Israel Ano and Nehemiah Serry said their faith and reliance on God saw them overcome these trials.
“We spent the Christmas and New Year on the road, we were doing it for the nation so we had to sacrifice our free time away from our families,” Ano said.
They spent one week each in Hela, Enga, Southern Highlands, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands, three days in Chimbu and one day in Kainantu.