LONG AGO MY VILLAGE PEOPLE of Wanigela in the Central Province lived harmoniously. They shared common bonds by living, cooperating and working together in everyday life. But one day something happened which separated some people from my village.
Altogether there are 17 clans in my village. One day some people from the Marugai clan went to the bush - hunting and gathering food. On their way they came across some dead trunks from some fallen mangrove trees.
They stopped to cut up the trunks for firewood and also to extract the edible worms. Worms from dead mangrove tree trunks are good and tasty, either cooked or eaten raw when they have been washed and cleaned properly.
The people collected plenty of edible worms and firewood from the dead mangrove trunks and returned to the village. They planned to return to their find and get more worms and firewood the next day.
But the news of the discovery reached some other people from the same clan and they went out very early the next day and collected the worms and returned to the village before they were discovered.
When the people who had discovered the dead mangrove trunks returned to the spot later in the morning, they discovered that the worms had been stolen and none were left. This upset them and made them uneasy and they went home after cutting some firewood and hunting birds and animals.
Back in the village they found out who the culprits were, and a fight arose among the people within the Marugai clan.
After the fight, the original victims vowed to leave the clan and the village of Wanigela. They began to build a lakatoi, or double hulled canoe. It took them several months to build it and, upon its completion, they loaded the lakatoi with food, water and their wives and children and sailed eastwards, after bidding farewell to the village people.
The village people were very sad as they watched their own people sailing away.
And so they sailed eastward towards Milne Bay Province. When they ran out of food and water, they made stopovers at coastal villages. They sailed close to the mainland in case the lakatoi was blown off course.
After sailing for weeks and months they arrived at Samarai in Milne Bay and, after restocking with food and water, sailed northward to Oro and Collingwood Bay.
They found this area was very beautiful with long sandy beaches and swaying palm trees and friendly locals so they decided to settle near Tufi. The locals gave them land to settle on and they built a settlement.
The local people were very sad when they told them the story of why they left their own village and sailed away in search of a new land.
From that time the settlement has grown to become a village and the name given to it was Tufi Wanigela.
The Tufi Wanigela people intermarried with the local people and slowly the culture and language of the old Wanigela disappeared as the new culture and language was adopted.
Today the Tufi Wanigela people still look similar in appearance to those people of Wanigela village in Central Province and, wherever both Wanigelas meet in life, we call ourselves brothers and sisters.
This is how the second village of Wanigela came into existence in Oro Province in Papua New Guinea.