My name is Melody Neneth Gemelaia and I come from a mixed parentage of Central and Milne Bay. I was born on 16 January 1994 at the Port Moresby General Hospital. I come from a single parent family and I am the only girl in the family along with my two handsome brothers that makes us three. I will tell you the story of how my life begins and where I am today.
Chapter 1 - My childhood
MY BIRTH WAS LIKE A NIGHTMARE to my grandmother, who later became my namesake. Nightmare in a sense, as during that time, my parents were struggling.
My jobless dad became very ill, whilst my typist mother worked very hard to make ends meet. This surely made my grandmother all steamed up like a volcano waiting to erupt.
She sure did put mummy through a hard time because mum was the only one working and being
pregnant all of a sudden made my grand-ma very disappointed, that she never got
well with this situation.
After all the hardship that my mum went through before my birth, she finally gave birth to me
after nine months of painful and sleepless nights. What a joy it was to my mother! She had to finally carry me in her loving arms as close as she could like every mother does to her newborn child.
Rushing through the door came grandma. She was already informed that the baby she never wanted was a girl, which made her eager to name me as soon as possible. Mum was speechless in having such joy and relief of giving birth to a healthy baby.
getting upset with mum and helped mum by washing my nappies, for the joy of finally naming me. I had a very long name at first, which was “Iraukaro”which referred to granny’s pride of having the most unique singing voice back in the village. This name meant “unique voice”.
But mum thought it was a bit boastful so she decided to translate my name back in English which is “Melody”.
It was not just a coincidence on how my name came about.
Music was a part of my mum’s family, as they had very strong Christian
backgrounds,and knew how to name their children. The grace of God brought peace
and joy to our family on that very day.
And because of how awesome He is, He solved the problem.
Despite what had happened, my early child hood was full of fun, but sometimes disturbed because most of the time my mum had to work and I was baby sited at home by my mother’s sisters. Mum had a very challenging career and she often times flew out of Port Moresby on business trips, leaving myself and my big brother under the care of parents and sisters.
On some few occasions, she would go on longer trips, lasting aboutfew weeks.However, she alwaysbrought something back for us to make us feel happy, and we were always grateful. My mother was (and still is) a very intelligent woman. She never seemed to give up on our family. She kept working to at least put us in school and buy what we wanted. She was very strong in the upbringing of me and my big brother during her marriage to my father.
I experienced my first painful moment,in those early childhood days, which left a scaron my right leg, which I still have today. This happened when mum went away on a training program to Manila, Philippines. I was playing piggy back with my younger aunts and my big brother. Somehow, I ended up falling on to a hot pot that gave me a bruise, and my leg became badly swollen up to the time my mother returned from her trip. She was very disappointed but took me to the doctor who treated me.
I learnt how to sing at a very early age and loved the attention given to me by daddy because he would tape or record me sometimes when I sang. My favourites were mostly songs by HillSongs. Dad was also a very special part of me and he was the one person who really groomed me with dressing and hairstyles as well. He would doll me up every time he saw dirt on me and even applied the same to my big brother.
My early schooling year started at Gerehu Community
School in 2000 where I
did my elementary schooling. I was happy to meet new friends and enjoyed the
fun and the feeling of waking up early, getting dressed in my school uniform,
wearing a pair of white socks and black shoes alongside with my bag and hair
combed up in a mickey-mouse barn.
I can imagine how funny I looked. But to my parents, I looked cute with this hairstyle. In my view, my early learning was not really effective, because my mum and dad had their own personal problems to sort out which really affected me in so many ways. I missed school sometimes and even stayed away for a very longerperiods.
Staying away was fun because I had all the time in the world to play with my dolls and my cousins and run around our yard screaming our heads off.
After sometime, I finally realised that my parents were no longer talking to each other. How I wished I knew what was happening. But as an innocent child at very early age of four, everyday was like sunshine. Therefore, I was not really bothered about this misunderstanding I had within me.
To my surprise, I was one day sent home to the village with my big brother to stay with my grannies,hoping that it was a temporary arrangement, and that mum would see us after things were sorted out with herself and my dad.
To be honest, I felt a hole in my heart staying away from mum and dad. I would cry during the night but got over it has my grannies would take us out for a swim, or to the gardens during the day times. Part of my life was spent with my two loving grandparents. I ate and slept with them. I gradually became a part of their world and also ended up calling them mum and dad.
My big brother and I went through the hard way in life, and life as we know it was never fair to us. We managed to adapt to this rough life and survived some of the worst experiences. Nevertheless, we were always comforted and looked after by God’s grace, peace and protection.
Prayer became a part of me at a very early age about 5years old. I never gave up praying every morning, as I awoke up to a brand new day, sunrise to sunset, and even before I retired to bed, I would pray about my family.
My family was breaking apart every day with every inch and piece. I thought I was still linked,but I realised I was slowly falling into pieces. I never knew what was happening. I had questions in my head but never dared to ask because I was so afraid of losing everything.
I sometimes had heaps and a lot more fun playing with my big brother. But the fun always ended, when a consciously realisedthe missing part - seeing my mum and dad watching me and my brother playingand enjoying ourselves. I never dared to ask why I was feeling this way, at the same time wondered if my big brother also felt the same.
I became independent without my parents both in and out of my life between the ages of 5 and 6, the very crucial ages when a child desperately needs the attention and love from their parents. I never had that. But I did wish they never left us on our own during this time.
I was strong enough to get through this with my big brother assuring me that -“everything will turn out just right, I’m always here for you and I will never leave you all on your own.’’ I had that in mind and felt as if he was mum.
We returned to Port Moresby, hoping to finally make up for the days we missed our parents. Only to find out we were both transferred to Coronation Primary School all at the same time. I was really happy to see mum on the day we returned.
We stayed with her for a while and enjoyed the attention we were having. A mothers love and affection heals wounds and tears. It was not long after she had to let go of me and my big brother leaving us behind with dad.
Recalling that day, I remember my big brother and I crying holding on tight to mummy’s blouse telling her not to let go of us. Pleading with heron why she was doing this to us, why she had lie to us all this time. Only to find out she would never be there for us. She eventually did let go of us.
It was really painful, and I felt as if my world ended on that very day. She handed us over to dad, the idea that we had never agreed to face. We went homecrying and never wanted to eat, bath or even play. The pain of not seeing mum was too much to swallow that we cried ourselves to sleep the first few weeks.
Dad tried everything to make us happy but they never worked. Even though we smiled and enjoyed his attention,we still felt as if there was still a space left for mum to fill. We stayed with dad and began to adapt to another new life.
I grew up with a lot of disappointments and often questioned why my parents had to put us through this experience. I always cried every single night but never gave up praying to see mum once again. Big bro ended up on the streets and stayed with my Sepik brothers almost every day. But he never left me alone when I needed him the most.
My big brother became more like mum. He would bath me, comb my hair tell me to stop crying. Sometimes heard himsaying, “Mum does not need us anymore so grow up! If she really kept her promise, she would never leave us”. And we both would cry as at times, we would go hungry because there was never a mother like ours there for us.
Dad became alcoholic and very violent. He remarried to a new lady and she was good to us. But they both would fight and swear which really drilled my skull, with pain and disturbance. This sure did affect me physiologically and I skipped school and became very emotionally timid.
The pain was too much to bear, and made me feel that in this world I could not trust anyone ever in my life, that people would always end up breaking my heartwith countless lies.
I grew up with a lot of disturbance. I had no sense of happiness and felt that no one ever cared about me. I somehow made friends with the Goroka people and I lived as if I was part of them. I ate, played and sometimes slept with them and learnt how to speak just a few words in their language.This was really fun! I did maintain my spiritual growth though, by attending few different churches with my close friends but never left home. I enjoyed my stay with dad despite the hardships I went through during my stay. He was still my father after all.
I found my peace in God and talked to him more often and would sometimes have my big brother laughing at me as if I was talking to myself, without knowing how close I came to bond my relationship with God. I never gave up on my only prayer of seeing mum. I eventually forgave her but big bro thought my prayer was dumb!
What are heartfelt of having people laughing at your desires? This never stopped me or moved me. I knew my prayers would all be answered. The life I had was only built around broken pieces, tears and questions but! My new life with God alone was starting to look perfect as if there were no tears, brokenness and the feeling of being left out.
My childhood was probably a nightmare to a rich kid. It was very funny, sad, boring but I never stopped growing my hair. As a child I did get into fights, got bullied and even had few names called like; “barbie”, “kus mambo” although I never had running nose I was surprised, to be given this nick name.
Giving of a huge sigh! And just thinking back on those days they were the hardest days, yet very hilarious and most enjoyable days of my life. Funny how we all leave our lives we always overcome few situations and challenges making us brave and strong.
This was just the first, one oflife’s most difficult struggles which a young girl can ever overcome. My faith in God remains as well as my love and time must all be under His care. I live today onHis promises and His blessings.
The difficult days I had, made me become strong and very emotional that I feel no one in this world will ever fool me into lies. Growing up was very tough and I had almost quite a good number of rough edges but I did get through the situation and learnt to respect other people’s decisions and feelings.
Chapter 2 - Prayers answered with another storm
In 2006, my one and only prayer began to unfold before my eyes. I managed to find contacts to mum and just imagine the joy I had! I finally met her for lunch after six solid years. Mum was into her second marriage, and had my little step-brother. I would smile as I got dropped off by her at dad’s place. We talked and cried in most of our lunch meetings.
She would ask me how my big bro was and I would always update her on his recent mischiefs and even contempt myself trying my best not to spill out the naughty ones. I smile as I write about my life. It’s not as easy as it seems. My mother was the best part of me and the more I met up with her the more I wanted to see her. Six years was too much.
I finally wanted to escape and leave with mum. That day was the funniest day of my life. Escape? What was I possibly thinking! I managed to talk to her if I could stay with her for a while and she said yes. I jumped up and down and did the most, funniest dance I never done in my life.
One thing left to do was to ask dad if he could release me. It was very hard to do this because I already knew what he was going to say which, was ano. But I went and asked him he laughed at first and said “are you crazy”? I said I was serious so he told me to go and never go back to him.
I packed my stuff crying that night, on the other hand,worrying about my big brother’s feelings. Heharboured the pain of what mum did to us in the past which made him hate mum even more. He also told me to never return. I felt sad but I really needed to go because of my safety. At least my prayer was answered as I thought then, unknowing that another storm, a huge one was coming my way.
Mum picked me up the next day and took me home to her new family. This was my first night with her and her new family. Her husband at that time also had his children living with them from his previous marriage. In my view, the nvironment within the house was not very inviting for a new comer like me.
I enjoyed leaving with mum and it was fun meeting up with my step baby brother. Life was going smoothly and I still kept my bond with God and always prayed and thanked him in any circumstances. I attended church with mum and her family and thought everything was going great.
On the other hand, I never knew my step dad was also violent. He was okay at first. But as the days went by, I started to see his true hidden colours that he never wanted to see me in their house.
My feelings were horrible, even though I had good times with them. I didn’t like the way I was treated at mum’s place. I realised both homes were the same. I just needed one of my parents to speak out for me. Nothing ever changed then, but I never gave up. I guess I had nowhere to go so I just had to cope with it.
I stayed and still cried in the night and was missing my big brother every time I felt down. But I had no one to turn too. My only hope was in mum so I had to stay. They had couple of arguments, which was evident every morning.But where else could I go? I would look down and pretend as if everything was just fine.
Finally, one night they started to argue, and before my very eyes for the very first time in my life, I saw someone hit the most beautiful woman I had missed for six years, over her fragile face! I cried and didn’t know what to do. I picked up my step baby brother and joined mum later on.
I came to my senses that my mum had to choose me over her new husband. For the first time in my life, I felt that she still cared for me and she still loved me no matter what. Being a very brilliant person I have come to know, we both packed our stuff in the night and left that violent person alone with his children the next day.
Life was getting even tougher after we moved out. Mum managed to work on her own,at the same time getting over what was probably painful for her at that time, however, I could not tell. But I had my mum with me and that was what I ever wanted. My small step baby bro was also living with us.
We then got sent home once again to the village. This time with me and my baby bro and I felt responsible. I was transferred home and I enjoyed the school in the village which was not that bad. It was safe, clean and very peaceful. I took care of my baby bro until the day mum found a house at North Waigani and we both moved back to Port Moresby to join her.
I again went back to Coronation Primary School to continue my primary schooling but I really missed the environment back in the village. I got over it in no time and I managed to catch up once again and meet up with my friends whom I also missed. My baby bro was very adorable and I would spend time more often with him.
After having another chance to finally come back to Port Moresby, I continued praying formy big bro to also return to mum. And again, my prayers were answered! After few weeks, he started to pay a visit which was really fun. He was happy to see mum again and they began to bond again in the next few days and weeks that followed.
Life started looking good. We were all living with mum and we had a good time with her. There is nothing compared to a mother’s love and affection, which in my view is much more stronger than anything apart from God. My life was starting to look brighter than before.
I was happy but I still had the fear of people breaking my heart. I was still working on trusting people. I found my happiness in Christ alone and I started to attend music camps with my big bro all the way learning how to play musical instruments.
My mother’s second born and only brother is a pastor and because of him my big bro and I started going to church and attended almost all the camps held by the church. It was very inspiring and encouraging. We even met more new friends through these types of gatherings.
After some time, my big brother suddenly having dry coughs, and eventually was diagnosed as having TB. He undertook all the necessary checks and as put on the six monthly doses, after which he was healed and recovered.This became one of mummy’s first heart aches. As time went by, knowing this dreadful sickness which is known to be air bond, I fell ill from it in 2009 and never thought I would survive.
Again another challenge for my poor heroic mum. I went really pale yellow every day, and I started to grow weak every time I did my chores. I will never forgetthe morning I coughed up very thick blood cloths. I was really scared and my granny walked in to help me.
Mum took me to the doctors and straight away they put me through an x-ray and I went through some tests on TB and the doctors found out that the left side of my lung was inflamed, which caused me to throw up a huge amount of blood. I was rushed to the emergency ward on that same night after coughing up more blood.
I was weak and scared. People at the“Emergency” were dying right before my eyes made me feel cold my eyes were shut. All I could hear was my big bro holding on to my hand saying “he would always be there for me no matter what. Please don’t leave us, not now!”I was put a drip on that same night.
I stayed with mum and granny at the emergency ward till morning and got admitted to Ward4B. I couldn’t stop throwing up blood and the sight of the ward made me really scared. The smell of the hospital was horrible and there were people crying almost every day to the loss of their family members.
The fear of death came right in front of me. The same bed which I was allocated was previously used by a person who had passed on a few minutes before we entered the ward. My nights were painful. I never slept well as the bitterness in my tongue from the taste of the 12 tablets I took every morning lingered like a nightmare.
I had injections every night. I would fall asleep with pain and I felt sad when I saw my mother sleeping under my bed. Both she and grandma would take turns in bathing me and even cleaning me on the bed. I felt like life was really mean to me and I was waiting for the day when I would die. I had this in mind but this was not what God had planned.
I stayed 3 weeks in the ward with sleepless nights and never thought I’d be okay after some time. I had a vision one night, and a voice said to me while I was still on my sick bed, that I would be released on a Wednesday and after one week, my mother would get a call to a new job with a good pay package. I just listened and guess what? It all happened the way it had occurred. I was purely healed and after one week my mum did get a call to a new job.
From that moment on, I knew it was from God. I was really happy to finally go back home. I missed the children in the house, the sound of cars and even drunkards on the street with their nonsense. I would sit out most of the time during my first week and just enjoy the cool breeze I really missed.
My life involves a lot of ups and downs and a lot of challenges and temptations that come my way. The days I face, each day are not the same as the ones faced by my friends ormy family. I love my life despite the fact,that it has complications to it.
I believe everyone’s life is designed in a way that there will always be a down fall, a mistake to make and a lesson to learn from. I stayed at home recovering bit by bit and I missed out in my first feeling of high school but I managed to repeat the following year. I enjoyed my stay at home and started to gain my strength once again.
While I was at home there were few things I learnt. Doing more chores and helping out by cleaning the yard, keeping myself busy. However, it did really affectme when I saw my school mates going to school but I had a condition so didn’t talk to them and I kept to myself.
I would dust the windows and rearrange the couch and tables in the house just to keep myself busy and sometimes text with mum while she was at work.
I finally managed to fully recover and complete my entire dose all in 6months time. The following year I was told that I was going to be enrolled here at Port Moresby Grammar School, this was in 2010. I was so excited knowing how awesome this school is. I couldn’t wait!
Uniforms and the necessary school gears were bought on time because I was really looking forward to. Nevertheless,I was a bit nervous at first about the school standard. On the other hand, I was ready to give it a try after all the disturbances I had being through.
The first thing the noticed about the school was respect and punctuality. I got enrolled, registered and was walked to the class by one of our seniors who has already left the school. It was really noisy when I entered the room. Everyone was sited with their friends. I walked in and occupied one of the first seats in front.
The bell rang for recess and as everyone rushed out, I made my way out slowly and eventually met a new smiley Yolandrea English, who later became my closest and one of my best friends. We introduced ourselves and shared my lunch.
My first day here was great I enjoyed the day. I went home
and told mum all about how my day went while she was in the kitchen. We lived at Garden Hills at that time. I went out to the varendahand I chewed a
betel nut and went back in to wash my uniforms.
My first year was even better. I participated in most of the school activities, such as the Foundation Day, Community Day Out which was the best one of them, including the Mini Concert and finally the Christmas Concert as well.
The feeling of the school is none compared to the other schools I’ve been to.It is like the best school I’ve ever come across so far. The teachers are friendly but just a few teachers who are very strict when it comes to getting work done on time. I adapted to the school and settled down.
I later met Anestha, Sharon, and Kathriella. We would hang out most of the time but sometimes didn’t like the way Kathriella treated Sharon so we all started to get really close. The three girls in my life are Yolandrea, Sharon and Anestha funny how we all make fun but our friendship is the best.
These three girls have the habit of waiting for me to bring lunch. It is funny when you think about, it but they have a place in my heart. We go through tough times but we sure enjoy hanging out and love making practical jokes about certain things which I won’t forgot.
High school one of the best and will always remain the coolest schooling years.
Chapter 3 - The new beginning
My days in Pom Grammar are the best. Staying with mum is like being on a vacation on an island where there’s nothing to worry about. Every single day of my life always starts with a new beginning and ends with a battle fulfilled.
Every year I face seems to always have its own temptations and challenges. My big brother is an artist and he has a hip hop dance crew which is known as the “Cross Beez”. The boys all come together at our residence and play their loud music and laugh like they are on some sort of island on their own.
Sometimes, I would sit and watch and even laugh at their non-sense jokes and sometimes enjoy the dance and watch closely with amazement the sort of stunts they do, which really gets my attention. These boys became part of big bro and even part of us.
They would sometimes spend the weekend with us, eat and even spend the night. They moved freely at our place and did whatever they wanted to do, eat or strum the guitar and even sometimes watch TV with us.
Having them over was fun but I would sometimes wake up very early to make their breakfast and sometimes dinner. I love it when my house if crowded even though it may sound awkward, but the feeling of every one being together makes me really happy.
One of the boys ended up dislocating his knee and mum had
to rush in to help.This happened a long time ago and the boys really respect my
mother as much as I do. I never went through any difficulties during this year,
which is totally a new beginning to which was last year. Since then, my life has been covered by the
grace of God.
The new things that were happening in my life were amazing. I started to open up to friends and share my secrets and it was fun. In my life I have my one and only inspiration which is my mother. She comes home and talks to me about work as if I even work with her. But I listen, and familiarise myself with a lot of terms which she uses, and I learna lot from them.
So far, I have had no family disturbance or even sickness that fell on any of my siblings as well as mum. Weekends are the worst, as I have to clean up, do more chores and even more chores. I have met a few more friends from Papa and Lealea the girls who really made me laugh during our camp outs.
I have also begun to learn a lot more new things at school, and have been encouraging myself to keep it going until I complete Year 12, and prepare for what the Lord has in store for me.