LEONARD FONG ROKA
This is associated with marriage.
This wisdom really is a norm in central and south Bougainville; unlike the north where it is not that evident.
In most Bougainville communities I am familiar with (Nasioi, Koromira, Eivo, Nagovis, Banoni, Siwai), the village concept is rapidly dying out. In post crisis Bougainville, there is hardly a village community in existence.
The 10-year Bougainville civil conflict contributed to the rapid demise of the village system. The crisis scattered people into refugee camps away from the coast or into the PNG-held care centres thus disturbing the harmonious process of village living.
But in Buin I discovered massive villages still, especially Oria, Laguai and Malabita, and the proverb is still prevalent. But generally in today’s Bougainville, homes are erected within the extended or nuclear family.
In Nasioi society, it is evident that boys as young as six tend to force parents or brothers to built them one-room houses. This is a culture referred to as avakori in Nasioi which means baby-works (both tiny boys’ houses and girls’ little gardens are referred to as avakori).
Avakori, especially for younger girls’ gardens, when brothers or parents support it, contribute to the sustenance of the family.
There is this spirit of independence or self reliance amongst those youngsters practising the old tradition of avakori. Males are equipped to build their own homes and females are able to make gardens that sustain their families when the time for marriage is reached.
As for me, I began avakori in Kupe village at the peak of the Bougainville crisis in 1992. Influenced by my peer group, I began making my own garden backed by my mother and, late in 1993, I began a house of my own supported by a relative.
In my Tumpusiong Valley with modern materials and money from gold at hand, male kids are well engaged with avakori of little houses (see the photograph of my cousin, Tabekau, in his own house that also has electricity) and females run parallel with their own interests.
This has led to change in these areas where the young are becoming the breadwinners since they are more financially independent and not fed by their parents.