MI IGAT LIKLIK SEM. It is a remorse stemming from a recent encounter with an admired contributor to PNG Attitude, Francis Sina Nii.
Having been informed through articles by or about Francis, I was aware of his paraplegia caused by a disastrous vehicle accident some years ago.
I had been delighted to see him attend a Crocodile Prize function in Port Moresby last year. And I know he was there the year before. I realised just how much organisation and effort it took for those feats to be accomplished.
Francis’s writings on many subjects have informed and entertained me.
So, on a whim last week, I determined to take the level of our acquaintance from the odd email to a conversation.
Despite the unpredictability of the phone service, I finally got through to Francis’s mobile phone.
As we talked, I became aware that, since his return from the literary function last year, he’d been bedridden because of pressure sores, not even able to use his wheelchair.
I was nonplussed because his communications over the past year never showed a trace of these difficulties.
I was mortified to learn, further, that all his writing are laboriously composed flat on his back through the tiny keys and screen of his mobile phone.
Francis, with stoicism and courage, has a complete acceptance of his lot.
I was full of remorse. How am I to love my neighbour?
I knew that a few words of comfort sentimentally cloaked in philosophical overtones would not do.
Francis would still be on his back with no certain prospect of improvement in sight.
The fact that a year had passed since many of us witnessed his personal appearance in Port Moresby had dulled my sensitivity to his daily discomforts.
But I had benefited mightily from his literary offerings.
It did not seem like a fair exchange.
Even as we lauded Francis’s writings and congratulated his prowess as he won the 2013 Crocodile Essay Prize, the ugliness of his personal situation stirred my conscience.
I am sure the body of friends and neighbours who are in this wide and global PNG Attitude community will lament with me the condition Francis finds himself enduring.
So we have formed a small group, specialist knowledge has been sought and a list of needs compiled to refurnish Francis with the means of regaining his physical dignity.
His healing is to be aided by provision of special equipment – and even more than that if your funding contributions enable it.
I trust that you will find it in your hearts the means of demonstrating fellowship to this fine man and fine writer by contributing as you are able to a fund designed to alleviate some of Francis’s challenges.
You can donate through a bank transfer as follows:
Australia & Rest of World
Account: Crocodile Prize
Branch: Noosa Civic, Noosaville
Account No: 392-865-774
Papua New Guinea
Account: Simbu Children Foundation
Bank: Bank South Pacific
Branch: Port Moresby
Account No: 100-124-0413
Drop us an email here when you’ve made the bank transfer and tell us your name including a message for Francis too if you like.
If you don’t do electronic banking, you can send a cheque to the Crocodile Prize at PO Box 1688, Noosa Heads, Queensland 4567.