I continue the story of Nembare – which I have previously told here, here, here and here – to the present day. My whole story has brought to fore many things that I previously did not realise about this man or the life he led.
WHEREVER Nembare went from his birth place at Omdara, a remotely rugged and mountainous village along the Maril River - to labouring in plantations in Rabaul and in Jiwaka, to settling in his in-laws’ tribe in the Bari tribal land of Kerowagi - he never lost sight of his reasons for being where he was.
He showed extraordinary vision, determination and commitment to his cause. He wanted to work, accomplish his mission and return to his birth place where he knew his toils would not be denied.
There were times that he lived a carefree life and boasted of using returns from his toils however he wanted. He used part of his earnings from labouring in plantations in Rabaul, Kudjip and Aviamp, to play Coca Cola darts and lure local girls of his age when opportunity presented.
The bananas and sugar cane he planted in the backyard were left untouched and a few pigs he raised would grow to a point where he decided they were ready to kill or donate to people of his choice.
However, there were other times he felt down, worried and strongly contemplated returning to his birth place. He revealed that there were local girls only interested in his money who did not share his reasons for toiling hard from dawn to dusk.
The local people would turn up on pay day and ask for money to meet their social obligations and on top of that demand his best bananas and sugar cane. These people also had a way of monitoring how many pigs people like Nembare raised and would go by the colour of the pig to demand it.
These people were land owners who threatened to remove Nembare from their land. He revealed later that this was a most devastating battle that he fought within himself.
Nembare admitted he faced a similar predicament from his in laws in the Bari tribe. However, he also understood his obligations as an in law and did what he could do.
He assisted in donating huge pigs for bride price, fought tribal wars on the frontline and donated money and pigs for compensation in the aftermath of the same wars.
Nembare was happy contributing his share to the community he lived in but something that saddened him was that none of the people he assisted would contribute to his children’s school fees.
They had money for bride price, compensation and other traditional social obligations and would often spend much of their money gambling from dawn to dusk, something Nembare hates until today.
All these experiences and lessons triggered in Nembare a strong desire to return to his birth place, Omdara.
Nembare was not alone in going through these experiences. The Yuri people who migrated from the Galkope territory due to tribal warfare or in search of a better life shared similar challenges.
For those that built wealth for themselves and competed well with others around them, today they are pretty comfortable.
Many have raised children who moved on with education to better life. But their own experiences were no different from Nembare’s.
Like Nembare, these people longed to make a return to their tribal land. The Yuri people who lived in their tribal territory through thick and thin longed for the Yuris of the diaspora to return home.
These sentiments were shared by the Yuri tribal people for more than three decades. The Yuri tribal people knew where they originated from and what their society was like.
They knew how it changed through tribal warfare, what it is like to live among other tribal groups and how they yearned to return and rebuild their own tribal society.
In the last two years, the Yuri tribal people, both old and young, have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness and discuss in length how they wanted to translate these sentiments into reality.
So they registered an association with the PNG Investment Promotion Authority, which they call Yuri Alaiku Kuikane Association, or YAKA.
The new generation of YAKA is an entity that exists to promote the peoples’ sentiments to reunite, rebuild and restore the tribal people’s pride and attachment to their cultural heritage.
It provides a vehicle to facilitate service delivery and link the Yuri people to other peoples so they can fairly compete to live as a people within the dictates of time.