I HAVE had some quiet moments after fading from the PNG Attitude scenery of red-hot-chili writing.
I can get teary looking back on those days. Why did this happen, I wonder. But I tell myself that transitions in life are inevitable.
From 2013, as a student at Divine Word University, I was a writing like a Bougainvillean candle in the dark. Then I silently faded in 2015, submerging into a family world and affairs of ups and downs.
The downs were painful. They took my beloved daughter Dollorose Fong Roka at just 18 months of age. All my plans for her were destroyed and I was left empty. Meaningless I felt and still I lament for my daughter each day of my life.
This all happened in Buin, where my partner Delphine is from, and I was in the bush and not light. My attitude was suicidal. So I decided to leave my daughter’s tomb, which is in front of my in-law’s house, and head for Panguna.
I left Buin in February 2016. Delphine had been posted by the Education Department to teach at Kanauro Primary School in Buin when our daughter died. Returning was unbearable so we left.
So, with our unborn child, in we moved on to the Tumpusiong Valley in the Panguna District, my home.
Having left Panguna in 2011 on my way to Divine Word University, I now had to start my life in Panguna from zero. Zero with a family. No free time, or time to waste. But I had to plan and work to make sure I fulfilled my role as a family man.
This proved hard, since my contract as a research officer with the Office of the Chief Secretary of the Autonomous Bougainville Government had ended in July 2015. But I was not interested to renew this career because of my family ups & downs.
But with nothing in my purse and reluctant to be another house husband sucking up my teaching partner’s salary, I had to move from Buka and find where I could make a contribution.
By June 2016, still dissatisfied with what I was contributing to my family, I recruited a clansman as my technical officer and transformed BPL into a building construction firm.
In August 2016, I tested my ability by tendering for a 3-in-1 classroom maintenance project at Darenai Primary School, in my home village. BPL was awarded a contract of K70,000 and, since I was moving in with energy, I drove my employees to complete the project in two weeks, well within specifications.
I also benefited from the receipt of a K35,000 package of demobilisation money and change that I longed to see slowly unwrapped within and around my family and extended family.
Then in December 2016, another set of tender documents came from the national parliamentary member for Central Bougainville. BPL won its second project, a 2-in-1 classroom at Kupe Primary School in the hinterland of Arawa.
It was a K240,000 project and BPL dealt with it in five weeks. The project tested my management and public relations skills for it was roughly four hours walk away from the end of a trafficable road.
A sister project at Oune Primary School in Panguna undertaken by a well experienced contractor failed to meet contract requirements and the community is still complaining.
But this is Oune Primary School’s problem. My problem now, having since lost two February tender bids, is to evaluate the weaknesses and strengths in project procurement and management.
I also need to oversee the construction of my own home and office in Panguna that will start this month. And I need to care care for my one year old son, FitzKeith Fong Roka.
This exposure to the building industry of Bougainville is healing my wounds for I now have so much to do and, as I am doing this, I am slowly drifting towards my lost identity, writing.
I am thinking about it and weeping for it.