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21 March 2017


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Joe Hockey, Mutton Dutton and Scomo all went to school and I would not feed any of them.

This writing is raw and pure and I was fortunate to meet Julie in Brisbane. She radiated warmth and glowed with empathy and most importantly she listened much more than she spoke. We were born with one mouth and two ears and they must be used proportionally.
As Phil correctly pointed out you do not need to go to school to be educated. Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire reiterate as much.

Very touching story.I believe education is key to empowering women to realise their full potential.

Thanks for all your good comments.

I agree with Martinez Wasuak that there are so many stories hidden deep in the hearts of PNG women which need to be written - and which will slowly happen.

Julie is the first child of her father’s first wife. Her father’s second wife was pregnant with her first child when Julie’s mother was stabbed and subsequently died.

The third wife who stabbed Julie’s mother was a widow with one child. She was the wife of Julie’s father’s cousin brother who had been murdered by his brother. Julie’s father had to take her under his roof as is customary.

Later on Julie’s father married two other women of whom one left. Now he is left with three wives and so many children and grandchildren. Only one received some education and is working.

That’s how complex life is for PNG women and children today.

Quality life, I admit cannot be provided for every individual member in a large family in the modern cash economy.

I wonder how polygamous families survive in urban centres in PNG today.

Truly a moving story, Daniel. My partner has a different story then Julie's. She quit school after she was promised a trip to Port Moresby by her cousin brother who lived and worked there and was home for a holiday.

Through sheer excitement she stayed away from class with high expectations of seeing the nation's capital. It was an empty promise.

The cousin brother went back to POM without her and she never returned to class thereafter. She was in Grade 2 back then and to this day regrets that stupid decision she made.

And when she comes to think of it she hates her cousin brother more then ever.

Good comments Phil. Sometimes we equate schooling with wisdom as of they are the same. A lot can be learned inside the hausman than a classroom.

You don't need to go to school to be educated.

In fact, there are some dangers in formal education, the most obvious being the 'indoctrination' that occurs in the process - "another brick in the wall" as Pink Floyd would have it.

You probably need to be able to read and write nowadays because that will open up many avenues of learning.

I have met many well educated men and women who never attended school and could not read and write in my life, many of them in PNG.

After meeting Julie and reading some of the things she has said via Daniel I would include her in that category.

She is not a 'simple village girl', far from it.

She is a highly intelligent young woman who just happened not to have gone to school. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a twit.

Thank you Daniel for sharing Julie's story.

There are a lot of Papua New Guinean women out there who can relate to Julie's story. Those who were not able to go to school because of certain obstacles, most I believe are culturally related.

My mother is also a village girl who married my father, a well educated men. But being a village girl, she raised my siblings and I well and took good care of my father, and that is one very interesting fact about women who are brought up in the village - they may not have a good education, but they carry a lot of good values.

Very heartbreaking and motivating. I believe, there are more of such similar stories untold and it will slowly continue to be told.

This is some of the many challenging stories that cause us to say ol meriI PNG em ol strongpla meri.

Let not us be fully influenced, let us step on our challenges, accept changes while upholding our diverse cultures in a more positive way and contribute to make PNG a more better place for our children to live.

God Bless us all.

Thank you for sharing your moving story, Julie.

What a courageous woman Julie is. Maybe it was fate that brought you guys together so that you can write about her story.
I love hearing stories of women who go through unbearable circumstances but still come out of it stronger than ever and who are not afraid or ashamed to tell their story.


Daniel's compassionate rendering of his wife's story should remind us all that it is still the case that women suffer many grievous disadvantages compared to men, even in the so-called civilised world.

Correcting this is an ongoing task but the mere fact that Julie's story has appeared on PNG Attitude shows that even a village girl's voice can at long last be heard. Not so long ago, this would have been inconceivable.

"My Walk to Equality" is a further reminder that PNG is changing in ways not readily foreseen only a few short decades ago.

As the father of a daughter who flies in the very "blokey" world of the RAAF, I know that barriers to women are being broken down in Australia too.

So, I salute Julie's courage and fortitude.


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