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24 March 2017


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An heroic yarn. Thanks for sharing Joe.

Thanks Robin and Daniel. Daniel, I have some sad memories associated with the incident you described. I was to go with Esetome to visit his nephews/nieces but we got separated on that fateful day. I still have one of his sand paintings with me, which I dearly cherish.

Joe, Do you remember Esetome, a Grade 10 student from Sirunki in Laiagam who was killed by his brother-in-law at Mamale in 1972?

He did not know that his sister had run away from her husband and had gone straight to their house at Mamale village during Christmas holidays. He was giving presents to his uncles and nieces when his brother in law crept up from behind and killed him with an axe.

I saw the ensuring tribal fight from the Laiagam government station as I waited for a truck to go to Kandep. I spent the night near Wanepap Catholic Mission. When there was no car all of next day, I started to walk to Kandep by about 5 in the afternoon.

It was soon dark when I arrived at Porgeras village. Two men from the village caught up with me. They had been to the fight. I stayed in one of the men’s house – a man whose name was Pake. Next morning I started my long walk home which is about 50 or so kilometres away.

At Kepelam (your village), a truck loaded with rice headed for Kandep during the 1972 frost and famine picked me up. The driver dropped me off near Catholic Mission Yapum in exchange for the few cents I paid him. I didn’t have enough to pay him to take me all the way to Kandep.

From there I resumed my long walk to my village of Kondo which is near the Enga boarder with Southern Highlands Province.

I recorded all this in my first book, Climbing Mountains, a supplementary reader for Grade 6 and 8 students. It was published by Oxford University Press a few years ago.

Yes, that ex-brother in law deserved your beating. It has always been the responsibility of male Engans to be protective of siblings, family property, extended family members and defend clan boundaries.

I am glad your sister lives freely now.

Your "Sticktoitiveness," is duly admired, Joe. It would be nice to hear from your sister. Maybe you could encourage her to tell her story.

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