An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
MONICA James and Junior Dua are two 18 years old teenagers with profound hearing impairment. They cannot hear any sound, not even a gunshot close to their ears.
The condition is pre-lingual meaning it happened at birth before they acquired spoken language or any other sound.
With this condition, speech is also been impaired and people in the community use the terms longlong (retarded)or mauspas-yaupas (deaf and dumb)to describe them.
Speech is impaired as a by-product of deafness. For Junior and Monica, the ability to speak has been disadvantaged at birth. They had no opportunity to say mama or papa, supposedly the first and most endearing words spoken.