Marlene Potoura lives in Lae and is a struggling teacher, accomplished writer (but there's no money in it) and devoted single mother. She scratches together a living to enable her two children to have an education and a future. Marlene – who lives in poverty - has been robbed twice this year. Crime in Papua New Guinea occurs throughout society, but it’s at the bottom where it’s most cruel. Poor stealing from poor. Let Marlene explain….
LAE - I’m feeling angry. In the early hours of Wednesday last week, my kids and I got robbed again.
Two Samsung phones. An electric sewing machine. Wrapped gifts my kids bought for their friends. New wrist watches I bought for my kids. Over K200 in cash. Sun glasses. And other shit.
Worldly things they are. That’s my only comment. I was robbed senseless on 23 February and again last Wednesday. There was no laptop this time. I learned that lesson well.
Stupid pricks. Pathetic really. I live in a shitty cave surrounded by the Hotel Morobe and the Travellers Inn. And yet assholes come and pick phones from me. Hahaha, bunch of losers!
Material worldly things. I am not worried? No.
But I am angry about these stupid lowdown animals who creep into houses at night like snakes and nick stuff. Lazy low down losers.
I’m now packing school stuff to move out. The worst robbery happened in February this year. Two laptops, one external drive, 16 flash drives and two internet dongles were stolen. I was worried sick. I had lost more than 20 years of writing and I nearly went insane.
After weeks of grief, I pulled myself together and went through my hard copy files. I hand wrote a lot of my stories; months of commitment and hard work. I bought a desktop after months of writing by hand and typed everything again.
I was able to publish two youngsters’ books with Phil Fitzpatrick, but did not have enough money to buy hard copies.
They didn't take my desktop this time. I am thankful.
I have always loved Lae but finally it’s getting to me. I never got robbed when I lived in the settlement areas. Now my kids and I live in town and I've been robbed twice.
PNG Attitude is starting a Christmas appeal for Marlene and her two children; an appeal to get them on their feet and out of the Lae slums. And I’m asking you to help. Any contribution is big enough.
I will aggregate donations from Australian and overseas readers and will use a special account to get the funds to Marlene to reduce the exorbitant cost of fund transfers to Papua New Guinea. Make your donation here: Keith Jackson, NAB Neutral Bay, BSB 082-302, account no 50-650-1355. Remember to send me an email here to let me know you’ve made a donation.
Papua New Guinean readers can donate directly to Marlene Potoura at the Westpac bank in Lae. The account number is 600 613 7433. You can also email me here to let me know.