SARAH MAIMA GARAP
Sarah Garap is a community development specialist and was one of the first women health inspectors in Papua New Guinea. She is an activist for women and human rights issues and is co-founder of two women's organisations in the Highlands - Kup Women for Peace and Meri I Kirap Sapotim
CANBERRA - A journey describes life in this broken world.
My journey with angra (brother) Bill Standish is a story of more than 20 years, beginning in 1994. I will write a tribute to him when my head is cleared from the shock of his passing.
For now, it’s this journey to the Australian National University on 1 March this year.
I have always stayed with Bill and Sue in all my trips to ANU – 1997, 2003, 2018, and 2019.
In March he picked me up at the airport when I arrived at 10 pm.
He gave me his old Vodaphone so I did not have to buy a new one.
He took me to ANU for my placement; to see admin and meet people.
He took me to the student accommodation and helped me with my bags. I was to move after three nights’ accommodation to another location. He remembered.
After the International Women’s Day meeting finished at nearly 5 pm, he pulled me aside and said, “We have to go now. The office may close and you have to get to your new accommodation”.
Yes, sure enough. We met the person looking after accommodation arrangements. After I checked in, we went shopping.
Sue came back from her trip to India trip on 8 March. After she settled in, I was invited for dinner; it was a Barbie dinner which Bill cooked.
Bill checked on me frequently to make sure I was OK.
He knows the story of my work with women’s groups; my 2002 election story as a candidate; he knows my family; the story of my challenging life from grassroots to academia. He helped me write some of the stories.
He saw me on Saturday morning, 30 March at 8:30 to give me a book. Now that I recall, it seemed as though he actually came to say goodbye. I did say, “Hey bro, morning”. And hugged him as I always did to him and Sue every time we met.
I went to Sydney on Sunday 31 March at 6 am. Around that time he was rushed to hospital by Sue and Jane, Sue’s daughter. Around midday, he passed away.
Upon return to Canberra, I called him at 2 pm from Belconnen public bus station. Jane answered the phone and gave me the bad news.
What? No! No! I broke down and cried. I have since been crying to grieve my loss, a loss to Simbu, and PNG.
The good I take away angra Bill:
We spent time together. That was quality time.
You touched so many people’s lives – students, academics, ordinary people, friends, and family.
Condolences, and tributes are coming in plentiful. Everyone is shocked. But only God gives life; and He takes back what he gave.
Thanks for being a blessing to all of us who associated with you in one way or another. Your kind, and good deeds will be remembered until death.
Patience; kindness; goodness; humility; consideration; love; care - Galatians 5: Fruits of the Holy Spirit are transmitted in your life. Everyone says so. So God will be fair on you.
Farewell my brother, supporter and my Australian family - you and Sue. I know you will want me to maintain contact with Sue. I definitely will.
Yal wagai one raw a – ena parawa - wakai we! Laikim yu tru! Rest in Eternal Peace!