Weekly Commentaries

This is Sunday Chronicle's weekly commentaries on various issues of interest affecting the country. All individual commentators are done by elite Papua New Guineans from diverse educational backgrounds.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The live digest of knowledge in a people's history


MS ZAGORO is in her eighties. She was brought to Port Moresby and lived here for about six months visiting her children, grand children and great grand children. 

She is returning home tomorrow to the beautiful cool surroundings of Goroka where she hails from. She remembers faintly the scant but frightening stories of the Second World War; she also remembers that she might have been about ten years old then. Ms Zagoro hails from the Yamakoto Village in the greater Okiufa area of the Gahuku speaking people of Eastern Highlands.

She is one of the many grand children of Namizataupa (Aize) the known patriarch of the Okuzuha clan of the Okiufa people. The legendary Namizataupa begot Liko, Gorame, Zagaro and Malizo whose children among them include Ms Gamake Zagaro and late the Aize.

Aize had a number of children included the late Hoffman Aize. As a prominent leader of his people Mr. Hoffman went on to become Minister for Forest in the Eastern Highlands Provincial Government in the 1990s.Great grandparents of the present generation of Papua New Guineans are sources of past and contemporary history. It is truism that that group of Papua New Guineans is fast becoming rare these days.

Thus, an opportunity like the visit by Ms Zagoro to be with the young people is immensely entertaining and educationally significant. She is a mobile encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom.Ms Zagoro's generation admonish unacceptable behavours, at the same time they provide avenues for sitting them down and draw from them past records of human endevours relating to the history of a people and their migration or movements, the skills and knowledge about gardening, warfare, land ownership and land use among others.

They even repeatedly echo the need for modesty and to be at all times morally upright. There is so much to decipher and record for future reference. Time is not on anyone's side to wait for the next encounter.

Ms Zagoro has two sons and many grand children. She came to Port Moresby to visit her extended family members and their children. While in Goroka, and being alone she fell very sick. She was brought to Port Moresby by her nephew who would look after here, including hospitalization and after care. She has fully recovered and is preparing to go home.

What did she say about life in a city? "When I arrived in Port Moresby, I came to the city in the night from a late flight by Air Niugini. I could not tell much. However, when moving between the Port Moresby General Hospital and June Valley where I was residing, I was both fascinated and very frightened indeed. There are so many cars, and I could not help but hold back that real fear - cars crashing on each other, people dying on impact and so on and so forth" says Ms Zagoro.

She also said that, she did not like foreign foods, especially rice and other imported food stuff. These "foreign foods" she said had her feel hungry or uncomfortable. However, her nephew and other relatives made sure that there were bananas, pumpkins and other local supplies available in sufficient quantities to ensure that she was fed nutritiously during her stay in Port Moresby.

Port Moresby based family members will farewell their grandmother in a day's time. Ms Zagaro is already looking forward to meeting her people, especially her grand children. Once  in Goroka, she will be getting back to her plot of family land and do what she has always done for decades to sustain life - gardening.

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