During the presentation of police vehicles to Bulolo and Wau police yesterday, a women’s group took the opportunity to air their frustration at the Wau main oval.
Lawlessness has been a problem in Bulolo and Wau for over a decade.
The recent ethnic conflict in the Wau-Rural LLG, which claimed the lives of over 10 people and resulted in the burning down of over 200 houses, trade stores and poultry sheds, highlighted the neglect faced by settlers and landowners in the mining electorates.
Women’s representative, Yanda Funumari, presented a petition to the provincial authorities and the police hierarchy to address the lack of support in terms of infrastructure and services.
Funumari, who hails from the Biangai tribe, said her community has greatly suffered from lawlessness in the district, especially when it comes to women and girls’ safety.
“Em olsem hat krai blo mi olsem wanpla mama tu,” she said. (It has been our heartfelt cry.)
“Planti taim mipla prei lo lukim taun mas kamap olsem. Mipla hamamas olsem displa event em kamap. Planti ol prayers blo ol mama, ol churches, ol mama wok lo konsen lo taun na prei, planti samting wok lo karim kaikai. (Many a time, we have prayed for peace. We are happy that this event has happened. It seems as if our prayers a finally being answered.)
“Taim mipla stap na lukim olsem, taun blong mipla wok lo go lo disla kain laif na taim na mak, em mipla ol mama em olsem bikpla pein lo mipla. (It was painful for us mothers when we saw that our town was going through a lot.)
“Sapos disla kain pasin na law and order issue em stap yet, ol kominti blo mipla, ol fiutsa blo pikinini blo mipla, em bai go olsem wanem?” (If this law and order problem persists, what will our future hold?)
Nine main areas were outlined in the women’s petition, including law and order, the lack of support for the Wau hospital and the need for running water.
“Today, right now, nogat wanpla hospital tu em stap. Em closed, rundown; ol mama painim bikpla hevi lo hospital. (Today, right now, there’s no working hospital. It was closed, rundown; mothers are facing their greatest hurdle yet because of this.)
“Wanwan ol praivet lain ol i kam in lo helpim lo marasin, ol shops salim na disla em tasol helpim. Planti taim, mipla go lo Bulolo.” (A few private individuals have assisted with medical supplies, shops are selling them too – these are the only forms of assistance. Most times, we go to Bulolo.)
Funumari further said their children are yet to experience the joy of running water, adding they have not had any proper water supply for more than 15 years.
“Ol pikinini, em ol no lukim wara,” she continued. (Our children have not seen running water.)
“Ol no experiensim hau lo waswas lo water tap insait lo shower room. (They are yet to experience the pleasure of washing in shower rooms.)
“Planti blo ol, ol drink wara lo ol water wells, lo ol streams, waswas lo wara weh ol ketsim lo rein…that’s how mipla ol kominiti blo Wau survive for all these years.” (Many of them drink from wells, streams and wash in rain water…that’s how the community of Wau has survived for all these years.)
Funumari hopes that the appropriate authorities will read their petition and address their need for basic infrastructure and services.