By Mathew Yakai in Changchun, China
TODAY May 10 is a special day in our lives as human being but many people take it for granted.
I felt the importance when writing this article.
It is an important day because it’s “Mothers Day” that is celebrated throughout the world, including Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Before I proceed, I would like to wish all PNG mothers a Happy Mothers Day from China.
You bore PNG, raised PNG, supported PNG, taught PNG, and loved PNG because of those men and women whom you call them sons and daughters now working tirelessly to make PNG successful.
Without you, PNG would not be where she is today.
I wish you good health and everlasting smile with your family from today onwards. God shall bless you and continue to make you a proud and happy mother.
I arrived in China for studies in September 2, 2007 and should leave China by July 30, 2009 according to my student visa.
But my study ends in mid June and I plan to return home in mid July, 2009.
Like any other students in PNG and abroad, it is time to dish-out application for a better job with attractive conditions.
Living in China for almost two years, inevitably I would first visit my home and spend ample time with my mum and dad, including my siblings, cousins, aunties, uncles, friends and those down the family tree.
As time for returning approaches, one thing kept hurting me.
I thought to myself, “When I go to my Yapalgu village in Western Highlands Province (WHP), my dearest Mom will not be around to see a son returning from abroad with a degree.”
So whom will I rightly celebrate with when my mother who deserves such a celebration is not around?
Like any other sons and daughters, I would love to receive my Mom in my hand after two years away from her.
Mothers have soft heart and want to wipe Moms’ tears when she cuddles me with emotions and joyful tears upon my return.
I would love to bring with me a gift to show her that above all, she is special to me.
Sadly, with God’s grace, I will instead see an empty chair. My supposed to be proud Mom will not be around to cure the pains she bore for me.
And I will not have the opportunity to cuddle her and feel the warmth of her caring heart she had for me ever since.
My lovely Mom untimely passed away on Nov 20th last year in her Kudjip hospital bed, WHP.
I was still in China, and it was sad that I could not see her for the last time before she passed away.
But I talked with her on the phone and she cried, telling me that she loves me, as mothers always do to their children
There are different kinds of mothers in this world. There are professional or home makers in broad terms of fashionable, pious, simple strict, soft, conservative, modern and cool Moms’ at all personal level.
Whatever they are, Moms go famously amongst their kids. My late Mom was my hero.
Mom was the centre of attraction. Everything she said or did hold lot of importance in my eyes today. Mom was a celebrity in her own rights.
My Mom was unique, just like other PNG mothers. She lived for more then 50 years and was involved in building my country (PNG), which I am proud of today.
Late Mom was a house maker. She only completed primary schools. She married my dad who was a primary school teacher during those days before PNG gained independence.
Those who had parents who were aid post workers, teachers, and district officers would know how influential and important they were during those days and commanded good respect from the communities they worked and lived with.
Up to the time when I was able to remember, we climbed the terrains, crossed the rivers, stood the mosquito deadly bites and walked the distance of Tabibuka, Kol, Koinambe when dad was teaching at the remote Gobo Community School in Jimi, WHP.
Mom supported dad in everything. Those days, transport was limited. Roads were bad. Most times, Mom piggy-backed me while carrying our monthly food ration.
We walked those challenging geography for dad to educate men and women to contribute towards PNGs’ development today.
For dad, it was a noble responsibility. For Mom, it was an unconditional support, love and care.
Dad also established Gihamu Community School, few distance outside Mt Hagen city. It was a new school with no name.
People were searching for an ideal name when dad, P. Yakai named it, “GIHAMU”, today stands tall.
GIHAMU is not an ordinary name. It brings together three districts in WHP, Giluwe (GI), Hagen (HA) and Mul (MU). GIHAMU is the melting point.
Many notable lawyers, doctors, geologists, primary school teachers and other professionals went through Gihamu and they are building PNG today.
I enjoyed sweet potatoe “tiki” and red berries at Tiria Lutheran church. I do have fond memories of frequenting Neblyer River with late Tame’s daughter Kuku, Kaka and son Robert, not forgetting Sakias Poning.
Just like another child, I would leave at dawn, and return at dusk. Dad would wait at the door with his belt to give me a good lesson.
But it was always Mom who wipe my tears, treat my wounds took me for a bath, and made sure I had enough food before going to bed.
Papen Community School in WHP also brings back fond memories. Mom helped dad in educating men and women to move on with life and help develop PNG.
We traveled the vastness of PNG in those days. Some times on the back of Toyota’s, but mostly tractors. You would imagine how bumpy it was with the noise that dampened our ear drums.
When I think of those days, I see how important Mom was in not only caring for me, but helping my dad in nation building.
Mum accompanied dad to many remote schools in PNG, and all those followed thereafter are history today.
Personally, Mom was everything to me when I was small…my live revolved around her.
For everything that I need, I called Mom. To protect me from perceivable dangers, I wanted her around me. To take me out I held her arms.
To kiss away my wounds I ran to her. And for a warm hug and love I searched for her.
She was the focal point of my live, the greatest human being in the world or should I say divinity in my heart. Mom was my greatest blessing from God.
There is simply no way I can ever really thank my mom for all she has done for me because she has gone already.
She was the one who would be awake all night when I was sick, praying to God to make me well and be ever ready to bear the pain that I may be experiencing.
She was the one to wake up early in the morning to make my breakfast and endure all my tantrums.
Mom was the one who would forever complain that I was not eating enough or not eating right.
She would cook all sorts of things so that I am strong and healthy.
Mom was the one on whom I put all the blame for my failures. I would not hesitate once to point her fingers though she would not miss even a slightest opportunity to praise me.
Isn’t it tough to imagine how she must have borne my temper tantrums when I was teenagers?
And how hard I must have made her life by behaving so rude and difficult, yet she was so astonishingly cool. That was the beauty of my Mom.
It is spring and warmer in Changchun, China. The cherry blossoms are brightening the parks and gardens.
I see old people, men and women of various ages walking under the shadows of the perfume petals where the bees of the skies are sucking the nectars.
As I walk under the shadow of the cherry blossoms, I am still reminded that time is nearing for me to go home.
But what saddens me is that the chair of my Mom is empty and she is now resting peacefully in Yapalgu Village.
Gone are those motherly cares and loves. What remains is the cemetery of my dearest Mom….she came from earth, lived on earth and gone back to earth… yet her legacy lives today.
I am thinking of my Mom, and looking forward to visit her cemetery and place a rose in those days only God knows.
Many mothers in PNG have done similarly. They are the mothers of our nation. We all came from mothers, so as PNG.
God loved us and gave us lovely mothers. I cry today that we shall love our mothers and allow them to live in fullness.
We must give them the protection, love and care, not because it is inscribed in our Constitution, though it is, but the simple fact that they are our Mothers.
Let’s allow them to walk freely without fear in our cities and neighbors. Let us allow them to smile today before we regret to see their chairs are empty.
Mothers in PNG, if you can not make to Parliament to change PNG, you have done PNG proud by contributing enormously, like my Mom.
I fervently cry and pray for you for being such a Mother. You are my hero!
I wish you a Happy Mothers Day (mu qin jie kuai le - 母亲节快乐) and good health.
God bless my mothers in PNG.