Education influenced a tribe – Post Courier

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By PAUL MIMA

A K30 flight from Omkolai to Port Moresby, resonates with a lived historical expedition that today’s youth must learn from.

To cherish our father’s sacrifice by seizing today’s opportunities to accelerate education.

A young teenager from Koblaku named Peter Kaupa Sine left his Milaku tribe and went on an adventure to the Motu Koitabu and Koari in the central province.

Omkolai was then a Church of Australia administrative and Lutheran mission station in the 1960s.

The Dirima Catholic Church Mission then built its second airstrip in Gumine district. My father Peter Kaupa was a young man. In his adventure to explore the world, he got his maiden flight from Omkolai to Goroka in 1969 by paying 30K.

From Goroka he then boarded the Australian Quanta flight to Port Moresby and joined his brothers Nibabe Hausunga and Kumai Anthon, who had left their mountain homes earlier to seek employment opportunities far away on the side.

They worked as “haus boi” or servants in town.

My father Kaupa’s aspiration in education started in the 1950s. He attended Dirima Standard School doing the second form. He was made class captain by two Australian women who were their teachers at the time.

His classmate and best school friends were former MP Gumine from Simbu, the late John Nilkare and Nibil Joseph from Omkolai.

Peter Kaupa and the late John Nilkare’s educational journey separated in Dirima. It turns out that the Catholic priest wasn’t happy with them for a church assignment one morning. They lived in the student dormitory.

The priest allegedly called them to his home and assaulted them.

According to Kaupa, the priest hit them with a cane on the head. With blood flowing from their heads. Kaupa and Nilkare remained unconscious. Kaupa was already 12 years old when she enrolled in school. Nilkare was 8 years old, younger than him.

While Nilkare remained at school in Dirima, Kaupa fled from Dirima to Gumine Government Post to report the case of assault to Australian Government Administrator Master Bainet.

A few minutes later, as Kaupa approached Gumine, Priest John arrived on his bicycle. He apologized for this unfortunate incident. He then presented her with a Bible, a book and a pen. And urged him to go back to school.

“I was scared, so I refused to accept the gift.” He said. “If I accepted and came back, I would be sent to do Form 3 in Kondiu in Kerowagi district.

“Because many other students received corporal punishment, I had to speak on their behalf and report the assault to government authorities.”

John Nilkare and Nibil Joseph continued their school in Kondiu, doing grades 3 to 7.

They were then sent to complete their high school in Goroka. Mr. Nilkare did post-graduate studies at the Administrative College in Port Moresby. Peter Kaupa’s case was pursued through a court filing. Mr. Bainet then reported to Chief Bishop John.

After a thorough investigation, the Chief Bishop suspended the priest and asked him to walk from Dirima to Kundiawa rather than sending him on a plane from Dirima airstrip.

The two Australian teachers were also removed from Dirima and sent to Nodugl in Jiwaka province.

Peter Kaupa was afraid to return to the Dirima mission school. He stayed at Dimnakulin in the village of Mul.

A year later, when he was 13 years old and missing second grade, he decided to look for a new school in Kerowagi district.

He walked from his home in Gumine to Kerowagi District and met a new friend named Mua Maima from Kerowagi Station. The new friend asked him if he was okay.

“Mi stap long Gumine na kam, mi painim skul.” (I walked from Gumine to Kerowagi looking for a school.)
Mua’s father was a health extension worker. Kaupa stayed with him for a month.

Mua was in 5th grade and took Peter Kaupa to his school. They met an Australian school principal.

While there, the school principal asked him to put his hand on his head. His hand touched his ears.

The principal told him that he could not be registered because he was of legal age.

Mua and Kaupa felt really sad and cried. He then walked to Kewagmugl. They rejected him again. He walked further towards Nodugl in Jiwaka. To his surprise, he met the two Australian teachers there.

They felt really sorry for him and signed him up. There he completed classes 3 and 4.

During a second term break, he went to see Gumine’s pioneer teacher, Bilge Lukas, at Kup station. He was one of his teachers in Dirima.

While there, he was infected with malaria. Lukas’ brother died of malaria in Dirima. He was to accompany her to Gumine.

Kaupa’s illness got worse. There were no drugs available at that time. He stayed out for two years.

In the third year, he returned to the Dirima Mission School. This time, attend a pidgin class. After that, he was selected for the catechist school in Kondiu. He must walk again.

After two years, he obtained his diploma as a Catholic catechist. He performed pastoral duties in Kamwaikul, Mul and Kalwari in the village of Amia. He quit his Christian job and went to Port Moresby in search of gainful employment.

Peter Kaupa’s mother, Waigi, is Sine Kumai’s third wife. He was an only child when his mother died. He grew up with Maima Sine, the leader of Mul. He was a city councilor for 16 years. Chief Maima purchased the first land cruiser PMV from Ela Mothers in Lae with 4,436.48K, which was a princely sum at the time.

According to Peter Kaupa, Chief Maima’s son David Maima was in his 10th year at Kerowagi High School. He helped them get a loan of K2000 from the Bank of PNG in Mt. Hagen.

Chief Maima’s PMV travels between his village and Kundiawa taking passengers to Kilau, Nomane in the SaltNomaneKaramui district. It broke down on a trip to Gembogl.

His driver Nibabe is from number one Diga of Konuma village, Sinasina/Yongamugl district. Chief Maima Sine was killed in a tribal fight with a neighboring tribe in 1985. Maima Sine’s wife, Homoi Arre, was the daughter of a chief of the Sanigihane tribe of Mukone, Amia. She had two sons, David Maima and Joseph Maima.

Their mother Homoi died when David was 4 and Joe was 2.

After a family argument with Chief Maima Sine, Homoi called Peter Kaupa crying and told him to help Daigo or Mote (David) that his mother used to call him to go to school.

“Hauba daha i sikul dinga aira Daigo ayebe ditenga sikul damio. (Help Daigo go to the school you started.)”

Peter Kaupa cried emotionally and replied that he would take her to Gumine.

A few days later, Chief Maima Sine’s wife, Homoi Arre, died in Gaulma in the village of Mul. A few years later, Kaupa helped David enroll in Gumine Primary School. Registered as David Kumai Maima. Kumai’s intelligence surpasses her performance received dux after sixth grade and selected at Kerowagi High School.

David’s classmates at Kerowagi were Diri Kobla, (Ainaku tribe) Aiwa Olmi, (Kibaku tribe) Bill Ninkama and Bongi Kobla, David Maima (Koblaku tribe)

He was the dux of Kerowagi High School in 1972 and was selected to PNG University of Technology along with Aiwa Olmi. Diri Kobla went to the University of Papua New Guinea. Bill Ninkama and Bongi Kobla went to other higher education institutions.

Later, Ninkama became a member of Gumine for two terms. Aiwa Olmi became an ambassador and foreign diplomat after holding various public positions. Diri Kobla graduated as an economist and became the managing director of the Small Business Development Corporation. David Kumai Maima became a civil engineer. Its civil and engineering works covered the whole country. He died in 2011.

His younger brother Joseph Maima then went to the University of Papua New Guinea, graduating as an accountant.

The same Milaku tribe had Mary Maima graduated as a food technologist from the University of Technology and Wala Kumai from Forestry College.

David and Joe Maima’s cousins, Paul Gore and the late Andrew Gore, both graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea and Divine Word University in business and accounting. Peter Kaupa, son of Paul Maima, became a teacher, continued his studies at the University of Papua New Guinea and now works as a freelance journalist.

Chief Peter Kaupa said education is the key to success and encourages all students to be committed to their school.

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