Papua New Guinea

What a Compensation Ceremony

By Fr. Ferdie Samar, SOLT

Solt is a group of Filipino missionaries in Papua New Guinea, and Ferdie Samar is one of their priests. Ferdie tells us here about the terrible problem of tribal warfare and how it bedevils life in some parishes in PNG.

First SOLT Team

When our first SOLT missionary team left the Philippines a couple of years ago our port of entry was Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. But our real destination was Mt. Hagen, at the heart of the PNG highlands, approximately an hour by plane from the capital city. Arriving in Mt. Hagen, we were only given a month to familiarize ourselves with people, places and culture. After a month of orientation, we were given our definite assignments. The bishop gave us two adjacent parishes in the Nebilyer District of Western Highlights Province.

All my Yesterdays

By Sr. Walfridis, SSpS

Sr. Walfridis, SSpS has been a missionary in Papua New Guinea for nearly half a century. She is now long past the retiring age but still serves joyfully in the vocation she choose so many years ago. It is very clear that Our Lord’s promise has been fulfilled in her. “Live on in my love... that my joy may be complete.”(John 9 - 11)

I am now a retiree here in our retiree here in our Retirement House. I am cooped up and no longer in circulation especially now that I am half blind due to glaucoma. Two years ago I used to drive to Kefamo every Saturday for my Legion of Mary meetings, but now I cannot drive anymore. I also used to have my little garden as my OT (Occupational Therapy) where I could putter around whenever I liked and plant whatever I liked, but now I have to let it go for I can no longer distinguish between plants and weeds. Since I can no longer read nor sing, the Lord has been good to give me another OT – playing the organ by ear for I cannot see the notes anymore and improvise the accompaniment, I play from 4-5 in the afternoon everyday and from 5-6 we retirees have adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.

The Highland Warriors

By: Fr. Dave Buenaventura

I’m Fr. Dave Buenaventura, a Salesian of Don Bosco. This is my 5th year in Papua New Guinea.

If your were to ask any Filipino working in PNG to describe the highlanders of this country, I bet they would use adjectives like fierce-looking, short-tempered, revengeful, and war loving. Of course these descriptions are exaggerated but even still these highlanders are known as the “warriors of Papua New Guinea.”

La Salle in the Land of Unexpected

By: Brother Ruben Caluyong, FSC

Final Profession
January 9, 1993 was a very significant day for me because it was then I made my final profession of vow as a De La Salle Brother. It was also the occasion when I was given a mission send off as I was about to embark on a missionary journey to Papua New Guinea, also known as the Land of the Unexpected.” On the day of my departure for Papua New Guinea, I did not feel anxious nor excited. Deep in my heart, I knew that the prayer of so many supporters accompanied me on my journey.

God Meets His People Where they Are

By: Sr. Sonia Sangel, FdCC

Dreaded Malaria
Enamasa brought her one-year-old baby, Sagira to St. Therese’s Clinic Port Moresby where I work as a nurse. The child is severely dehydrated due to three days vomiting and diarrhea associated with high fever. Looking at Sariga’s physical appearances I have the impression that she is positive to the dreadful Malaria Falciparum. She looks very sick, and is shaking with chill and she sweats. Her eyes are sunken and jaundiced and her abdomen is distended with a enlarged spleen. I at once took her vital signs and sent her blood slide to the laboratory for a malaria smear. I started administering the Oral Dehydration Therapy. The child is like a parched land, a thirst for water, I showed and instructed the mother to continue to feed her with Oresol to replace the water and salts that had gone out of her body over the past three days. For her high temperature, I gave her a cool bath and a Quinine intramuscular injection. Finally after an hour and a half the peak of crisis subsided a little. Still anxious that she might not fully recover I thought of baptizing the child.

Utai: The Land which Gold Destroyed

By: Rev. Msgr. Tomas Gonzales, MSP

Msgr. Tomas Gonzales is from Baliuag, Bulacan and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Manila. Having serves in Tondo & Pasay and later as Pastor in Alabang and Sta. Cruz, he volunteered as a Missionary to Papua New Guinea as an associate member of the Mission Society of the Philippines. (MSP). Here he tells us about some of his travails and joys in Papua New Guinea.

My first mission posting in 1990 was among the coastal tribes of Leitre at the North Western corner of Papua New Guinea.I was the second mission established in the Diocese of Vanimo. The people are peace loving and friendly and considered the most cooperative in the diocese. For two years I lived in their midst with three MCST Filipino Sisters.

When Will We Be Accepted?

By Sr. Joy Agudera, OND

I work as youth coordinator in Papua New Guinea. I’ve been planning for ages to write a short article but somehow the “mañana” habit prevailed. We’re always eager to see the latest issue of the Misyon Magazine because it gives us renewed inspiration to continue working as missionaries of God’s word. It also gives us a sense of solidarity...that we are not nag-iisa” in trying to share the Word of God amidst strange people in a foreign land.

The Blind Hear

By Bro. Paul Bongcaras SVD

Bro. Paul Bongcaras is finishing many happy years in Papua New Guinea. With deep respect for the local culture, with drama and music he introduced the people into the mystery of Christ.

Where Trees Still Grow

By: Fr. Bobby Sagra, MSP

Two Months Old
Last November 14, 1990 I arrived here in Kerema, Gulf province, Papua New Guinea. I was only two months and seven days old as a missionary priest on the day of my arrival.

My first experienced of “missionary initiation” was walking four days four days from Putei the main parish where I am assistant parish priest, to Wanto, the outmission station located in a hidden valley in the remote mountains. On December 12, I started walking together with one guide and two local seminarians.

Buying a Bride

Sr. Mary Jeanette Matela, a Hoy Spirit Sister who works in Papua New Guinea, focuses on a custom degrading to women which she and her community are hoping to change.

On my way to the convent after my 12:30 P.M. class, I met Marylyn.

Pidgin Talk
Have you eaten yet, Marylyn?” I asked her in Pidgin English. “Ya sista, mi kaikai pinis. Lukim!” (Yes, Sister, I have already eaten. Look!) she replied showing her tummy. Nau yu mas slip, malolo liklik na bai yu kamap bikpela meri,” (Now you must sleep, rest a little and you will grow big) I suggested to her. Without hesitation Marylyn replied, “Tiam mi kanap bikpela, daddy bilong mi bai I baim mi.” (When I become ready for marriage my daddy will sell me for my bride –prize)