By Julie Badui Owa
This brilliant star on my lap is 11-year-old Angela. She's a grade 4 student of Sialum Primary school in the Tewae-Siassi District of Morobe. Her father is a Community Health Officer at the Sialum Health Centre, the only health centre serving a population of almost 12 thousand.
Angela and I were passengers of the only LLG ten seater Land cruiser vehicle that was going to transport us to Gagidu, Finschhafen District to get on a boat to Lae. She was too shy to speak as we were sitting beside each other in the vehicle.
I introduced myself to her and asked her where she was going. Angela was also accompanied by her small Aunty, also a grade 5 student at Sialum Primary School.
In Angela's hand was an ipad that the 11-year-old was guiding with all her life. She answered me in a beautiful and delicate voice, "mipla laik go long Gagidu long painim gutpla network na salim report blo health Centre."
Amazed and curious at the same time, I asked her, "Na daddy." (I had an interview with the father the day before). Angela replied gently, "Daddy sick na nonap long go salim report."She told me her mother couldn't do it because she doesn't know how to operate an ipad and how to send messages via Gmail.
Angela said her dad trained her to do what he does incase of such situations. She told me how important that report was.
The 11-year-old had to skip class, get on the LLG vehicle, travel pass the mighty Masaweng River that separates Tewae-Siassi and Finschhafen Districts, travel to Gagidu where there's better network coverage and send the Health Center's report to the Morobe Provincial Health Authority.
The report includes the Health Centre's status, challenges, the needs and remommendations and updates of Aidposts operating in the Sialum LLG.
Unfortunately, the Ten Seater wasn't able to travel pass the Masaweng River because the water current was too fast that increased the water level. We travelled back to Kanome where the LLG office was located. That's where we separated.
To me, that's Independence. A young girl, only at the age of 11, having faith in her own capacity to do what she could upon obedience and trust in order to serve her father, her community and her district.
I salute Angela and am praying to meet her again soon.
This piece was written by By Julie Badui Owa
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