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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Milne Bay Cultural Day

Photos: Artie Soaba using the Blackberry.
The UPNG Milne Bay Students Union recorded yet another success story by fall of evening Saturday, 29th September 2012, at its cultural day celebrations observed at the Bisini Softball grounds.

Hundreds of participants turned up for the occasion bringing the anticipated heart warming presence of parents and supporters for the Milne Bay student population of the Waigani campus. Never before had each parent or stall participant left the festivities much, much more satisfied.

Traditional dances, mainly those of the surrounding township of Alotau (Tawala), combined with the Dobu and Misima performances became the highlight of the day. This was coupled with modern day popular individual singers and musical bands from the province. Virtually all the students walked away from the Bisini field content.

And so they should be.

Earlier in the year and throughout the President of the students’ union, Chester  Tolo'ube, ensured that his students benefited from each fund raising venture. These were observed similarly throughout the city: in the form barbeques, clean-a-thon activities and solicits of monies and gifts from individuals and charity organizations. Each small contribution gathered added up as the year wore on.

All that would culminate at the Bisini festivities that Saturday, of course.

The aim of such student union activities covers a lot of areas of paramount importance in the general trends of development in Papua New Guinea. One area of note and in the words of Chester Tolo’ube, is this: “To visit all the high schools in the Milne Bay this year in a drive to empower students in their studies and hopefully to boost the number of Milne Bay students entering tertiary institutions.”

And the President further substantiates that remark: “The funds we raised last year were used to buy four computer sets for the four secondary schools; Cameron, Hagita, Holy Name and Wesley. We also talked to the students of the variety of courses offered at UPNG and encouraged them to aim for university education.”     

To that call, there were individuals who responded favourably.  Senior members of the Milne Bay communities living in Port Moresby, such as Mr Allan Tarua, took up the challenge in organizing meetings and similar group activities to bring awareness to all the communities at large that the objectives of groups such as this student union were important. The response noted there was positive as much as favourable.
The end benefits for such ventures in participation are also worth noting. Says Mr. Tarua, “It is not only a matter of helping our students fund raise. Such activities also give us the opportunity of catching up with all the wans in POM city whom we hardly get to see.”
Even the stall owners walked away from Bisini much satisfied. One such stall owner claimed by 11.30pm the same evening that she was still counting coins from the day’s takings.

Overall, the entire cultural day of festivities was a success. Although the students’ union reported little participation from the MP’s of the Milne Bay Province, that can be understood as much of the year was taken up and absorbed by the National elections.  The Governor together with the member for Alotau Open donated K5, 000 and K2, 000 respectively. Fingers crossed some better participation will come from that sector next year.

Text: first published by Post Courier, Monday 1st October, 2012.

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