from Storyboard diaries
by Russell Soaba
Our flight to Port Moresby on 29th December 2012 was disrupted. It was a late Saturday afternoon flight, PX 959, and since it was a peak period it was hardly surprising that the Air Niugini plane did not turn up at all at Gurney Airport.
We had to get back to town for the night.
Late that evening we went in search of PMV or bus owners to negotiate transport to the airport for the next morning’s flight. No PMVs or buses operated on Sundays, we were told.
Since we were from Cape Vogel we felt it was appropriate to find a bus owner from that region of the Milne Bay Province. A relative recommended Doboro and we felt relieved. She said we could find the owner somewhere at Goilanai.
Off we went to the Goilanai Heights.
This is a posh area of the town. Much of the middle level management populace can be found there. A lot of Rabarabas live there, including the famous Kedu Gloria who helps us occasionally with both land and sea transport.
Almost every door we knocked on knew Doboro. Storyboard was amused that just about everyone there addressed him with politeness as Doboro as well. Indeed, it is a privilege to be addressed as Doboro in Alotau.
The word doboro means old man, but it is used traditionally as a term of respect for the elderly and men of rank. When used in social etiquette it has a special ring to it and is often said with a slight bow.
After having covered the whole of hilltop Goilanai a resident advised us that we could find Doboro at a beach residential area called Small Wagawaga. It meant crossing the Goilanai Bridge and walking another kilometre or so. We did. And as we did so we saw new realty estates springing up here and there such as those by Raven Real Estate, a popular housing enterprise with clientele comprising private and government business houses.
But our trip bore no fruit as we did not exactly know where seaside Wagwaga residential area was and we had to turn back because it was dark. At the bridge we came upon a taliu, meaning a wantok from Misima. We taliued or parlez vous’d a bit with him and he offered to take us to the very house where we could find Doboro. So we turned back to retrace our steps and what a blessing that turned out to be.
We found Doboro surrounded by a large family set down to dinner. The dinner was served and all was waiting for Doboro to say Grace. He in the meantime was absorbed in his copy of the Post Courier.
Our taliu escort introduced us and looking up from his paper, Doboro said, “Ah, yes, I know you very well, Doboro.”
“I am pleased to meet you, Doboro,” said Storyboard and that was it.
After saying Grace he let his family settle down to dinner and we talked. His name we learnt then was Kevin Buyarasi.
Kevin spent many years working for private construction firms in Lae. He first went to Lae in 1970 having completed his apprenticeship at the KB Vocational in Alotau the previous year. His earlier education was observed at Menapi Primary School and being himself from Mapouna in the Dawakerekere area of Cape Vogel that would have been quite an achievement for him and his people in those days.
Kevin Buyarasi spent about 32 years working in Lae. It was during those years that he met his Mailu wife, Shirley. Together they have ten children, the first being around 28years old and the last around 8 or 9. And such well-mannered young men and women the children are.
In 2009 he felt ready to quit and travel back to Alotau where he had hoped to settle and start up a business. That dream paid off and by 2010 he started running the little and humble Doboro bus service in Alotau town.
We left Kevin to supper with his family after making an arrangement for us to meet at the Nako Fisheries, Sanderson Bay, as the pickup point from where he could take us to Gurney Airport.
When we awoke and clambered down the Nako hill the next morning we discovered that Kevin and Shirley and a son were already waiting for us. We checked our watches and we realized we had almost slept in and we could miss our flight to Port Moresby. It was Sunday and Kevin and Shirley had to be back in town for Church service with their family.
Nonetheless, it was an enlightening conversation we had with Kevin while driving up to the airport. Starting up a business is indeed difficult at first but one learns to get by, he explained. The vast green landscape before us as we drove along looked more like a green desert after the oil palm trees were felled for new ones to be replanted. It was quite depressing what with all those trees missing. That in order to start up a business one needed to know where one stood with capital, what strings to pull if any and that sort of thing. We learn to get by and that is all that matters.
Yet, what really made us feel comfortable as we drove along to Gurney Airport was that very rarely do we have people from Rabaraba running businesses in Alotau town! Witnessing Doboro Kevin Buyarasi run a small bus service was and is exemplary enough. We feel proud about this. He is our source of encouragement and no matter the odds, no matter the setbacks, political, social or otherwise, he strikes us as someone more than determined to enable us all to move ahead.
As Kevin and Shirley drove back to town for Sunday service after dropping us we wondered if there would be more licences given to our people to similarly participate in businesses in the town itself. Storyboard himself could not help but wonder amusedly if even he could be granted a licence to operate a PMV from Alotau to Awaiyama one day.