Sunday, 29 March 2015


I have two beautiful daughters, as they say Australian and Eastern Highlands mix. Rachael is nearly 18 years old while Lisa is 17 years old this year. Both have given me more trouble than any children in my life. But they are lovely and loyal to their dad.

I have looked after both of them almost all their lives as a single father. Their mother left us when Rachael was 13 months old. Lisa came to me at the age of two after I took the mother to National Court for custody. 

I was an expatriate man but able to show the Court that I was the key carer who would continue to look after the girls. I will never forget Court day before cross old Mr Justice Mark Sevua of Low Island Manus. Defence counsel advised that aircraft had just crashed into the US Trade Centre.

Rachael spent most of her time wanting to climb up and sit with the judge. He did not put her or me in the cells for contempt. Mr Justice Sevua died on Manus about 6 months ago.

The mother went back to the village and I looked after the girls all the rest of their lives. Both were rascol girls who were never where I hoped they would be. It is 6.30pm and the girls are not at home. Dinner is served and where the hell are they? I was the only white man regularly walking the streets calling the girls.

Rachael was very much like me. She had a sense of right and wrong and level headed in her understandings. I tried to find them a mother but was most unsuccessful. 

It is a very special woman in PNG who will look after the children of another mother. Lisa was a raskol like her mother but very much dominated by her big sister.

The closest they got to a mother was Dorcas, the small sister of Nancy who lived with me for 3 years from 1993. Dorcas was six years old and has always called me dad. Now she is 27 and regarded as a sister by Rachael and Lisa. They are all the same size. They are three good looking women.

They grew up suddenly about 4 years ago when I spent almost a month in the Intensive Care Unit of Port Moresby General Hospital with a small heart attack followed by tuberculosis.

The girls came to the hospital nightly with a basket of fruit and promised they would care for me forever. Dorcas promised to have me buried in the village in the highlands. I felt better already. Back at home I still had to run the streets looking for my daughters.

Our lives changed forever when a man decided he wanted to marry Rachael. He pursued her and with a combination of lies and trickery managed to win her heart. They are now together with my daughter nearly 18 years old and the mother of a beautiful mixed race boy they called ..... Bruce.

So now I was alone with Lisa and the prospect of a job in Mt Hagen. I did not want Lisa to come with me. She stayed with her Aunty Serah and her husband who sent LIsa to private school. She has suddenly blossomed. No longer in her sister’s shadow, she is tall like her sister and clever.

Lisa came home last week to announce she was elected prefect. She has high grades in all her tests and is now in the school taekwondo team. She came to me at the age of 2 years speaking no English only Tok Pisin. I speak fluent Tok Pisin but spoke to her only in English.

By the time she went into elementary school, she could read English with the aid of phonics I put on computer. At the age of 9, I would give her a report from the newspaper to read aloud and to tell the story in her own words.

Rachael was not as interested but she now regrets that she left school and has a son. I take her books to read. Her favourite is the National Geographical magazine. So she is catching up to her little sister.

Rachael looks after her father now that he is sick. I live down the road and she sends a security guard at night with a cooked meal. Lisa comes to see me when she can or texts loving messages on her mobile phone. Can I have some credits dad? Is it your pay fortnight Thursday?

I have two daughters in Australia Michelle and Jenny I have not seen in so many years. They are completely different from their half sisters in Papua New Guinea. They are not kind. I know that if I went back to Australia, they would put me in a nursing home as I grew old and abandon me. My PNG daughters would never do that.

I cared for my Australian daughters all their lives until I left in marriage break-up when they were 23 and 20 respectively and in relationships with young men who were to be their husbands. 

They think they owe me nothing after a lifetime of childhood receiving all the love and support I could find. Now that I have gone, it is all over despite attempts to contact them.

They are not happy that I did not come back to Australia despite intentions and promises to come back after setting up a successful training company. 

But after my PNG daughters were born and their mother left, I could not leave them in PNG for fear they would be stolen by uncles and aunties and taken to live in the Eastern Highlands. I may have never seen them again. They are mixed race white. Rachael’s son is white.

I will never go back to Australia at least until my youngest daughter is 18 and makes her own decision. Up to now they need the signature of their mother who will never agree. They need me more than my daughters in Australia. Lisa has sent Face book messages but has been ignored.

I have two sons I have not seen for so long. My youngest Andrew is moderately disabled but lives happily by the family photos on Face book. He has a daughter. I dream of my Australian family every night. But I care about my PNG daughters every day.

The latest is that Lisa has become a member of the school taekwondo team. She was involved in a taekwondo bout last weekend and won all the heats. Her gold medal was worn around the neighbourhood. She says the school wants her to board at their expense to train up to the South Pacific Games in July.

She may well end up in the PNG Olympic team. Her half brother Damian in Australia was the most courageous young fighter in Kyokushin karate that I have seen. He was tough in delivery and moved like a ballet dancer.

I dream that before I die my children in Australia and PNG will all meet. Rachael is so much like Michelle. Lisa was so much like Jenny. All suffered from the big sister-little sister syndrome. The two elder girls are strong.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Bruce. I hope you are doing fine. Cheers.