Wednesday, 8 February 2017


I live in Lae in Papua New Guinea with my 18 year old daughter Lisa and her 30 year old cousin sister Ato who has a 10 year old daughter Matilda.

We are soon to be joined by my elder daughter Rachael aged 19 years widowed with two baby sons Joseph and Jeffrey. These daughters are my best friends on the planet.

I was adopted by Ato as her step-father with her little girl as my grand-daughter. My house is full of women who look after me. Life is good.

I plan to put all these women through school as soon as I can afford to do so. Ato left school in grade 11 while Lisa started grade 11 this year. 

Lisa did well in her grade 10 exams gaining a Distinction in English. It helps to have a white man as a father who teaches writing skills. 

Rachael is a mother and left school in grade 8. She allows me to correct the errors in her text messages to the point that her English expression is polished and correct.

I am now 70 years old and see my grave looming up ahead of me. I hope that all girls will be educated and independent before I go into the soil.

Matilda is in grade 5 and the most well read PNG child I have ever met. She can pick up any book or newspaper and read. Her father died two years ago.

Soon she will tell me the story in her own words and write a paragraph on what she has just read. I bring home the Australian Women's Weekly from the local second hand clothing shop in Lae. 

What a wonderful magazine with a standard risen so high in the last 20 years. It is not just a women's magazine. It has stories of happy and unhappy marriages. 

There is the occasional report on child abuse, produced by quality journalists who promote respect for goodness in men and women. The last magazine I bought published in 2013 had an article on the daughters of Prime Ministers Rudd and Abbott. 

One daughter said her father was loved because he saw her brain as her best asset. That is gender equality.

I like to think I have always treated my children like that. In Australia, I have two daughters who are a dentist and teacher. They went through private schools. 

Their only fault was that they thought they had the right to the best of everything with no need to show gratitude to their father for anything. They had rights while father only had responsibilities.

But I miss my daughters and grand-children in Australia. I know that if I lived in Australia my children would put me into a nursing home and ignore me. My loving and loyal PNG daughters would never do that.

My PNG daughters care for me and protect me. Three years ago, when I was caretaker of a house, I had occasion to stop a young woman from smashing furniture in a drunken fury. She hit me in the face with the leg of a chair.

When my two teenage daughters found out they arrived in force, grabbed the young woman, dragged her down the steps on her bum and bashed her. They said that they would be back to do the same if she ever touched their dad again.

My Australian daughters would just shrug their shoulders and say that I probably deserved it. Their mother would agree. I will never go back to Australia.

My PNG daughters care for me. I always have clean clothes hanging in the cupboard. I can never remember my Australian daughters doing any house work. They were basically lazy. 

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