On the 23rd of February I was in Arawa when a women saw me and said: I know you make films so I am inviting you to film our protest march tomorrow.
I asked her some details what the protest march was about than she told me that it is about the loss of 47 Bougainvilleans in a single day on the MV Rabaul Queen off the coast of Morobe, Png on the 2nd of February.
She told me that they want the Bougainville Autonomous Government to build schools such as Universities and colleges on Bougainville so that Bougainville students will not have to go faraway for education. I told her that the Government will say there is no money the only way is to re-open the mine, so you the leaders must have something to say when it comes to that.
The march started from North Nasioi Council of Elders office and ended up at Mari mari haus lotu where they presented a petition to the member for North Nasioi and minister for Agriculture in the ABG Linus Daku.
Three ABG ministers from Central Bougainville were there, upon receiving the petition Minister L Daku said that they will bring the matter to the cabinet this month and cabinet will look into it.
Everyone was concerned that day that the Government must do something about the schools because there are no higher schools on Bougainville.
However, the leader lady of Education told them that there was no money to go forward and build the Universities and colleges and that Panguna mine must be re-opened. So she appealed to the Panguna landowners but she was cut off by Mekamui Commander Chris Uma that Panguna won’t re-open and that made the hundreds of women and men give a big cheer.
The most moving part was when the survivors arrived from Buka, those from Kieta Central Bougainville. This ceremony took place at the youth centre.
People cried and cried when they remembered the relatives lost or their sons and daughters who didn’t make it. There were prayers and services held, the religion comes in to play its part to give hope and comfort in times like this.