‘Nyada raised me…’ Eva Kuson sets the stage for Manus day

Picture by Barefoot photography

My mother gave birth to me at Lorengau General Hospital. Her parents came to town and took me home to Nyada, on the West Coast of Manus.

Nyada raised me.

I nearly drowned five times riding waves on old tree barks, kissed death when I choked on a fruit seed, speared at the ankle during a fishing game, fell 15 metres from a coconut tree, developed tropical ulcers twice, became malaria victim on many, many occasions.

But…Nyada raised me.

I was fed mashed sago from mouths of my kewan clan women, whacked across the head by my kewan clan men for tangling their fishing net.

Slinged and strapped with laplap on my grandmother’s backside as she fried sago. My grandfather carried me on his shoulder and smoked me out with stinking brus and tobacco as we trailed the forest for sago expeditions.

But…Nyada raised me

I caught my first fish at the age of five and gave it to my grandfather’s sister. She was honoured by the gesture that she called on our dead ancestors to bless my hand so I may catch more to feed the entire village.

Her ‘blessings’ got to my head, that I invested long hours out at the sea to catch more fish which resulted in bad pneumonia.

But…Nyada raised me.

Played on the beach from dawn to dusk, attempted fishing at the age of 3, claimed a fishing spot at age 4. Age 5, I was holding down canoes on fishing trips, at age 6 I washed my first bag of sago. At the age of 8, my mother brought me to Port Moresby to begin my education.

But…. Nyada raised me.

I graduated from a tertiary institution, comfortably living in my city house, my daughter is in a private school, cooking on gas stove, rode in my car, travelled extensively to different places.

Because… Nyada raised me.

We have a reason to celebrate Manus Day 🐚

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