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The blight on us that is the Zero Tavern


THE ZERO TAVERN HAS BECOME a breeding ground for prostitution, diseases and social problems in Markham District.

Mipla sta lo Zero na kam ya” [‘we’ve been at Zero’] are the words from the drunkards returning from ‘nightshifts’ at Ngarubaruamp, which has become a hot spot for drivers travelling along the Okuk Highway.

The place is just a few minutes drive from Mutzing, near the district headquarters of Kaiapit in the Markham District.

Situated right next to the local village of Sangan lies the Zero Tavern. The place where people of all shape and sizes come to drink and find that big word ‘sex’.

It comes to life only at night. Young girls and mothers are found in tight jeans with eyes searching for money givers. Wait a minute and you will see them approaching and then off they head for the car.

These immoral activities have been going on for years now and have caused too many problems.

Many Highlanders have settled near the tavern, living in shelters which are not fit to be called houses because they looked abandoned and destroyed. Elderly women who can still make good kaukau gardens and look after pigs live in these so-called houses.

There are cases where the people steal from each other and you see them lining up in front of the Mutzing police station arguing and calling out all sorts of obscene words.

I have witnessed a case where an elderly woman from the Western Highlands was accused of stealing K500 from a man was belted her right in front of the police station, tearing her skirt and exposing the buttocks.

In another incident, the wife of man from Sampubangin, a local village, fought another woman claiming she had an affair with her husband.

Those are just some of the shows put on by the people from the Zero Traven. You see these when you come out of your house trying to catch the rising sun or strolling to the market perhaps to grab a handful of Madang buai and loose cigarettes.

It is a big concern, as students from the Markham Valley secondary school are also seen in front of the tavern enjoying themselves. Teachers have raised concerns because some students have been expelled from school.

After having a good time at Zero Tavern, the drinkers march up and down the station swearing and shouting and disturbing the peace.

My dad works there with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, so I have been witness to all these nuisance.

The tavern is attracting a lot of people and causing an increase in prostitution and the number of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls are engaging in sex for money causing problems for married couples and the community as a whole.

Meanwhile domestic violence is a daily activity. According to Wanti Wain, a local welfare officer, the number of women going to the office to seek advice is increasing.

In addition, there are no proper toilets built near the site and this gives rise to diarrhoea and cholera. Rubbish is found everywhere and the cooked food sold is poor and causes health problems.

The number of Highlanders settling here is increasing and the overcrowding might create conflicts between the Markhams and the Highlanders.

It is about time the responsible authorities and the Health Department stepped in and did something for the good of the local people and those living and working in the district. Migration has to be controlled and there has to be a friendly relationship between people of different cultures and traditions.

HIV AIDS is now everyone’s business and people should work together to fight against it. Domestic violence is a crime against women and needs to be addressed. Moreover, we all need respect and a friendly peaceful environment to live in.


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P Kipefa

Similar scenes also at Young Creek at the foot of Kassam Pass.

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