Past, present and future
Br John & Br Paul - memories of my schooling come back to life

How Kerenga came to give Munomo to his big brother

Kerenga gave Munomo to his bigger brotherJIMMY AWAGL

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories

IN the morning the sun’s rays descended the cliff wall of the Gerel range into the gorges of Giai Nigle village.

The birds and cicadas whistling their morning choir to mark a new day in the life.

Munomo awoke up in her old cane bed, rubbed her eyes and peeped across to the other side of the mattress and saw handsome Kerenga sleeping without a blanket and stretching his legs towards the fireplace.

Munomo crawled across to the other side of the bed, grabbed Kerenga’s leg firmly and woke him up.

“Wake up! It’s dawn! We need to take a walk to Dumuna Parua,” she called enthusiastically.

Kerenga arose immediately from the bed and leaped towards the fireplace. He sat beside the fire and stretched his hands towards the flames and warmed his numb fingers mumbling to himself.

During the night Kerenga had been trying to come up with an excuse to avoid taking Munomo with him to his village.

“My elder brother is not married,” he thought, “and if I walk home with a girl it will be a disgrace. A younger brother shall not marry before the elder brother.”

Kerenga had not told his sisters or in-laws about the issue. This explained his sleepless night on the cane bed. He scratched his head like scraping a coconut to come up with a creative idea.

Sitting beside the fire his mind lit up: he would give Munomo away to his elder brother at Mt Wilhelm.

Munomo took her clothes and aligned them into Kerenga’s bag. She carried the bag and they ambled out of the house.

They stood near the doorway and farewelled her relatives and set their course for Mt Wilhelm Secondary School.

The morning sun added glamour to their faces as they shared final good wishes before departing.

“We will go and visit my elder brother before we return to Parua, so we are heading to Mt Wilhelm now,” Kerenga told Munomo’s parents.

As they walked to Gere village the people watched them passing through.

Munumo waved at the boys who had previously attacked them as they continued their journey along the famous Yomba Kun track.

They trekked the same path where Kerenga had been attacked. As soon as they reached the site where the four boys had pounced on him, they paused for a moment. Kerenga looked at Munomo’s face nodding his head.

“This is the place where they attacked me. I received a bleeding nose and a black eye,” Kerenga said.

“I am sorry; they are drug addicts from the village. They like causing trouble so forgive them.”

“Such incidents occur in every society and it should not be a surprise,” Kerenga concluded.

The discussion put a smile on their faces and they seemed to understand one another.

“Listen, this is serious, I am going to raise a discussion here before it’s too late,” Kerenga said to Munomo.

“What is it?” Munomo asked, worried.

“I am the youngest doing Grade 10. It’s a disgrace for me to marry you before my elder brother, who is a secondary school teacher. Therefore, I will offload you with him. He will marry you,” Kerenga stated boldly.

“If your bigger brother is willing to take me as his wife then it will not be a problem,” Munomo replied.

“I will explain the situation to my bigger brother and ask him to accept you as his wife,” said Kerenga.

“By the way, I renamed this place Yagl Kiam Nigl.”

“Why?” asked Munomo.

“It means the boys attacked me for you girls, so I called it this name in our Kuman language.”

Then they left the site for the two-hour trek down to Gembogl station and then further, all the way up hill to Mt Wilhelm Secondary School.

By the time they arrived at the house it was around 4pm and, soon after, Kerenga’s elder brother returned from the school.

He was surprised to see Kerenga and a young woman at his house.

“You left just yesterday and now you are back with a girl. What is the story?” his bigger brother asked.

“I returned for a court case and yesterday her parents declared her to be my wife. Those boys had attacked me for her.

“However, we have agreed that, as I am the youngest, you will marry her,” Kerenga asserted.

His bigger brother smiled. He looked at his younger brother and said, “I am old and cannot not use my strength and looks to attract a wife, so I will accept your offer.”

“Munomo, you were genuine with me when we talked atYagl Kiam Nigl,” Kerenga said, “and so now I am leaving you with my bigger brother to be your husband.”

And so Munomo started her married life with Kerenga’s bigger brother at Mt Wilhelm Secondary School. 


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