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Crocodile Man’s voice echoes through Simbu’s valleys

Simbu Woman (Simon Mathias)WORDS: JIMMY AWAGL.   ILLUSTRATION: SIMON MATHIAS

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

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
SP Brewery Award for Illustration

THERE were gloomy days for the lone Simbu Woman living in the steep mountains of Simbu with her 10-year old son and one-year old daughter.

One morning an unfamiliar voice floated down the valley and called for Simbu Woman to respond, which she did promptly.

It was the voice of Crocodile Man echoing through the valleys and gullies. To Simbu Woman it was like the rhythmic beat of a kundu drum ringing in her heart.

She abandoned her gardening task and walked up to the top of the ridge to meet the voice.

She carried two Simbu bilums. The one on her head read, ‘Simbu Writers Association’. The one from her shoulder read, ‘Welcome Home, the 2015 Crocodile Prize to Kundiawa Simbu Province, 18-19 September.’

At the top of the ridge, Crocodile Man saw Simbu Woman ascending the slope with her load.

He called even louder, “Simbu Woman, do you hear me?”

“I heard you. I left completing my task to come and meet you,” replied Simbu Woman.

“Then you need to be prompt,” Crocodile Man demanded.

“Relax and be cool, I am coming and we will meet at any moment.

“I am carrying two bilums of kaukau, they are heavy and I cannot walk as fast as you are expecting,” she added.

Soon they met on top of the ridge. They looked at each other and smiled while Simbu Woman wiped away her sweat and inhaled the fresh air.

Crocodile Man began the conversation.

“Why are you carrying two bilums? Your place is remote, rugged and mountainous,” he asked with curiosity.

“One is for Simbu Writer’s Association and the other is for the Crocodile Prize,” Simbu Woman explained.

“There are 14 pieces of kaukau for the Crocodile Prize to use.”

“Why?” Simbu Man asked.

“Read the words on the bilum,” she replied. “Welcome home, 2015 Crocodile Prize to Kundiawa, Simbu Province on 18-19 September.”

“Woo! It’s great to see how well you are preparing to host the event for the very first time away from Aussie High Com,” Crocodile Man said excitedly.

 “Why are you putting your hands into the bilum?”

“I want you to see the 2015 plan for the awards,” Simbu Woman said.

“This is a tremendous plan. The two days will entertain the guests, sponsors, writers, poets and authors,” Crocodile Man exclaimed.

“This year there will be about 600 entries but we don’t know how many people will turn up in Kundiawa for the awards ceremony,” Simbu Woman said.

“I am working against time to provide enough for the two days event. It’s a big burden so I need to offload some of the burden for you to shoulder.”

“Sure, why not. I am here to share your burden for we are a team,” replied Crocodile Man with a glistering smile.

“Thanks, and thanks for the conversation,” said Simbu Woman.

The Simbu award ceremony for the Crocodile prize will take place on 18 and 19 September. On the first day, the event will feature a 4x4 cross-country tour to Crocodile Island for guests and fans.

And on the second day, it will showcase the splendid Simbu traditional singsing, a Simbu secondary school students debate and, in the evening, the awards ceremony will take place at Mount Wilhelm Tourist Hotel.

Simbu Woman is extending her invitation to all writers, poets, authors, sponsors, fans, politicians, bureaucrats and business houses to attend the event in Kundiawa to know about the growth and development of native PNG literature. 

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