OUT of curiosity, I typed the name of my birthplace, ‘Iyaupolo village, Papua New Guinea’, into Google and this response appeared: “Your search - Iyaupolo village, Papua New Guinea - did not match any documents”.
This didn't surprise me because this tiny village is devoid of electricity and water supplies as well as basic health and education services. Nor are there houses built of corrugated iron and timber.
Time has stood still for my insignificant village, unknown to the world because it hasn't produced any lawyer, doctor, politician or figure of influence.
Nearly 42 years after independence, my people in a rural part of Fergusson Island in Milne Bay Province are still living with old realities.
The nearest health centre and primary school at Mapamoiwa station are two hours walk, or paddle, away.
Education is the key to developing any community, but my people hardly make it past Grade 8 because of the travel involved.
I was fortunate to have a decent education because my parents lived and worked in Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay.
While we huff and puff about water rationing in Port Moresby, my people in rural Iyaupolo walk a fair distance daily for a few buckets of water for daily use. Despite many election promises about water supply and rural electrification, my people still use the river to bathe and do their daily washing.
I live in a world where I almost have a stroke if the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Huawei P10 cellphones runs out of battery. But we know that 80% of Papua New Guineans live in rural areas and spend dark nights with little other than firewood and kerosene lanterns.
This is the 21st century but our people still live with such harsh realities.
So many empty election promises; so much neglect.
It is time to rise up and develop our own villages.