CAPTAIN STEVEN JOLLY
ALI ISLAND - I want to share with you all a special tribute to our late great Great Grand Chief Sir Michael T Somare with a short story from my home, Ali Island in the Aitape District of Sandaun Province.
During the childhood years of our Great Grand Chief at Rabaul during World War II, a late gentleman by the name of Makarius Menik from Jaltaleouw village on Ali Island, with some of his fellow comrades, sailed out of Rabaul to Murik in a traditional double outrigger canoe.
Menik was escorting the late Ludwig Sana Somare and his young family along the southern coastline of New Britain to Murik via the Vitiaz Strait.
He was accompanied by brave dedicated seafarers and navigators of the time and I'm more proud to say that as a seafarer myself.
Our late Great Grand Chief was a small child during this great voyage from Rabaul to Murik, which went undetected by Japanese military aircraft and warships.
The rest of the story is a proud history of our country.
Makarius Menik is one our heroes who took part in and contributed to the life of Great Grand Chief Sir Michael T Somare.
I was fortunate enough to attend his special Holy Mass on my island home in 2017 when Makarius Menik was about 99 years old. In 2018 he passed on at the age of 100, survived by his family members at Ali Island.
I'm promoting this story from Ali Island to share with the rest of Papua New Guinea and I'm working on his full story which I want to be preserved in the proposed Somare National Museum when it is completed.
The late Makarius Menik, together with his other comrades, risked his life to travel and protect the family of the founding father of our country.
Also for your information, the woman who delivered and cut the umbilical cord of the Great Grand Chief was Mrs Watae from Yakamul Village, Aitape.
Mrs Watae is Fr Michael Watae's grandmother, is still alive to testify. A double bonus for Aitape.
The Yakamuls (30 km east of Aitape ) have always been close friends of the Murik people.