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ATS & the complexity of land titles

The big yellow excavator

Buk Bilong Pikinini students
Students from the Buk Bilong Pikinini School worried that their home has been removed by the developer.

| Ples Singsing | Edited

I interviewed some of the students who went to Buk Bilong Pikinini School on the ATS hillside. This is one of their stories. The girl’s name has been changed - BW

PORT MORESBY - It was a bright sunny day and Mekeme was reading a book at the Buk Bilong Pikinini School on the hillside of the ATS settlement.

As she sat on the school veranda, she saw a big yellow excavator come slowly down the hill towards her house.

It was escorted by two police cars.

The police told people to remove their homes within 21 days. Meanwhile, the land would be cleared.

Mekeme threw her book aside and ran straight down the hill to her house.

The big yellow excavator moved slowly. It slowly destroyed all the trees standing near Mekeme’s house.

Mekeme saw her parents standing there, feeling helpless and worried.

Her parents where shock. They didn’t know what to do.

People ran from all directions to see what was going on.

Then the big yellow excavator went slowly to her neighbour’s house and destroyed the food gardens and banana trees.

In the following days, Mekeme’s parents began removing their belongings from their house.

Mekeme started packing her reading books into boxes, along with the Buk Bilong Pikinini shirts she wore to school.

They put them into a small dump truck which would take them to their relatives.

With the house emptied, Mekeme called some of the boys she knew from ATS to help her parents remove the frames and posts of the house.

Yellow-big-excavatorIt took two days to remove the roof and walls of the house and shift them to their cousin’s place at Eight Mile.

Then Mekeme went to her neighbour’s house to help them remove their belongings.

She invited the boys to help remove their roof and the walls. Mekeme’s neighbours were very happy with her.

After a week, they had finally removed everything and sadly said goodbye to their home of 20 years.


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