Haiveta Babul aka Mrs. No Life in Nouvelle Caledonia

By Neko Babul

Before I start on the next episode, let me tell you the meaning of Haiveta Mori. It means Happy Girl in the Toaripi language of Gulf Province.

Haiveta was in her element, she got everything organized, her father Mr. J.P. Sarufa constructed a wooden chest to pack the bulky items like blankets and pillows, cooking pots and pans plus other utensils.

We got our travel documents like passports and visas, and did the medical checks at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

We brought back from Lae my niece Grace whose mother passed away after giving birth to her in May 1979. She was included with baby John Maiva Babul in Haiveta’s passport.

Before going to Nouméa, I had to attend a Population Census conference in East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii from end of May to end of June.

Soon after arriving back from Hawaii, we were ready to go to Nouméa.

The new Babul family flew by Air Niugini to Brisbane airport, then boarded a Qantas flight to Nouméa.

We were picked up at the airport and taken to our new home in Nouméa.

I started working with Mr. Groeneweld, a Dutchman who was a consultant to the Pacific islands on Population studies. Joining me was a Fijian woman Ms. Vilimaina.

Haiveta wasted no time in settling in to our home, which was a two bedroom flat, upstairs with a lounge downstairs. A Solomon Islands family had the next flat.

We were pleasantly surprised to meet a Tolai wantok called Mr. Ellison Kaivovo and family, plus a Mr. Bob from Australia with his Vabukori wife with their kids. Both Ellison Kaivovo and Bob were employed by the South Pacific Commission.

Life and work at the South Pacific Commission was easy going, and the life was perfect. We had a canteen at the Commission where we obtained our food supply, and it was deducted from our monthly allowance.

Once a month, the Papua New Guinea families including Bob and his family, and our Solomon Islands wantok had a barbecue and games and we men would drink our French beers.

The next episode; Adventures in New Caledonia.

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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