Monday, 29 August 2016

"Our heartbeat is connected to time. See what you can do while the heart still beats and the opportunities are there," retelling a story of a successful man - Jacob Luke

by ROBERT IKI LESO

EVERYTHING happens according to time. Nothing is too late or too early. Every child is not born by mistake. It is predetermined before time. Thus every child both born and unborn deserve an exceptional recognition.

Our heartbeat is connected to time. See what you can do while the heart still beats and the opportunities are there! You don’t need to be born special or smart to be successful.

No race, gender or any negative background should discourage anyone from realizing their crazy dreams or full potential. Mothers deserve a special place in every society because tears and pain of every baby is connected to their heartbeat.

Everyone is born special and unique on their own rights. Therefore comparing someone with another person means nothing. Someone was born for a purpose only known fully well by the Creator! If nothing has stopped you from being born in whatever condition, be prepared and look ahead for greater accomplishments in life.

Unfavorable conditions have taught men great lessons about success.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you…” Jeremiah 1: 5

The continuous groan of a pregnant woman in labor disturbed the peaceful afternoon. It was inside a smoke-stained traditional woman house. “Please help! Please help! I am dying”, the young woman cried. The pain endlessly worsened. Wishes for relief bothered her like thirst of a desert traveler. The pain was beyond her control. It gained momentum as it was her first labor. The torment had no pity for elderly women who made every possible attempt to comfort the suffering young mother. 

Mixed emotions tormented her helpless thought. “Am I dying or will I ever live? Is this what every woman goes through during childbirth? I wouldn’t have got married to avoid this pain. I would have lived a single life without such unstoppable pains. I wish this pain continue no more”. 

She wished she could fly away from the suffering like a bird above the mountains into the cloudless sky. She could not stand the unbearable pain. The fear of death mixed with regret continued to build up within her. It became like a time-bomb threatening to blow her apart.
Realizing it was already late to have such wishes, she reminded herself to remain brave. She knew then that she was no longer single. She was going to be mother of her first-born child for the first time in her life. For that, she had to fight on bravely and win the ongoing battle.

Surrounded by sloppy hills with screaming rivers and waterfalls, the rescue of this dying woman was hopeless by any missionary vehicles. The Wabag Health Centre was hundreds of kilometers away. It was long hours’ walk beyond rugged terrains.
Tit Clan’s Yakandak Village was where the woman’s husband comes from. She was born as Aipit Lyambian from the Pumain tribe of Kinip Clan that lives in a small hilly village of Kolopip. It is located few kilometers within the Monokam ranges. Pumain Clan is a sub-clan of Tit Clan that intermarries with each other. (Luke Luwai’s clan)

Right in front of Yakandak was the roaring Ambum River. The screaming river becomes crystal clear during fine weather. It turns angry and increases speed with swirling mud during wet seasons. The snake-like river crashes down the Ambum Valley. It causes unexpected landslides along its banks. This threatens vehicles passing through the snake-like road built by early missionaries and colonial government. The road snakes along the river bank in line with the winding trail of the river. 

Further to the background of the village is the Mon River. Due to the unfriendly land shape, this river also becomes wild and rough. It rushes down the valley shoveling anything along its path. Both rivers meet and join force downstream to be called mighty Ambum River in the green Ambum Valley.
The pain of the helpless mother continued till afternoon. The evening sun disappeared into the surrounding western sloppy hills of Monokam. The setting sun painted the evening sky beautifully in rainbow colors. As the pain endured, the night became long and restless.
Insects were chirping in chorus. Evil breeze was blowing from the angry wild Ambum River in a frightening whisper. All the sounds seemed as if they were mourning over a dead body. Fire flies were flickering here and there in the stillness of the night. Owls were shrieking from nearby trees in the thick black night. Their cries sent dead wishes to the dying woman for her ghost to be taken away. 

Fear held everyone in the village by their throats. They wished the day broke quickly without the mother dying. Diligent women kept feeding the dancing flames with dry wood. The flame from the fireplace produced both heat and light. It fought the engulfing darkness and warmed the menacing highlands cold. Throughout the night, village women kept company with the mother and the unborn child.
Aipit got married to Luwai. He was renamed by the Lutheran missionaries as Luke of the Bible when they baptized him. Since he was a young father, he was inexperienced about childbirth. The Engan culture also restricts all males from going closer to woman giving birth or having menstruation period. Because of that, he had no chance in comforting his dying wife and unborn child. However, he only wished and prayed that everything would work alright throughout the night. 

Blend of anxiety and sorrow robbed all his sleep. In the Tit Clan’s smoky man-house, the young father smoked his home-grown tobacco deeply. He felt every power of the nicotine he inhaled gripped all his beings. He then slowly breathed out mouthful of smoke like a lone chimney. His face clouded with smoke from the roll of tobacco between his lips, he was deeply buried in thought. All the other clansmen were snoring away and disappearing into the unknown world in their sleep.
“It is too soon to lose both my wife and the unborn child”, he thought in front of the dancing flames with the roll of tobacco still stuck between his fingers.
Due to lack of proper health care, he had witnessed numerous women dying in childbirth. In fact, his wife could not be an exception. If both the mother and child survived the ordeal, it could be a miracle. He actually feared the most and the thought of it made him to cry like a child. Though he had the reason to shed tears, he reminded himself that he was no longer a little boy. He was a tough Tit raised Engan man who could not succumb to such childish emotions. He therefore withheld his tears and changed his thoughts. He instead worked out how he could rescue his sweetheart and his unborn first-born child. He wanted to show who really he was. He actually had to show how much he loved his family. He wanted to give his life away for them. And he really meant it as he was a man of action and most of his peers knew who he was like. 

The memories of the struggles Luwai had gone through in marrying Aipit flooded his mind at the same time. He was actually an overgrown man when he showed his interest to this local beauty couple of months ago. It was a struggle for him while other young men also had their eyes on her. A sense of triumph lighted up his thoughts. He was indeed the victor in finally marrying his dream girl. His wife’s aunt became powerful influence to set it up for his success. For that, the aunt became the best of his friends till death. After meditating on his love story, Luwai decided that before dawn, his wife had to be taken to Wabag Health Centre for immediate medical attention. 

Working at the Wabag Health Centre as a medical officer was Aipit’s brother. (name of this brother). The year was in the early 1960s. It was still dark. The first rays of the morning sun could not hit the sleeping valley yet. It is usual that the day breaks lazily. The sloppy hills refuse the sun from shining on the hidden Monokam Valley below.
Without waiting any further, the mother and the unborn child were lifted onto a stretcher. With two bearers on each end, they carried her over the hills towards Wabag. Through the squelching mud, hand numbing cold and sloppy hills, the carriers painfully walked on mostly uphill. Though it was a cold morning, mixture of anxiety and sweat paralyzed the carriers. The men took turns in carrying the sick mother. No-one talked or laughed. Everyone walked silently lost in their own world. Each worked out how long it would take them to reach medical attention before anything unfortunate happened.
While on the stretcher, the mother felt unbearable to contain the excruciating pain. She felt as if her whole body was on fire and sharp needles were poking her from the back at every rhythm of her heartbeat. Her moan increased in response to the pain. She couldn’t contain anymore until she begged the carriers to stop. 

With anxiety racing in their breath, the carriers stopped. They struggled to find out what the dying mother had mumbled. She only responded with tightly-shut eyes and kept fighting against the agony. The other women already knew what was going to happen next. They signaled the men to retreat further and the women created a human fence around her. After a deadly battle with the labor, the baby was eventually born along the Komaeng Road upon the Leoleo Hill exactly half-way towards the Wabag Health Centre.
It was just like the Savior of the world who was born on a manger in Bethlehem after searching for all the guest houses and decent accommodation. This baby’s case was even worse than that. He was not born in a manger, a hospital or a house. He was born outside along the road to the hospital. It was indeed a miracle that both the mother and the child were safe. Though the baby was born alive, he was really sick-looking and vulnerable to diseases. During a time when modern medicine and health care was rare and child mortality was high, the baby’s future also looked oblivious.

What a sigh of relief to the mother though. Others who accompanied her were also elated. They went back home joyous the same morning with tears of joy. The news reached home ahead that the child was boy. The father hearing the good news was excited like never before. He actually felt a sense of achievement in his life. A boy child is a pride in Engan culture to extend the father’s inheritance. How proud the father was when he realized that the Luke legacy will live on even when he was gone.
To the mother the baby brought bitter-sweet encounter. For ritual purity, the newborn baby and the mother were isolated in a temporarily built hut for seven days. After the purification the mother was thrilled about the birth of his little son. Since the baby was his first-born and very sweet to her heart, she named him Solekuli in Enga language meaning salt after her own name. Her own name, Aipit in Enga language is another word for salt as well. The mother couldn’t think of a better name than that. This name actually indicates a special ingredient in Engan society meals that make food sweet. Salt also played a special role in the traditional trade in Enga before the western influence as well. Indeed this name displays a prophetic indication that this child is born not only sweet to Tit Clan in Monokam but Enga Province and the rest of the country. 

The child grew to be Solekuli Yakopis. Later he went to school and one of his class teachers at Kundis Primary School called Mrs Julie Yakkas nicknamed him Jacob. He is actually Solekuli Yakopis Jacob Luke. Most refer to him as Jacob Luke. In this book he will be referred to as Jacob Luke which is familiar to many. 

From the way Jacob was born, many would confirm it as a divine intervention. Most will call it a miracle. Yet others will call lucky. However you describe it, he was born at the right time and it was not too early or too late. He was born with a purpose and that very purpose is to be a blessing not only in deeds and wealth to the Monokam Village and the Tit Clan but Enga province and to the whole nation of Papua New Guinea!

* This material will form Chapter One of a Biography (Book) about the life of Jacob Luke, 
the Managing Director and Owner of Mapai Transport Limited. 

Jacob Luke 
Jacob Luke (middle) as a CEO for Mapai Transport Limited making a presentation of a PGK20,000 for the 2016 Enga Cultural Show. 
Source: ROBERT IKI LESO / Facebook / Building blocks of writing Skills

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