More on Simon the Gardener…

Simon the Gardener

If you read my blog post from last Wednesday you will be aware that Simon the Gardener past away last Tuesday night / Wednesday morning at Angau Memorial hospital.

The above photo was taken about three weeks ago where Simon is holding a T-Shirt that I gave him from one of the “Give-away” boxes.

The death/funeral thing in PNG is an event that is very tightly coupled with PNG tradition and social responsibility. The locals will go through great lenghts to transport the dead body back to the person’s land and village. Simon’s situation is difficult due to the fact that he left his home town “Tari” in the Southern Highlands many many years ago (late 1960’s).

The following email was sent around this morning by Leonard G. – Simon lived underneath Leonard’s home for a number of years and had a close association with Leonard’s family. The simple option would be to give Simon a “pauper’s” funeral here in Lae for about K100 – the alternative is to fly him back to Tari. The problem is trying to get hold of Simon’s relatives and also the cost associated with the transport.

I have been in contact with one of Simon’s younger brothers. He works at OK Tedi. He also has a brother that lives in Mt. Hagen, another brother lives in Goroka, and a sister lives in Mendi.

The brother in OK Tedi is the only one who is working, so is having trouble finding the money necessary to get Simon’s body sent to Tari for burial.
(There was another funeral two weeks ago; a nephew living in Port Moresby
died.) I told him we could bury the body here for K100, but he told me there is no way the family would want him to be buried outside their home area.

We checked with Air Niugini about cargo costs. It will cost about K1800 for the paperwork and the air freight costs to fly the body to Tari. In addition to that there is the cost of the coffin, and the cost of the airfare for someone to accompany the body. They are probably looking at the least K3,000.

The president of the NCSA has suggested that I ask the UNITECH community for donations.

So, I am now doing that. If you want to donate, give the money to me or to one of the secretaries in the Business Studies Department, if I am not in my office.

I would also like someone who has been in charge of shipping a body before to come forward and teach me what I have to do.

Thank you.

The Author

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