Words and pictures by NICOLE TURUMANU in BUIN
A young man came into my shop in Buin today.
Sunburnt and salty from the sea crossing, he looked both sad and happy.
He told me hunger drove him across the Solomon Island and PNG border.
His family is waiting back in Shortlands for him to bring back food.
They come to my shop for rice, flour, sugar, oil, noodles.
They also buy bananas, taro, garden food because their gardens have run out of food.
His little ones are hungry. They have been surviving on Kakake, made from wild swamp taro.
For the last month, we have heard this story over and over from the Shortland Islanders.
We open our arms, we open our homes, our coffee shops, our scone trays to them.
They are humans like us. We need to show them the love they deserve.
In Buin, we don’t think of them as Solomon Islanders. We consider them as our brothers and sisters.
Some white old man in UK put an imaginary line between Buin and Shortlands.
It is on the map. But in our minds it does not exist. We are all wan pipol, wan solwara and wan femili.
We will keep our homes open to Shortland Islanders for as long as their government ignores their plight.
My appeal to my ABG Government and PNG government is please do something.
No ship has come from Honiara as promised.
No plane has come. The Shortlanders cannot be left stranded.
More Shortland Islanders crossed the border today. Next Thursday they will come for market.
And next Saturday they will come. We won’t stop them. We will welcome them as we always do.
Our prayer in Buin, Orava and Konnou is for the governments of all countries to consider this as a serious humanitarian issue.
The author NICOLE TURUMANU is owner of NABES REGO TRADING in Buin.
Sent to SBMOnline from the publisher of Adventures of Big Pat