THE LIFE OF A GOILALAN
A tribute to the Late Xavier Amenai (1970 – 2015) who was a dedicated Bank Officer for 26 years.
Hymns were sung, slow and melodically, as friends and family gathered in the Catholic church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for a funeral mass. Outside the church yard was peaceful silence as birds watched from rain tree branches. In the skies above, you could hear a faint resounding choir; ‘Swing low, sweet chariot, coming forth to carry thee home.”
A man who had touched hearts of Papua New Guineans in his own ways had passed on. The late Xavier Amenai strived to achieve the aim of changing people’s lives to make a difference. We can agree that such good people are supposed to live a thousand years.
Xavier was a pioneer product of the Tapini High School in Goilala. During that time, the 70’s and 80’s, Tapini was a pinnacle of the southern region. It flooded with Europeans and Australians who came as government officers, local residents and tourists. This was the grand exposure Xavier and senior educated elites of Goilala enjoyed.
He was a humble person who let his work do the talking and let people he touches talk about him. He possessed a character of being who he is and never pretended. He was a leader with the traditional Goilala leadership traits of putting others needs and wants before your own. Goilala people believe that the satisfaction received from this is divinely overwhelming – especially if the person you help is not a relative.
Xavier and I occasionally discussed daily lives of our people and the struggles they faced. He dreamed to establish a Goilala Savings and Loans Society. He encouraged public policy development and implementation. He even debated and raised concerns on the way politics and administration affected Goilala people. He supported good governance and education.
Education was one thing Xavier was passionate about. He complained about the current students not speaking, writing and reading good English. How students are taking education for granted. How students are disengaged with studies. How behavior can impact reputation and social status. These are the moral highs that will have definite impact on your livelihood.
The influences of dependency and ignorance on people have affected the natural path of human development. Having good understanding, concern and realization of the world as an inter-dependent and inter-connected system, you will have to share and contribute to the greater good. This means that there has to be an exchange and resource sharing to live a good life. Xavier practiced that and therefore, had more friends than enemies.
The most challenging thing for Xavier, like many, was being bread-winner in the family or tribe. It is an obligation that most working people in PNG have to fulfill. It was a cultural thing, an obligation that has goodness attached to it. However, Xavier believed that giving is a purpose for a cause. When you give you show faith you will receive more. This portrays your Christian faith.
A valuable thing learnt from Xavier is to know people. Knowing people makes you enjoy life, in work, in the community and in the nation. Networking is the support we need to make our dreams come true with like-minded people.
The second is that he gave his heart for service to people. In work, he gave a word for them. In social life, he justified their stand, complemented their achievements and shared their emotions. That was the kind of person he was.
Children of Goilala can listen and read how Xavier served the country for 26 years with passion, dedication and humbleness. The ways he changed peoples mentality on Goilalans. To all those who knew Xavier; all he could ask of you in the soft whispers of the wind is that you kindly ‘Pay it forward.’
And by paying it forward is that the next time you see a Goilala child, woman or man, have the same heart and goodness to assist them in little ways you can. Goilala people are good people just like you.
The songs kept playing as people showed respect. Tears formed and fell from my eyes. In the bright skies above the church, the sound was clear; “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming forth to carry thee home.”
About Author: Paul Kaita is an aspiring writer and believer of the power of inspiring and motivating words to impact the lives of people. He supports education and has interest in research on poverty reduction policy. He can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org