Chapter 19: Present Day Wautogik Women

Wautogig women were held back from modern education for one and a half generations. In the early days of education, the physical conditions were very rough. There was little food and you had to walk long distances. If you succeeded at school, you would have to move away from home. So there were many obstacles that prevented women from going to school.

However, in the short space of generation, many things changed. By the time the teachers and civil servants were going to school, school had been brought closer to their home. Girls were no longer afraid to go to school and moving far away for work was no longer an issue. Parents were more willing to let their daughters go to school, and if they married and worked far from home, so be it. Parents could visit their daughters elsewhere in the country and enjoy a share in their success.

It is worth mentioning these women who made it in what was then a men’s world.

Women from Wautogik

Rosa Ulamiku Aimo is the only daughter of Jacob Aimo. She is the daughter of a traditional village elder and mother. She made it to the UPNG, graduating in library studies. She has been working as a librarian for the University of Technology in Lae.

Francisca Nanguia is the sister of Joseph and Tony Nanguia. She graduated from University of Goroka and taught at Malala National High School.1 She is the daughter of Mar Nanguia, Sergeant Major in the former Papuan Infantry Battalion. He fought in the Pacific War.

Grace Guaigu is the daughter of Joseph and Barin Guaigu. Joseph was the first teacher of Wautogig village. Miss Guaigu completed her Business Studies at UPNG and is probably the first Wautogig woman to complete studies at an overseas university, attaining a Master’s degree in Business Studies in New Zealand.2 She taught at the Divine Word University, Madang, and is now teaching Business Studies at the UPNG.

Jennifer Saurin Gabuogi is the daughter of Anton and Benedette Gabuogi. Miss Gabuogi leads the second-generation University graduates. For a time she worked for the ANZ bank.3

Janet Rahiria is the daughter of Matthew Rahiria. She graduated from the Goroka campus of UPNG and is employed with De La Salle secondary school as a teacher. Janet is married to a West Sepik man.

Mina Nindim graduated in Economics from the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. She, like Jennifer Gabuogi, is in the second generation of Wautogigs to graduate from university. She works as an economist for the Bank of PNG.

All of Teliəs Seingu’s daughters have done well. Philomina Seingu Supo is a laboratory technician. She studied in Sydney and now works at UPNG. Philomina’s other sisters are Paulina Yauieb, PNGBC banker, and Ate, Secretary to Commissioner of Police.

Yolanda Yauieb is a graduate of the University of Wollongong, Australia. She is another second-generation university graduate of Wautogig. Yolanda is the first Wautogig woman to marry outside PNG. She is married to a man from NSW, Australia.4

Jeklin Talonu is a graduate in Law from UPNG.5

Women from Other Villages

There are also many educated women from elsewhere in PNG who have married into Wautogig. All of these women in their own way, and in their own right, have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the village.

Korore, the wife of Joseph Sallun was the first woman from another province to marry in from elsewhere and settle with her husband in the village. She was from Ramu, Madang. Since then, many women from other villages and provinces have married into Wautogig. It remains to be seen if these women will retire and live in the village. It is worth noting that most of these women have gone to the village on Christmas holiday and lived in the village for a little while.6

Cathy Samana, married to my brother Camillus and educated at UPNG, has a permanent house in the village. The house has a gas stove and a septic toilet built a short distance away that operates using gravitation with water supplied from a tank. Mrs. Lucy Mellam is another of the women from other provinces married into Wautogig. On Mellam’s retirement, he and Lucy settled down back in Wautogig. Lucy was well cared for, but she became very ill with high blood pressure and died in Wautogig. She comes from a mixed parentage, father from Buin and mother from Goroka.

Mrs. Bablis comes from Bialla in West New Britain. She teaches at Port Moresby secondary school. She has spent some time in the village at Christmas, but it is not known if she could live there permanently.

Margaret Gabut, wife of Joseph Gabut, is from Pagwi in the Sepik River region. She too has spent some Christmas holidays in the village, but it is not known if she can live there for long periods. Mrs. Gabut is a biologist who teaches biology at UPNG. One of her daughters, Esta Gabut, is undergoing medical studies to become a medical officer or doctor in Port Moresby.

Anna Kowor Nindim is an Arapesh woman married to William Nindim. She comes from Magopin village. Given the chance, it is likely that Anna could live in the village. She has lived in the village in the past and currently has a permanent house in the village. She is a trained nurse.

Benadette Mellam comes from Kotai. She is married to Dr. Mellam. She is a graduate in Business Studies from UPNG, where she still works. She has proven that she can live in the village although it might be a long time yet before this happens.

Dr. Andrew Moutu’s former wife Esta is a woman from Finschafen who graduated in Law from UPNG and worked for the PNG Ombudsman Commission.

Apolonia Wagumbio Yauieb is married to Andrew Yauieb. Mrs. Yauieb is a nurse by training. Her mother comes from Hawain village. Her father come from Yangoru but migrated to Hawain. Mrs. Yauieb is capable of living in the village.

Benedette Gabuogi is a woman from Tui village. Her father is from Yangoru but he migrated to Tui. Currently, she runs her own pathology service in Lae,. It is likely that Benedette could live in the village if she had to.

Mrs. Steven Sallun, wife of Steven Sallun, is a Social Welfare Science graduate. She comes from Sasoia village on the Sepik Highway. Although she has not lived in the village, it is anticipated she could do so if necessary.

Grace Rakuaferia Narokobi comes from Pampaɲen village on the highway. She is a graduate from UPNG in Computer Science. It is not known if she is able to live in the village.

Joyce Jimbery Narokobi comes from Arin village in the Hawain River area. She is a graduate in accounting from UPNG. It is not known if she is able to live in the village.

Mrs. Phidelis Yehaipim of the Sepik River area is the wife of Phidelis Yehaipim. She appears to have had no problems settling in the village’s pattern of life and is well integrated into Wautogig.

Geli Sengiromo is the wife of Michael Sengiromo. Mrs. Sengiromo worked for many years with the Land Department. Geli comes from Ginigolo village in Central province. She seems well adjusted to life in the village though Michael Sengiromo has never lived there.

Margaret Lapim Aimo is the wife of James Rahiria. She is the daughter of Lapim of Karawop and her mother is from Rabaul. Margaret is not a university graduate, but she works in the Welfare department in the public service. It is unlikely that she and James will return to Wautogig village. Margaret has taken their children back to Rabaul, to her mother’s land.

Mrs. Pauline Silen is a woman from Kepari village, Central Province. She is married to John Silen. She is a primary school teacher. I believe Mrs. Silen would be capable of adjusting to the Wautogig village environment, given the opportunity.

Regina Sak Narakobi, wife of Bernard Narokobi, comes from Kwangen village. She trained as a nursing sister. She has lived in the village and would be able to adjust to Wautogig village life, if necessary.

There are other Wautogig women who originally came from other villages and provinces. They have married into the village and are making their own contributions to its growth and development.

I am thinking about the Sahamia brothers, all of whom have married women from different places in PNG. Mrs. Joseph Sahamia originally comes from Maprik. Albert Sahamia married Daru, from Western Province. Albert graduated from Monash University in Hospital Administration. Dominic Sahamia is married to a woman from Kairiru island. She appears to settle well into village life when she comes. Her husband is also a Monash University graduate in hospital administration. Wairon, another of the Sahamia brothers, is married to Helen.

Angela Tigeni, a woman from the Sepik Highway, is the wife of Andrew Tigeni. She is quite strong and has introduced the Israel Ministry into the village, which for over a hundred years was predominantly Catholic.


1 In 2013 she was teaching at Bishop Leo secondary school in Wewak.

2 Grace Guiagu later obtained a PhD in Tourism and Hospitality in Australia. She is the first woman from Wautogik to earn a PhD. Listen.

3 She then went on to work for a mining company.

4 Her husband’s first name is Charlie.

5 According to Jacob, Jeklin worked at the legal director for Petroleum and Energy in the PNG government; she then went to work in the Justice department for the Attorney General.

6 This is an observation worth making because sometimes women who marry in find it difficult to adjust. Listen.

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