“As a young student I saw the annexation of my country, West Papua, by Indonesia which had a dramatic impact on my life. As I moved to Jayapura, the capital of West Papua, to pursue my studies, I witnessed how my friends were joining freedom fighting movements to struggle for the independence of our country. I started to get involved and became a courier, distributing information to and from members of the Free Papua Movement in the capital.
However, after one of my comrades was captured, my friends and I decided for our own safety to flee West Papua and head to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where we could, at least we thought, continue with our struggle from a safer place where other West Papuans were already operating.
So we left in a canoe and started our one-way journey to PNG leaving behind everything we owned, our homes, families and friends. This journey is still ongoing and 30 years have passed without ever returning to my homeland. I spent two years in the jungle of PNG and in 1977 as the Free-Papua Movement split, I asked for political asylum in PNG.
In June 1992, my status as a refugee was still not determined. However I became a citizen of PNG when the Foreign Minister Michael Somare granted West Papuans Papuan New Guinean citizenship.
My life has not been easy, I still live in a camp but I remain thankful to the Government of Papua New Guinea which has allowed me to live and be free in this country. In the three decades I have lived in PNG I have been able to work, meet my wife and have four children and a grandson.
I have constructed a life and a bridge for another generation. I took nothing with me when I started my canoe trip in 1975, just a dream which became a vehicle to carry on. That dream today is centered on my grandson; I want him to have a good education, to become a good citizen of Papua New Guinea.”